Posts Tagged ‘Siri Paulson’

A Surplus of Lesbians

Not that there’s anything wrong with lesbians.

As you guys know, Siri and I have begun work on the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin. If you’re familiar with CoHaR, you know that we have two viewpoint characters, Theo and Bree.

If you’re not familiar with CoHaR, we have two viewpoint characters, Theo and Bree.

Because we were writing CoHaR for Turtleduck Press, which requires romance be a part of its scifi/fantasy, we knew that we’d need said viewpoint characters to be romantically involved to some extent. And since we both wanted to write women, well, we ended up a lesbian couple.

(Though, to be fair, both Theo and Bree are bisexual.)

We have a Pinterest board for CoHaR, which we’ve started work on again now as we tackle the series. The board has a lot of setting pins, along with some individual pins of Bree and Theo (as well as some other characters), but I noticed that we were missing pins of the two characters together, and since, hey, romance, maybe that would be a good thing to add in.

So I did what you do–I searched for lesbians, and I sent several to Siri to see what she thought, and she was no help in narrowing them down, so I stared at them for a while and then picked some to pin to the board.

And Pinterest promptly decided that I wanted all lesbians in my feed, all the time.

As I said above, not that there’s anything wrong with lesbians, but it was interesting that the four or five lesbian pins I pinned overruled the other 1.5K pins I have, most of which include castles, dragons, writing prompts, the occasional soup recipe, etc. For a few days, that was it: lesbians.

(On the plus side, I found a couple of other pins that fit well and stuck them on the board too.)

My feed’s cleared up a bit, but it’s still got more lesbians than normal and, interestingly, other couples as well. I guess the algorithm is branching out a bit.

Anyway, I’m supposed to have a chapter to Siri tomorrow, which, ahahaha, I haven’t started yet.

Insights on how Pinterest’s algorithms work? How are you doing?

New Marketing–How’s It Going?

So, Squiders, at the end of April I told you about some new marketing techniques Siri and I were giving a try, since there’s two of us to share the costs and whatnot.

Since then, the book has launched and I now have feedback on some of the things we’ve done. I thought it might be useful for other indie authors to see how things have worked for us. If you are also an indie author and have some technique you’ve found beneficial, let us know! (Also, if you are a reader, let me know if you have a go-to way to find new books/authors.)

As a recap, here are the things Siri and I are trying/have tried out:

  • fancy-butt cover
  • 1-day book blitz (last week, June 9)
  • 12-week blog tour (not yet started, no data yet)
  • pre-orders
  • in-person launch party (Siri, in Toronto, on May 29)
  • FB launch party
  • Goodreads ad/giveaway combo

So, how have things gone? Let’s break it down. Actually, let me preface by saying that sales for City of Hope and Ruin have been over double what my previous releases have done, and, in general, I think a lot of that comes from there being two of us. But, moving on:

  • Fancy-butt cover. I don’t know that this has directly influenced sales, but we’ve gotten a lot of compliments, and the bookstore Siri did her launch at said they’d put the book front and center in the display because it looked so great. Also, I was super happy with the process and the results and will probably use our designer (Deranged Doctor Designs) again in the future.
  • 1-day book blitz. We ran this last Thursday, June 9. We had about 30 blogs pick up the book, all of which were lovely, though some have gone above and beyond and are still tweeting, etc. about the book over a week later. We discounted the ebook version to $.99 for the duration of the blitz, and I think it cost us ~$70. The blitz, not discounting. Very exhausting–I went through all the blogs four times to thank the hosts and answer questions from commenters. We also gave away a $50 Amazon gift card as part of the tour, so all-in-all we spent ~$120 on the book blitz.

That being said, we sold four books during the duration of the blitz/giveaway (two days), which is not terribly encouraging. In the week since, we’ve sold an additional ebook (and had someone use Kindle’s matchbook program to get a free ebook after buying a paperback version). We’ve also sold two paperbacks. Are those additional sales related? Maybe? No real way to know. But $120 for four books is not a good return on investment.

Now, saying that, the book blitz did get us about 150 adds on Goodreads. That’s pretty decent. We’ll have to see how many of those convert to sales/reviews over the next few months. And, in general, the people commenting seemed genuinely excited about the book. Two of the blogs did include reviews, one who had finished the book and loved it, and one who was only part of the way in (and was loving it). Those reviews are only on the blogs (not cross-posted to Goodreads or Amazon), but they’re still something.

It certainly put the book out in front a bunch of new people, if nothing else. Now we watch and wait.

  • 12-week blog tour. Again, this starts mid-July. At some point I believe we get sent a list of guest post/interview requests and then have to fulfill it, so this one’s going to be a ton of work too. At least it’s one post per week, so less constant stalking to do.
  • Pre-orders. We ran pre-orders on all the ebook platforms, though the only ones we got a statistically relevant amount of sales on were Kindle and Kobo. And it did help our sales rankings–all those preorders counted as sales on launch day, which got us up in the Top 100 in a couple of categories. So in general, I recommend doing this. Why not?
  • In-person launch party. Siri threw an in-person launch party at her local SFF store in Toronto. You can read about her experience in more detail here. I was not there, since Siri and I live in different countries, but from what she’s told me it went well. Siri’s been inspired by its success to contact other independent bookstores in her area, and at least one more has also been persuaded to stock the book. I should…probably do that too. >_>
  • FB launch party. We did do a virtual launch party on the actual date of the book release, which went pretty well. (You can see it here.) We got a lot of great questions, and the whole thing seemed pretty high energy. We gained a number of new followers for our publisher, Turtleduck Press, and did “party favors” (I guess you’re not technically allowed to do giveaways on FB) of copies of the book and one $20 Amazon gift card. I’d do one again.

Though re: gift card giveaways in general–I’d be interested to see if lowering the amount of the gift card affected participation at all. I’d bet you it wouldn’t. With the FB party one, the girl who won it didn’t even know we were giving one away.

  • Goodreads giveaway/ad. I’ve done this for all my books, and typically it works really well. I feel like it’s not working as well this time around. I’ve been steadily increasing the price per click in an attempt to increase views, but nothing’s really worked. The ad(s) have been running for a month–the giveaway ends today–and the ads have only been shown 16,000 times. Comparatively, the ad campaigns for both Hidden Worlds and Shards have over 304,000 views each. Not sure what’s up–at first I thought it might be because I limited the target audience more for CoHaR, but I actually had a lot less categories selected for Shards, and it had the most views. (For clarification, “views” in this case is just Goodreads popping the ad up on someone’s page. There’s no guarantee that someone will actually see it, just that it is there to be seen. Goodreads also keeps track of how many times someone clicks, and charges you money per click. I use the ads to drive people to the giveaways while they’re live.)

(If we’re going off clicks, CoHaR has 16, while Shards got 133 and Hidden Worlds got 172. No doubt due to the massively lower views.)

Speaking of which, here’s the link to giveaway–it ends tonight. We’re giving away three paperback copies, and as of me writing this, there’s 684 people signed up.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell

City of Hope and Ruin

by Kit Campbell

Giveaway ends June 18, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Comparatively, Shards had ~750 people enter, and Hidden Worlds had ~950. You always get a ton of people last minute, so it will be interesting to see what the final count ends up being.

Now, I think a lot of the giveaway people are coming from Twitter/the book blitz, judging by the lousy numbers on the ad.

What’s up with this ad compared to previous ones? It has nothing to do your actual ad copy, so is the competition just more fierce now? More people using the ads, so you have to fight more to get yours seen? Raise your per click price to a couple of dollars? Maybe so. I’m going to have quite a bit of money left over after the giveaway ends, so I’ll experiment with changing prices/categories to see if anything helps. But it may be that my old go-to of giveaways/ads isn’t as viable as it used to be.

So, that’s me thus far! Anything else you’d recommend, squiders?

City of Hope and Ruin is out! And Miscellany.

Happy Thursday, Squiders! I think I’ve overloaded my desktop refreshing everything to stalk the book release, so I’ve had to retreat to my laptop. Very classy.

City of Hope and Ruin is out in the world! And so far, so good. We’ve already got a 5-star review on Amazon, and two on Goodreads! The Amazon and one of the Goodreads ones is from another author I look up to greatly, so I’m pretty tickled.

Our FB release party last night was pretty wild. I’ve never been so tired from something virtual before. Hopefully all had a good time, and thanks for coming, if you did. If you didn’t, well, you missed out.

Here’s the round-up of launch stuff for the week thus far:

An interview with me
An interview with both Siri and me (a lot of process stuff)
An interview with Briony, one of our main characters

And here are the buy links. You should think about picking up a copy, since apparently it’s 5-star material. 😉

(Amazon | Paperback | Nook | iBookstore | Kobo)

And you can add it on Goodreads here.

Next week we’ll be back to our normal fare around here. Thanks for your support with the book launch!

Hooray! City of Hope and Ruin is out tomorrow!

It’s launch week! On one hand, yay! On the other, oh God, the nerves. Will anyone like the book? Will anyone buy the book? These are things I worry about each and every time I have a new book out. Mostly with novels. I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way.

But anyway! City of Hope and Ruin is being released tomorrow! Ebook versions (except Kobo) are available for pre-order for 40% of the final list price, so I’d recommend you take advantage of that while you can.

You can pre-order here:

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | Kobo)

We’re also going to have a release party on Facebook! Since Siri and I don’t live in the same country, it’s the easiest way for us to do a joint one, and you’re invited! We’ll have opportunities throughout the night to get a copy of the new book, or if you already have a copy, another Turtleduck Press book. We’ll also have other things, like an Amazon gift card and so forth. It should be a good time!

I’ll be in and out all week with different going-ons. Please let me know if you have any questions about the book or anything!

Cover Reveal: City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson

Tada! Here we go, guys!

City of Hope and Ruin cover

Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.

(Pre-order: Amazon | iBookstore | Nook )

The pre-order price is $2.99 until the book releases on May 11, and then it will go up. A paperback version will also be available on the 11th.

Trying Out New Marketing

Happy Friday, Squiders. My apologies for once again dropping the blog when things get busy.

Here’s the good things for this week:

  • I figured out why my website was fubared and have fixed the issue (which took several emails to tech support and contacting my old host). I will have to fix all the images individually, which sucks, but at least now they are fixable.
  • We got the final cover art for City of Hope and Ruin, which looks awesome.
  • The final edits on City of Hope and Ruin were completed.
  • The ebook formats of City of Hope and Ruin were completed and uploaded to all ebook distributors (except for Kobo which will go live on release day) and pre-orders are live.
  • The paperback version of City of Hope and Ruin is ready to go, with the exception of some back matter.

It’s been a lot of work (as a professional book formatter, I’m the one who does most of the formatting for Turtleduck Press releases) but now the hard part is done, and I can focus on marketing. Yay!

Because there’s two of us, Siri and I have decided to try out some more expensive marketing techniques since we can split the price. I’ll come back in a few months to let you know if they were worth the money. But here are some things we’re trying:

  • We splurged on a fancy-butt book cover. Personally, I’m pleased with the results, but we’ll have to see if it significantly increases sales above previous books. We all know that, despite the saying, people do judge books by their covers. We’re doing the official cover reveal on Sunday, so check back then to take a look.
  • We’ve signed up to do both a book blitz and a long-term (12-week) blog tour. A book blitz is a one-day tour on a bunch of blogs, so we’re hoping that the combo of a lot, short-term and the more spread out ones will get and keep momentum up.
  • We’re also doing pre-orders, which don’t cost money. I think I’ve talked about them before. It will be interesting to see if they help boost first day sales or not.
  • Siri’s hosting an in-person launch party at her local scifi/fantasy book store in Toronto. I’ve never done an in-person launch and have never really had the inclination to do one either, so I will be interested to see how that goes down.
  • We’re also going to do a launch day party on Facebook. I’ll get you guys details on that once we know them (probably the middle of next week).

We’re going to do the combo of a Goodreads giveaway/ad again, which I’ve done with each of my previous books, and that generally works pretty well.

Anything you’ve tried that has really been worth the money, Squiders? Readers, what attracts you to new author/books (i.e., what sort of advertising do you find works on you)?

See you Sunday!

Picking a Title: Surprisingly Hard

My co-writer (the lovely Siri Paulson) and I are deep into our revision for our novel coming out in May. I feel like it’s going fairly smoothly, because we identified a lot of issues ourselves and got started on fixes before we got our comments back from our editor. Siri may feel otherwise. We haven’t been in several-times-a-day touch like when we were writing and so now I feel like I have no idea what she’s thinking anymore.

But we’ve run into what’s turned out to be a difficult and complex issue: we can’t pick a title.

Titles are notoriously hard in general. You want something that evokes the theme and tone of the story without being too obvious, something catchy but not misleading. With my novels, I tend to pick a title before I start writing. This isn’t really the best practice, as the titles often times don’t fit by the time I’m done, but I find it hard to undertake a large project without a name. (Luckily with short stories, I can write them and then title them, which works much better.)

Siri deemed this the “Sekrit Project” at the beginning, which stuck, and has worked for getting around whatever name-hangup I have with novels, but now we need a real title because we’ve got to get the book up for pre-order, get the cover art done, reach out to reviewers, etc. And we can’t do anything of that without a title.

And we’re stumped. Because of the structure of the novel, we essentially have two of everything–two main characters, two settings, two plots. There are things and themes and everything that overlap, but finding something that makes sense for both characters and both worlds and the over-arcing themes has proven elusive.

We’ve bounced from more literal titles to more metaphorical titles and back again with no luck. We’ve looked at recent releases in the same genre to get an idea of title trends with no luck. We’ve asked our editor and our betas for suggestions. Again, no luck.

I kind of want to laugh. We worldbuilt together, we plotted and wrote and are now revising together, and we can’t manage a little thing like picking a couple of words to slap on the front of it.

Siri jokingly suggested we just call it the Secret Project, but alas, it will not work.

Any suggestions, Squiders? We’re at our wits’ end. Any thoughts about titling or things that have worked for you (or things that you look for when picking a book to read)?

5 Things I’ve Learned From Co-Writing a Novel

Well, Squiders, that novel I’ve been working on isn’t exactly done and off to the editor like I hoped, but it’s very close, and I’m kind of basking in the accomplishment of completion even though we’re not quite there yet. So, in celebration, here’s some things I’ve learned from co-writing a novel.

(It should probably said that I’ve co-written novels before, informal things mostly done for fun that might never get anywhere. This is a completely different animal.)

1. Co-writing is hard
At first glance, it seems like it should be easier. You only have to write half the words, right? Score! A full novel for half the work! But you have to make sure your half makes sense with your partner’s half (or however you’ve got it broken down), that you’ve got similar themes for the entire work, and that the whole thing feels cohesive, as opposed to two people writing two disparate stores.

2. Communication is essential
My partner (the wondrous Siri Paulson) and I talk all the time. We send each other lengthy emails discussing plot points, coordination, characterization, etc. We tweet each other quick notes (and to ask if the other is in the manuscript before we mess around too much). We have face-to-face meetings over Google Hangouts to hash out worldbuilding, discuss key scenes, and occasionally write important scenes together. We chat in IRC. We leave notes in document. We are everywhere. But if we weren’t, well, see point 1 about cohesiveness and whatnot. We were in the same time zone over Christmas and it was amazing.

3. You can’t futz worldbuilding
Because of the nature of the story Siri and I have put together, we essentially had to do worldbuilding for two very different places. She took the lead on one, I took the lead on the other, but we needed to understand both and also understand how the two fit together. I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes my worldbuilding can be a little underdeveloped on a first draft. You can’t do that here, though. Part of it also comes from the genre and type of story, however. My previous co-writing jaunts have been contemporary fiction with very few, if any, fantastical elements. This is high fantasy bordering on science fantasy. Before, questions like “Wait, how do the monsters maintain the pocket dimension?” have never come up.

4.Everyone writes differently
Before we started this, I would have guessed that Siri and I had near identical writing processes. We’ve been writer friends for almost a decade now, so we’ve had plenty of conversations about writing and we’ve watched each other go through numerous projects, long and short. We tend to have a similar style and write about similar topics. We even, a bit creepily, look quite a bit alike.

I have now learned, however, that our processes differ quite a bit. Siri writes detailed outlines and then goes back and fleshes the scenes out, leaving herself (and me) lots of notes as well as alternatives to the current scene. I write fully fleshed out scenes, taking care to try and get as close to a finished product as I can at first go by outlining before I start. She outlines chronologically but doesn’t flesh out in order necessarily. I prefer to go chronologically at all times.

I think this was a bit of a surprise on both of our counts. But we figured it out. I even wrote a few scenes out of order in the end.

5. Writing with someone else has a lot of perks
This is the first book of what will hopefully be a multi-author shared world. Siri and I inherited the first book because Erin and KD had other projects they were already working on. We took the shared world brainstorming and got to turn that into a story. And it’s been a lot of fun. Two heads are better than one, as they say. We got to bounce ideas off each other, and had a partner to give their opinion when a plot point on one side’s arc wasn’t working. We got to build off each other’s characters and worldbuilding. And I think we’ve been able to come up with something super awesome because of it.

Oh, and as a bonus:

GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME
Siri and I got the novel assignment at the very end of April and were supposed to have the story done by the end of the year. This has proven to be not nearly enough time due to the level of coordination necessary between the two of us. (Also, life events happened.) This is the first time we’ve tried something like this, and eight months seemed like a long time back then. Now we know better. And moving forward, I shall try to keep in mind that new types of projects should always be given more leeway on timing because it takes a while to figure out how things work. I think it took Siri and I a good 2-3 months to really get going–it took us a while to hash out characters, and then we each wrote a beginning, both of which were thrown out completely, though they really helped us establish what we were looking for and how we would work going forward. Another month or two would have been excellent. If you’re thinking about trying something similar, I’d recommend thinking about how long it would take you to do something on your own, and then add half that time again.

Woo! So close! And I’m excited to see what the editor thinks when she gets it.

How’s your 2016 going thus far, Squiders? Mine’s pretty awesome except I got pink eye from somewhere.

Nominated for the Liebster Award

Last week while I was frolicking about New England and Canada, Siri Paulson nominated me for the Liebster Award, which I had honestly never heard of before. Siri writes about writing, books, and other interesting things, and I highly recommend following her. She puts a lot more work and thought into her entries than I do.

(No relation to the Apple AI. Or is there? Duh duh duuuuun…)

liebster-award

Here’s the rules for the award as per Siri:

1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.

2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 400 followers. (I am…not actually sure I qualify on this.)

4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Here are the questions Siri left:

1. Star Wars or Star Trek?

You know, don’t you, Squiders? Trek, of course. There’s something about it that resonates somewhere. Or it might just be that I have literally been watching it since birth. Who knows? It’s not that I don’t like Star Wars as well–I especially enjoy the original trilogy, and a lot of the books–but if I have to pick one, it’s the one that boldly goes.

2. What’s your favourite item of clothing? Why?

I am especially partial to tall boots and sweaters. So hoorah for it finally being autumn!

3. What do you like best about blogging?

The captive audience. >_> No, no, I like that it forces me to write something a few times every week, especially if I’m in a spot in my projects, such as editing or submitting, where not much writing is being accomplished otherwise.

4. If you could live in another country, which one would it be?

I would very much like to move to Bavaria in Southern Germany, or northern Austria. We visited a few years ago, and perhaps it is just because it is the land of (some of) my ancestors, but I really liked it. The landscapes! The people! The culture! The ruined castles! Mmm, ruined castles.

5. Tea or coffee?

Tea. And even if I didn’t adore tea (perhaps too much?), coffee melts my stomach lining. Alas, it is too acidic for me.

6. Oceans or mountains?

Mountains mountains mountains. Give me a tall peak covered in trees, and I will be happy forever. This is probably in evidence on my Nature board on Pinterest.

7. What are you reading right now?

I’ve just started Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews. It looks like my favorite sort of cozy mystery, so I am excited for it. And I’m also reading The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, which is sort of Jules Verne-y science fiction. I am enjoying it quite a bit as long as I ignore the science bits.

8. Tell us a memory from when you were a kid.

When I was about 8, I convinced my younger cousins and sister that the spotlight in the sky (none of us, myself included, had any idea what it actually was) was a UFO coming to kidnap us. And when they ran off to tell on me, I hid so they’d think I’d been abducted.

I got in a bunch of trouble for that one, but I regret nothing.

9. Who’s your favourite superhero (or supervillain)?

I am not really a fan of the superhero subgenre, but I do like Batman (especially the Animated Series version), and I am currently fond of Thor, not just because he’s played by Chris Hemsworth (though that certainly helps).

10. Vampires, werewolves, or zombies?

I am not really a fan of any of the above. It’s not just because they’re done to death; there’s just something about them that doesn’t do it for me. If I had to pick one, I’d go werewolves. At least they’re not undead.

I’m not sure I know 10 blogs that qualify for the Liebster Award, but I will nominate a few here, to do as they please, and if you’d like me to add you on, please let me know and I shall. But I nominate:

1. Ian Dudley

2. Audrey Goshorn

3. Dianna Bell

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the following:

1. What is your favorite ’50s-’70s era television show?

2. Why did you decide to start a blog?

3. Is this your first blog?

4. What’s the best book you’ve read in the last year?

5. Marvel or DC?

6. Kirk or Picard?

7. If a landsquid knocked on your door, would you give him a cookie?

8. How does it make you feel that it is already October?

9. Would you rather be attacked by ceiling turtles or a pack of telekinetic squirrels?

10. If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?