I have been doing much thinking about how I gift free books to new mailing list subscribers. In my last post, I mentioned how a few people were using multiple emails to get more than one free book. It appears some were offended and pointed out I came across in an awful way, and I apologize if that was the case.
As I did not want to punish all new subscribers for the actions of a few, I asked the folks over on Kindle Boards for any possible solutions that would avoid this, and I think I have found one that everyone should like.
For now, I will keep the free book choices the same for new subscribers. Normally, new subscribers to my newsletter will still get to choose one book, but from now on, I will be willing to give each user more than one free eBook in exchange for reviews.
That’s right. New users (and even those of you who have already signed up) can choose another free eBook from my list if they have written and linked to a review for another one of my books. For those who want more than one free eBook, this will eliminate the need to use multiple email addresses in the future. This will, in turn, help me keep my mailing list from getting bigger and more expensive than it needs to be and will help avoid drama all around. I will no longer have to block email addresses or go remove extra emails from my list.
I will need a bit of time to change the system around to make this happen, so you will need to be a little patient. This may be a limited-time thing depending on the results. When the new system goes live, I will let you know.
Most of you have been awesome.
But lately, some users have been trying to get extra free books by signing up to my newsletter with multiple email addresses.
I’m glad to say that the vast majority of you have been awesome members of my newsletter. You have been supportive by signing up, reading these newsletters, visiting my website on occasion and even picking up my new books. Most of you are not the subject of this email.
I don’t like to complain, but there’s an issue that’s been going on during the past couple of months or so that I have to address.
As all of you know, I offer a free ebook to each person who signs up to my newsletter as a free gift. Most of you have accepted your free gifts without a problem. I do feel I am being very nice here in providing books that I would normally charge $2.99 for.
I’ve had a couple of incidents in the past couple of months in which a single user used multiple email addresses in order to get more than one free book. I won’t say how I caught this for security reasons, but I will say that I know for certain this was a single user. I received three different requests for three different books, two under the same email address. When I pointed out to this user that each person can only get one free book, this person stated they wanted Book B as their choice. However, as I am able to check each download for each free book, I realized that this person had already downloaded Book A and was also hoping to get Book B for free.
I have had another incident this week, likely from the same user, but I cannot be sure. Once again, I got a new email sign-up for Book C. Okay, great. But then I got another sign up two days later from another email address, which asked for the next book in the series, Book D. Some sleuthing revealed that this was, in fact, the same person who had asked for (and downloaded) Book C. In addition, this person is now sending me innocent-sounding emails asking how to get Book D for free.
I don’t like having to block people in my email, especially those who have read and enjoyed my books. But it has, sadly, come down to that.
If this continues, I may also have to limit which books I allow new subscribers to choose for free. In the future, I may have to limit the choices to the second book of each series in order to cut down on this abuse. I really don’t want to do this, either, because I like giving people a choice. Granted, most people who sign up for my list download only Books 1 or 2 of each series anyway, but I don’t want one or two users to ruin this for others.
Until I make a decision, I will take these actions if I discover that a user is trying to cheat the system:
–I will block your email address. And your dummy email address. And your other dummy email address.
–I will remove you from the newsletter, as much as I hate to see you go. I cannot keep dummy email addresses on my list. Mailchimp (the provider I use) does charge once you reach so many subscribers.
–I will not respond to your emails asking for your second (or third) free book.
Just so all of you know, I am now hosting a new giveaway for a Kindle Fire!
This ties into the Very Scary 10,000 Sales Challenge. For more details about how to win a Kindle Fire, see the Contest and Information Page and scroll to the bottom.
I also have an update on the Very Scary Sales Challenge. I may have mentioned before that Twisted is part of the Magic Touch Paranormal Bundle which is currently doing quite well on Amazon. However, my novel is in this bundle with 11 others and the cost for all 12 books is 99 cents, so the 12 of us are splitting a 35 cent royalty for each sale amongst ourselves. This is why that at first, I didn’t want to include sales of the Magic Touch Bundle in my Very Scary 10,000 Sales Challenge total.
I just received my first payment from sales of this bundle–55.91 dollars for its first month. That’s not bad for earning less than 3 cents per sale! One normal sale of Twisted will make me 35 cents on Amazon. I calculated how many normal copies of Twisted I would have needed to sell to make this amount of money.
The answer: 159 copies.
We sold over 1800 copies of the Magic Touch Bundle in its first month alone. Money wise, that’s the equivalent of 159 copies of Twisted sold.
I see no reason not to add this 159 to our total, bringing total sales of the Deathwind Trilogy up to 295.
This puts me 15% of the way to Goal Number One: letting a tarantula crawl on my face.
My name is Holly Hook, and I am a very desperate writer right now.
I have been publishing young adult fantasy and science fiction ebooks for almost 5 years. During this time I have written and published the five book Destroyers Series, a few short stories, an omnibus, the first two books of the Deathwind Trilogy (of which Twisted is the first book) and I’m getting ready to release the first two books of the Timeless Trilogy as well. Many of my stories are about teens who are much closer to the destructive power of nature than anyone could imagine.
During the last five years I have had mild success with selling these ebooks and I have gathered (mostly) good reviews. I have paid for professional covers, invested in good editors and spent hundreds on marketing. I have written and published perhaps 3 or 4 new titles per year, well more than enough to get some sales momentum going. I write in a popular genre that lots of people read: young adult paranormal and fantasy. My books are all in a series, and series books are supposed to sell well. I have my titles available on every eBook store out there, for every kind of eReader you can imagine. According to conventional wisdom in the author community, I should be selling well and growing every year.
And yet, I only sell a couple of books per day. Total. This does not change no matter what I do. There is no growth. No change. It has been this way for the past four years. My author career is stalled despite “doing everything right.”
I’m not trying to whine here. I didn’t create this post to complain. I’m saying this so you can understand why I am going to do the crazy stuff you’ll read about below. It’s time to do something different. The conventional methods of gaining lots of readers and fans have simply not worked for me.
Some people will call me insane. Some will call me an idiot, I’m sure. That doesn’t matter. What scares me most is the thought of staying obscure for the rest of my writing life.
So what are you going to do?
Right now, I’m looking to get Twisted (#1 Deathwind Trilogy) and its sequel Torn out into the world to be read and enjoyed. Like my other books, they’re professionally edited, generally well received and fall under the Young Adult category. I really love these books, and I don’t feel it’s doing them justice to let them languish in the bowels of several eBook stores where no one can find them.
Here’s what Twisted is about:
Forget the beach. Forget the teacup ride at Disney World. Sixteen-year-old Allie’s going on the vacation of her life: tornado chasing. What can possibly go wrong with that?
A terrifying, magical experience leaves Allie shocked and confused. Once she returns from her summer break, she learns that she now bears an awful curse. She isn’t an ordinary girl anymore.
Every time there’s a storm, she turns into a tornado. Literally.
Allie has no choice but to flee her hometown–if she stays, her new powers could harm or even kill everyone she loves.
With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains and find those who made her this way. But her quest to save herself is only the beginning of her adventure. She discovers a society where others share her curse, including a kid named Dorian who hates his elemental abilities just as much as she does. Not only must she risk everything to face those who turned her, but getting close to Dorian will pose its own dangers–dangers that could decide her fate.
Twisted is the first book of the Deathwind Trilogy, a new young adult and teen paranormal romance series. The second book, Torn, is also available. Book Three of the Deathwind Trilogy, Unleashed, will be released in Summer of 2015.
I will admit I have had much trouble getting this book out there and seen, even with ads. At the time of this writing, I’ve only sold a few copies of this book. My sales rank is in the toilet. So I will begin my crazy, scary marketing plan here.
If I sell 2,000 copies of Twisted, I will let a live, fully-grown tarantula crawl on my face.
For a full minute.
I will even post it to my Youtube channel. I’ll share the video on all of my social media. I’ll share it here.
Yes. You will see my face. With a huge, hairy spider on it. It’s a nice warm up for what’s to come…
Wait, shouldn’t you do something that has to do with your novel?
I will go tornado chasing.
I will pay for a professional storm chasing tour, take a trip to Kansas/Oklahoma/Nebraska etc and potentially meet a real, live tornado. Then I will film my experience and share it with all of you.
See that progress bar at the top of the page? Each week, I will tally up my total sales for Twisted and display it there. I already have a few sales of Twisted displayed there. If all goes well (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) the bar will creep more to the right each week.
Welcome to the 10,000 Sales Challenge.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Which book sales will you count towards this Challenge? Does it matter where people buy the book?
I will count all sales of Twisted (with the exception of the Magic Touch Bundle, which gets me almost nothing) towards the total. It doesn’t matter if it’s bought from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo etc. They will all be counted. I will tally them each week and update the progress bar every weekend.
Please note that some bookstores, like Apple, don’t report sales data right away.
Do you have arachnophobia?
No. I’ve held plenty of tarantulas, including some VERY big ones. But I haven’t let a tarantula ever crawl on my face, either. That will be new.
Isn’t that dangerous, letting a big hairy spider walk on your face?
Not really. The biggest thing I’ll need to worry about is the tarantula’s hairs, which can itch quite badly and cause irritation if you’re not careful. It’s what they used to make itch powder out of! Tarantulas sometimes “fling” their hairs when distressed. It’s their natural defense. I’ll try to choose a spider that doesn’t do this often.
Have you ever been bitten?
Never. Many kinds of tarantulas are very gentle, in fact. I only handle the gentle types. The tarantula in my video will be one of my own.
Will you freak out and drop the tarantula when you do this?
Absolutely not! Tarantulas are very fragile. Even a short fall can kill one. For the safety of my pet, I’ll lie on the floor during filming.
How long will it take you to release your tarantula video after you’ve sold your 2,000th copy of Twisted?
Within two weeks, barring some kind of horrible emergency, accident, etc. There won’t be much prep work involved. I will announce its release at that time.
Okay, that doesn’t sound too dangerous. What if you really do sell 10,000 copies of Twisted? You’re hosed!
I will admit that the thought of facing an actual tornado is pretty scary, even in the presence of professional storm chasers.
And dangerous. Are you a moron?
I have a 40 mile commute to my day job and I live in Michigan, so I do something that’s far more dangerous all the time. It’s called driving on icy roads. No, really. Icy roads kill more people than lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined. That’s right. They really do. Hundreds die each year as a result of this. As far as I know, there have been only 4 deaths as a result of tornado chasing, ever, and all of those were due to one super rare, freak tornado that also happened to be the inspiration for Twisted.
Of course, like with anything else, there is always a bit of risk involved.
Okay. You’re so desperate to sell books that you’ll face a tornado to do it?
Yes, I am.
What will your tornado chasing experience be like?
I cannot guarantee that I will actually witness a tornado, but the chances seem good that it will happen. I will likely be chasing for about a week, perhaps a bit longer to maximize the chances. This depends on the chasing company that I will carefully choose. At the very least, I should see some amazing storms which I’ll share with you once I return home!
What kind of videos will you share with us afterwards?
I’ll do a small video “series” about my adventure in the form of episodes. Think of them as journal entries – some of which have the potential to be quite scary!
Once you hit 10,000 sales of Twisted, how long will it take for you to go through with this insanity?
Tornado season is, at least in the Plains, from May to early July. This is when all of the storm chasing companies run their tours. I have no control over this. Once I reach 10,000 sales of Twisted, I will book a tour as soon as I can. For example, if I hit my goal in October of this year, I’ll book a tour for the following May or June (in 2016.)
Doesn’t it cost thousands of dollars to go on these wild chase tours?
Yes. It’s not cheap. But if I sell 10,000 copies of Twisted, I will have the funds.
You’re going to do the same thing that got your main character into trouble in Twisted. You won’t return home…changed…will you?
Of course not! But if my tour guide’s name is Kyle, I’m getting out of there.
The Desperation Sale is on! Pick up your 99 cent copy of Twisted (Book One of the Deathwind Trilogy) today! If you like young adult/teen novels and fantasy, you will probably like this. Sale ends at the end of the year.
You can also sign up for my mailing list and get a free book. There’s a link in the back of any of my novels or you can sign up here: http://wordpress.us6.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=8696a40cb388cfc9f1421d292&id=2e2b7ac94d
The title says it all. Twisted and Torn are both now available on all of the Amazon sites, both for $2.99. Here are the new buy links below:
(This book is in very bad need of reviews. If you read and leave a review, you will be my favorite person of the week!)
Forget the beach. Forget the teacup ride at Disney World. Sixteen-year-old Allie’s going on the vacation of her life: tornado chasing. It what she’s always wanted. What can possibly go wrong with that?
Being chased down by the twister and waking up captive by a couple of weirdos, for starters. They put her through a strange ritual, and Allie comes back from her vacation changed. Every time it storms, she becomes something powerful, dangerous, and terrifying. If she doesn’t do something, she could end up hurting or even killing her friends and family.
With her best friend, Tommy, (who might be more than a friend) Allie must return to the plains, find her tormentors, and cure herself. But her adventure’s only beginning. She finds a world where she’s not alone in her abilities, a world that includes a hot guy named Dorian who shares her curse. But Allie’s search for her tormentors is only the start. Others have their own plans for her and her abilities. Allie becomes a pawn in a battle to save others from her fate…or to destroy them.
Twisted is the first book of the Deathwind Trilogy.
Allie’s former best friend, Bethany, says she’s a monster, and Allie’s starting to believe her. Allie turns into a tornado every time it storms, and it’s freaking out her mother and her boyfriend, Tommy. She’s lied to her parents, and worse, she’s already helped level a town. Madeline has kidnapped her father and she’s still armed with the Deathwind. Allie will have to go through her to get him back. But the Deathwind might not be the scariest thing Allie has to face. There’s a growing evil inside of her, an urge to destroy and kill those she cares about. If she can’t fight it, she just might become that monster after all.
I regret to say that there will probably not be a paperback version of Torn anytime soon. I did attempt to have one printed, but Createspace will not accept my cover file. They claim I have graphics too close to the edge of the cover, and I don’t have the know-how in graphic design to fix this without it coming out terrible in the end. Making a paperback for Torn will involve making an entirely new cover, which may or may not be possible as I have a lot of other things going on right now.
I’ve been quiet lately, but I’ve been working on getting everything ready for a re-release and working on some new material, too. I’m about two thirds of the way done with the second book of the Timeless Trilogy, 11:39. 2:20 is out for a new edit and will be part of the big re-release as well. I will start writing the third book of the Deathwind Trilogy once 11:39 is shipped out to the editor, which may happen around the start of the year.
At last, it’s here: the second book of the Deathwind Trilogy! I finished my final read-through and released Torn at about midnight last night, only two days after I had hoped to have it done. Right now, it’s only available on Smashwords.com, but will be distributed from there to other eBook stores very soon. I’ll post those links as Torn becomes available at other vendors.
Fortunately, at Smashwords you can download Torn for any eReader (including your computer) so there’s no need to wait.
Book Two of the Deathwind Trilogy
Allie’s former best friend, Bethany, says she’s a monster, and Allie’s starting to believe her. Allie turns into a tornado every time it storms, and it’s freaking out her mother and her boyfriend, Tommy. She’s lied to her parents, and worse, she’s already helped level a town.
And things are about to get much worse. Madeline has kidnapped her father and she’s still armed with the Deathwind. Allie will have to go through her to get him back, but this time, Madeline’s different. She’s…unhinged. Crazy. Willing to do anything to get to Allie for some horrifying plan.
But Madeline and the Deathwind might not be the scariest thing Allie has to face. There’s a growing evil inside of her, an urge to destroy and kill those she cares about. If she can’t fight it, she just might become that monster after all.