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Experimenting with Amazon Ads

Hello friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want to spend my marketing dollars and have decided to stick with the only thing that seems to have been an effective way to sell books and that’s Amazon ads.

I didn’t put too much effort into the ads when I tried them out before but I did see sales unlike just about everything else I tried.

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This year I’ve decided to spend some more time and money experimenting with Amazon ads.

Here has been my experience so far…

I ran one ad for the paperback version of A Night Game and one for the kindle version of Aster the Spirit Talker. Doing one for the paperback and one for the kindle wasn’t something I did on purpose but I did notice that I was selling paperbacks but not ebooks.

I was breaking even on what I was spending vs. what I was making.

The Kindle ads were costing me money but the paperback ads were making me money.

The Kindle ads were getting as much or more clicks than the paperback ads but making no purchases. I believe it’s because people might be finding the book interesting so they click but when they see the book isn’t free (as readers seem to expect their ebooks to be) they don’t “purchase” it.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wasn’t completely sure it wasn’t just one book outperforming the other so I did a little experiment by creating a kindle ad for A Night Game. As with Aster, I lost money on the ads–no sales made but plenty of clicks.

Today, I turned off both Kindle ads and created a paperback ad for Aster. Fingers crossed that it sells like A Night Game has been doing and I start seeing a good return on my investment. It would be even more awesome if a few of those people who purchased the paperbacks would returned to leave a review.

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Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

 

Another little observation–books seemed to be purchased steadily during the week but not on the weekend. I’m going to keep an eye on this and if it appears to be a trend, I’ll probably pause my ads on weekends.

I’m also going to take some time to read this handy dandy information from Amazon and maybe I can find more ways to improve my ads.

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I promise to share any tips and tricks I find without charging you money to take a course. So stay tuned and wish me luck! 🤞🏻

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Do you have any experience with Amazon ads? Are there any tips you have to make the most of them? I’d love if you’d leave them in the comments.

Blog

Shit into fuel

Hello friends,

This has been an interesting week for me. Full of ups and dooooown(er)s.

The ups…

I’ve accomplished a lot with my novel, and I’m moving forward at an incredible pace. Also, I’m discovering I really enjoy the story. I may get through draft four or five before I start getting sick of reading it. (You writers know what I’m talking about 😂) Another plus…I can see a great deal of improvement in my first draft over those of my previous novels. I correct/change a lot less (let’s hope it’s because I make fewer errors and not that I’ve gotten worse at editing. Ha! But I’m going to be positive this year. So we’re going with improved writing skills.)

The downs…

I’ve still got a pretty severe case of imposter syndrome. I go from thinking that I’ve forgotten how to write to feeling like everything I write is complete crap anyway, and I don’t deserve to call myself a writer. But, as I’m trying to be positive this year, I thought about my imposter syndrome as I was walking and I realized it might be a good thing to have. After all, every writer I’ve ever exchanged chapters with that had (in my opinion) horrible stories/writing could not accept any criticism. The best I can figure is that they only trade work to gather praise and are confident that every word they write is gold. I have a hard time sharing (insert imposter syndrome here), but I appreciate constructive feedback. I got the most amazing (not because it was all positive) feedback from a beta reader (you know who you are!) and I feel better for clearly seeing my errors and being given the opportunity to fix them. Imposter Syndrome is good for me. It can be painful at times, but it makes me better and shouldn’t we all be trying to get better?

Another down of this week, I let an individual interfere with the way I feel about myself. I allowed them to reinforce my imposter syndrome by making me feel like the only reason anyone reads my stuff is my looks. Ugh! And maybe it was true for that person, and I’ve had things like this happen before. I even momentarily considered changing my name to A. Compeau or Al Compeau and putting up a male avi on my social media. Geez, I don’t owe anyone anything other than a story. I don’t have feelings for you. There isn’t anything “between us.” You may have noticed I stopped sharing book lines from Distant Spring while I was letting this person bother me. But I was quickly back to it.

To make it positive…

I realized I can’t change what other people think or do. I can’t even change how it makes me feel. So often people say, “don’t let it bother you” or “you shouldn’t care what other people think.” But I can’t help how things make me feel any more than I can help the things that others do. I can, however, turn that shit into fuel and let it drive me forward.

There is nothing wrong with the way I feel. There is nothing wrong with me. The reason I am the way I am is the same thing that makes me capable of doing the things that I do.

I won’t change me. Overall, I’m starting to love me.

But I will work to change the way I use what tries to drag me down.

Though I waver in feeling like I’ll ever be good enough, I firmly believe that I’m stubborn enough to do almost anything I set my mind to. It may take years and years, but I know I won’t give up! 2019 may be the year I see things start to happen, but if I don’t, I’m going to remember that every experience propels me closer to my goals.

Cheers!

Allie.

Blog · Cleansed with Blood · Sneak Peeks

Cleansed with Blood

(This is a first-draft, unedited sneak peek at a work-in-progress)

Chapter One

Ingrid had put up red, white, and blue celebration streamers in the little kitchen in the back of the gymnastics academy. Lena smirked. A little over the top, she thought. But not surprising since it was for Clint. Certainly, Ingrid wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble for the rest of them. It has been in no way a secret that Ingrid had a thing for him. And if they were being honest, they all had tiny crushes on him. 

Clint was the only dad at the weekly Monday morning Moms and Tots playgroup. He had one of those smiles that made everyone swoon. It was going to be the last Monday they’d get to see his smile and enjoy his laid-back and funny self. Lena’s stomach flopped when she thought about the ways in which the group’s dynamic would change without his presence. She crossed her fingers that it wouldn’t get too catty.  But there was no reason for him attend anymore since his daughter, Marigold, was starting pre-k the following week.  

Ingrid hopped up and stood just a smidgen too close to Clint.  Were he to glance in her direction, her large—and very fake—breasts would be right in his face. Her nipples stood erect from her very thin tank top. Her pale pink velour hoodie unzipped at just the perfect inappropriate spot to display them fully. Lena wouldn’t have been shocked to find out she gave them a few pinches to get them firm before starting her little good-bye speech. There was always some element of strategy when it came to Ingrid’s actions. 

“And to give you a proper send off—” Ingrid circled around to the fridge, bent over entirely at the waist so her ass was sticking out for all to see, and quickly snatched out of bottle of Moscato. “Ta-da.” She raised it up and shook it over her head. 

“It’s ten o’clock in the morning.” Clint smiled. It was dazzling. His eyebrows raised. 

“Oh come on. It’s not like we’re gonna get drunk. We all got kids to drive home. It’s just a sip for a toast. Our only dad needs to be sent off in style,” Ingrid said. 

She poured a glass for Clint and herself. 

“Mind pouring the rest of those, Lena-hun?” Ingrid motioned to the remaining glasses. “I’ve only got two hands.”

“Sure,” Lena never could get over how bold Ingrid was as she watched her deliberately lowering her cleavage into Clint’s face as she handed him a glass.

“Thanks.” He held it up to the rest of the group as Lena handed out the remaining glasses. 

“To Clint. May he never forget about us and I hope he knows that he can stop by anytime to hang out.” Ingrid put the glass her lips and drank. Some spilled down her chin and between her breasts. “Oops!” Ingrid’s glance shot to Lena. “Where’s your glass? Don’t you wanna toast Clint?”

“I’m nursing,” Lena said.

“It’s one drink. That’s not going to make a difference. If you’re so worried, just pump and dump.  Get over there and get yourself a drink.”

Lena slowly rose and trudged over to the glasses and bottles.

“Oh, and get me a refill, would you? Clint, more?” Ingrid held her empty glass out. 

“No, no thanks,” he said.

Lena filled the glasses and handed Ingrid hers. 

“Thanks, hun.” She sipped some more of her drink. “I guess I better be careful or I’ll need a ride home.” She grinned at Clint.

He smiled but his eyes darted away from hers. 

Lena had to fight hard not to roll her eyes. Ingrid was piling it on especially thick. Even more than usual. I guess it’s her last chance, Lena thought as she glanced over at Sarah Beth who slyly pumped her fist toward her mouth as though giving a blowjob. 

Lena pursed her lips and closed her eyes to try and stop herself from laughing. She diverted her eyes from Sara Beth and took a slug of her wine. She swallowed it down hard to try to contain the laugher and also because she never really did like wine. She wished it wasn’t somehow this thing that moms were supposed to love. Ingrid pulled out a bottle whenever she got an opportunity. 

“Speech, speech, speech!” Ingrid clapped her hands and bounced up and down. 

Clint stood and raised his glass. “Uh, I don’t really know what to say.” He smiled and smoothed his russet brown hair. Wavy. Messy. Perfect at the same time. His blue eyes scanned the adoring faces of the ladies surrounding him. “Well, I’m gonna miss you all, that’s for sure. But with Mari in school and Alecia off to work, I’m gonna enjoy having some time to brew. I’ll invite y’all over when the first batch is ready. So. Yeah. It’s been great. Thanks for having me as part of the group.”

Ingrid threw her arms around him. “We’re gonna miss you, too. So much.” 

Everyone took turns giving him hugs. Ingrid put her arm around him tightly. Her eyes welled up. “It’s not gonna be the same without you.”

“Ah, you’ll be fine,” he said as he side-stepped her embrace. He walked over to the foam pit where Mari was jumping off the springboard with the other kids. “Well, Mari. Say good-bye to everyone.” 

Mari hugged cried as she hugged all her friends. “But why do I have ta go ta school?” 

He smiled  and took her hand, leading her toward the door. “We talked about this, remember? You’re a big girl now and pre-k is gonna be a lot of fun, you’ll see.” Tears streamed down Mari’s face. Clint scooped her up in his arms, rubbing her back as he left. He turned back once more and waved before walking out the door. 

“Well, shit.” Ingrid threw back the last of the wine in her glass. This time not dribbling a drop.  She pushed her empty glass at Lena, who wasn’t sure if it meant she wanted more or if she wanted her to put the glass away. 

Either way, Lena had take a deep breath to put out the small flame that ignited in her. “I’m not your maid,” she muttered.

Lena had been friends with Ingrid since High School. Always the side-kick. And Ingrid was the main character. She’d never really minded, though. Ingrid adored being the center of attention and Lena liked to stand in the shadows. Unnoticed. But that doesn’t mean she liked to be treated like a personal assistant. And as close as they’d always been—and two girls could have been any closer—Lena had never really spoken up when Ingrid got on her nerves. She knew Ingrid’s heart was good, even if she could be a little bit of an insensitive bitch sometimes.

Lena gulped down the sour twang of the wine she had remaining. A little dose of medicine for dealing with her overly high maintenance friend. She looked at Ingrid and out of the side of her mouth muttered to the door “Clint, come back.” 

Lena didn’t even want to imagine what kinds of things they might have do now that Ingrid didn’t have him to focus on. Hopefully, she wouldn’t get back on the exercise kick she got on from time to time. It wasn’t enough that Ingrid’s body was perfect. She wanted them all to have perfect bodies. She was somehow convinced that she’d be even hotter if she was surrounded by other milf”s. Never threatened. Always certain that she was—and would forever be—the hottest. 

David fell off the side of the springboard, missing the foam and started to wail. 

“Oh, you’re alright,” Ingrid said as she went over and scooped him up by one arm. She kissed his forehead. “Oh, you’re alright. Don’t be cryin’ over a little bump like that.”

He accepted his mother’s assessment. His wails hushing into whimpers. He soon went back to playing with the others. 

Silence, other than the occasional gulping of wine, swept over the room. Lena looked around at the new Moms group—now consisting of all moms. The five of them had known each other since high school—been in the same grade. Clint was in the year ahead.  His wife Alecia was in their class. She was class president. Pretty, popular, smart, and determined. She was now the Blaine County Sheriff. Lena was never close with Alecia. A friendship with her would have been impossible. Ingrid and Alecia had always been bitter rivals. Even though Lena had been sworn to hate Alecia, she always secretly thought she was very nice. 

Lena was surprised when Clint joined the Moms’ group. Sometimes she wondered if Ingrid flirted with him just because he was Alecia’s husband. It could have also been because of the fact that Ingrid adored—and was used to—the attention that her looks brought her. 

Klara sat near the edge of the foam pit. Her head was facing in the kids, but she didn’t seem to be looking at anything in particular. Her normally smiling face was drooping. She just kept blankly playing with her necklace.

When Lena noticed her, she went over and sat next to her, letting out a grunt and she plopped to the floor. Sitting criss-cross had never been the most comfortable position for her. She’d swear she was the least flexible person on earth. And carrying extra pregnancy pudge on her thighs and belly made it extra uncomfortable. 

Klara’s eye barely drifted to her. She forced a smile. “Oh, hey.”

“Hey, Klara. Are you alright?”

Klara sighed and kept twirling her necklace. She appeared on the edge of saying something. Lena waited. In the slightest of ways, Klara shook her head from side to side.

“What’s wrong?” Lena put her hand on Klara’s shoulder.

Klara rolled her neck, dropping the necklace. 

“You know how we were going to be getting a new neighbor? On that side the Petersons used to rent?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, the landlord is letting her son move in.”

“Have you met him? Is he an asshole or something?”

“He’s a sex offender. A paedophile.”

Klara didn’t look at Lena. She just returned to twirling her necklace and looking into a void.

“Oh, Klara. I’m so sorry.” Lena’s stomach dropped. She didn’t know what else to say. 

“You know how I found out?”

“Huh?”

“An alert. A fucking email alert. I opened it up and it was the address next door.”

“But I thought the Sheriff had to notify neighbors.”

“Yeah, I did too. Nope.” Klara’s face turned red and her lips curled. “I called Alecia, furious that she didn’t tell me. She said it was her duty to notify school superintendents, preschools, and daycares. I called her a Bitch and hung up on her. I almost didn’t come today because I’m sure she told Clint what happened. How could she have not called me? I mean, we’re friends. Or we were. What kind of friend finds out a child pervert moving in next door and doesn’t tell them? Laws or not. Legally required to tell me or not. Don’t they care about Piper? I mean, if it was Mari, you can sure as shit bet that she’d go above and beyond to keep her safe. Well fuck them!”

Klara had gotten loud. Everyone—even the kids—were staring at her. She stood up quickly and walked over to her daughter. “C’mon, Piper. Let’s go home. Or somewhere.”

She took Piper’s hand and led her out the door. She didn’t even stop to put Piper’s shoes on. She just swung her up on her hip and flung the glass door open, marching straight to her car. Her tires squealed as she took off out of the parking lot.  

“God, the only man in our group leaves and there’s already drama in taco town,” Ingrid said as she stepped up next to Lena. Her arms crossed. Her blonde hair covered one side of her face so Lena couldn’t tell if she was joking. She smoothed the hair back behind her ear and smiled.

I’d love to know what you think and if you’d like to read more. If you’d like to support my writing with a tip, you can click below…

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Control your content

Hello friends,

Sometimes my writing journey feels like this…

Wooo! It’s easy to feel like I’m getting absolutely nowhere. But I’m determined AF, and so when I come to a realization, I like to share it so that you can move an inch or so forward with me.

Here’s what I want to say…

ONLY SHARE YOUR WORK ON YOUR WEBSITE.

Now I’m not talking about writing guests posts or publishing poems or articles in magazines. I’m talking about using sites like Patreon, Wattpad, Chapterbuzz, or any other such site. But Allie, you say, you’ve used these sites?

Why yes, my darlings, I have, and that’s why I urge you not to use them. I have three main reasons why and here they are:

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Reason One: Those sites are a time suck. I spent so much time working on my Patreon, Wattpad, and Chapterbuzz accounts that I neglected my blog, my poetry, and my novels. In order to find any readers, you have to scratch other writers’ backs to get them to scratch yours. This is to basically falsely inflate your numbers to make it look like you have a lot of readers. It’s getting the sheep to follow a buzz you’ve manufactured. I wish people thought for themselves and dug to find writing they like but really they (not all but a lot)  follow the crowd. Therefore, you have to spend more of your writing time fabricating some buzz. (Patreon actually recommends you find creators to mutually support to grow your numbers. But it’s all false! I want REAL followers.)

Reason Two: Every time you post to these sites and then share via your social media, you’re drawing potential new readers to an external site. Why not draw them to your own? Showcase yourself and your kick-ass website, not someone else’s.

Reason Three: Your readers are yours to keep (as long as you keep them entertained.) Why work so hard to grow the followings of Wattpad, Patreon, or Chapterbuzz when they can decide to kick you off at any moment? If they don’t like or agree with something you wrote, they can boot you. Let’s face it, sharing ideas or stories freely in this day and age is dangerous business. I also don’t want to support any websites who silence anyone who disagrees with a CEO’s political or personal views. I know some may applaud the silencing but remember, one day they may come for you, too, dear writer. Free is free. And on my own website, I’m free to be me.

So, while it might take me longer to find readers, I’m still finding them. It may be a long process, but I’m in for the long haul because writing is my passion.

I’m grateful to all of you who have followed this blog, signed up for my newsletter, leave comments, and have purchased my books. You’re amazing! I will continue to share chapters of my works-in-progress under the sneak peeks tab.

And remember, you can find the link to purchase my books on the books tab or by clicking here or here to purchase a signed copy.

If you’ve read my books, I’d like to ask you to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews go a long way in helping indie authors like me to find new readers.

I’m going to keep on putting one word after another and I have no doubt that I’ll grow a following of readers who connect them.

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Thanks!

Allie

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On a happy note…

I’m happy to announce that you can now purchase signed copies of both Aster the Spirit Talker and A Night Game on Etsy in the WhistlePigPublishing shop.

books for kidskids books

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I am so grateful for everyone who has followed my blog. I’ve seen some wonderful growth this year and I’m looking forward to charging ahead and moving even closer to my goals.

I’m also grateful for everyone who has bought one of my books or left a like or comment on one of my poems or early-draft chapters. The support and feedback means a lot to me.

I have wonderful family and friends who make me smile everyday.

I am one lucky so-and-so!

Thank you! I appreciate you all! 🧡 My heart overflows with joy this Thanksgiving.

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Maybe I didn’t save the world but I sold some books

Hello friends,

Welp, I did it. I put on a dress, a cloak, and I went and geeked it up. I didn’t cry in my car and turn around and head home after all. I put on a smile and marched my fabulous ass booty on into the expo and set up my table and books.

I sold some. I signed them. I chatted with strangers. I made friends with a little boy who was just hoping that someone would ask him for his autograph. I did. I made his day. He asked me for mine and took my recommendation on trying a cherry tootsie roll and it totally changed his life! Well, maybe not but he did agree that they’re mighty tasty and it gave him the energy to hunt down Godzilla, rescue me from him, and stuff the monster inside a poke-ball, thus saving–not only me–but the entire expo, maybe even the world.

Here’s my pal…

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I chatted with people who, even if they didn’t buy a book, did sign up for my newsletter and I think that’s a success in itself.

I won’t say I enjoyed myself completely. I was alone a lot of the time and I was freezing. Btw, I’ve never been so grateful in my whole life for wearing a cloak. I think I might wear them more often. It was warm and I think I looked pretty fantastic in it.

Lesson learned: I can get over my anxiety. And although I might feel awkward on the outside, people seem to find me pretty freakin’ charming (maybe one guy a little too much who kept coming over to tell me how photogenic I am).

I didn’t sell all my books but I did gain confidence. I got comfortable using my Square and smiling at and chatting with strangers. And there are more people in the world who are reading one of my books. That’s the best part! Because what’s a storyteller with no-one to tell stories to? Answer- Sad.

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Avoiding Bad Reviews

Hello friends,

I’m excited that award-winning author & experienced editor (and also my editor) Christina Kaye has agreed to write another guest post for my blog.

Thanks, Christina!

Avoiding Bad Reviews by Christina Kaye

“Not a bad story, but the editing is virtually non-existent!”

“It was a struggle to get through this book.”

“Editing was poor…grammar, spelling, and punctuation was so bad I could not get past page 5!” 

“It felt like I was reading a first draft of a book written by a middle school student!” 

These are a few sentences pulled from actual reviews left for real, published books on Amazon. They are painful to read, to be sure, and I feel badly for the authors who got these reviews. However, they could have easily been avoided. None of these reviews mentioned bad plot, character development, etc. They all referenced the lack of editing specifically. 

No one…I don’t care how proficient a writer you think you are…can self-edit and catch every mistake. Hell, even editors miss some things when working on your books. The commonly accepted industry standard is that we’ll miss about 5% of your mistakes, no matter how thorough and meticulous we try to be in our work. 

That’s why my advice to all authors, especially new ones, is to find an editor BEFORE you even think about self-publishing. I know, I know. Editors can be expensive and not everyone has $500 – $1,000 lying around to invest in their book. But keep in mind,  you get what you pay for. By seeking out bargain basement prices for editing services, you risk hiring some random person who just up and decided to be an editor one day, rather than an experienced, educated editor with the right background and the credentials to warrant their rates. Not to mention, nowadays, many editors (including myself) offer and accept payment plans for their fees.  True, you’re still paying that “high” amount, but keep in mind the risk versus reward payoff. 

Risk – if you do not hire an editor, you might possibly wind up with reviews such as those listed at the top of this post. Sure, you may sell a few books here and there to friends and family who support you and your dreams, but once reviews like this are posted, especially when it’s more than one, you will see that your sales suffer.

Reward – if, however, you invest in a quality, professional editor, yes, you have put up some money in the beginning, but the odds that you will get much better reviews and thereby higher sales and more royalties increase exponentially.  You are investing in your book and though nothing is guaranteed in life, you certainly stand a much better chance of succeeding with a professionally edited, polished book.

Once you have found a brilliant editor, my advice is to go through the MS one last time before you turn it over. Why? Isn’t that like cleaning the house before the maid comes over? True. But I can’t tell you how many books I’ve edited that are in such poor shape, I wind up basically ghostwriting rather than editing. Going over the book one last time before turning it over will help you and your editor. Keep in mind, a lot of editors (including me) will charge less the better shape the book is in. So, you could potentially help yourself by simply taking a few hours to go through it one last time. 

So save yourself some embarrassment and do your book a favor…hire an editor before you publish your book and while I cannot guarantee your book will be a best-seller, I can guarantee you will be more likely to avoid these kinds of negative reviews and you may even see that your sales and royalties are much higher than they would have been had you not hired one.

For anyone interested in learning more about how to find the right editor, how to work with an editor, or what to expect during the editing process, please reach out to me via email. You’re never bothering me. I’m here to help.

And anyone interested in speaking to me about my editing services offered, rates, payment plans, or reading testimonials, please visit my website at www.xtinakayebooks.com and reach out to me ASAP as my schedule books out usually 2 months in advance.

Thanks and good luck!

Talk soon.

Christina Kaye

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