What's the point of this blog!

I'm documenting the marketing for my YA book series "The chick friends rules". I want to see which marketing strategies will work best in creating buzz and hopefully income. So, sign up below and take the journey with me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the anatomy of a "review" request letter

Hey, ladies and gents,

I thought I would share with you the "review" request letter I've been sending out to bloggers.

YA contemporary fiction
ISBN-13: 978-0983398905


Hello blogger's name ,

My name is Vici Howard, I’m an author and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. Add some detail about the blog here.
I am inquiring about my contemporary YA novel; The chick friends rules, freshman year. I've included a brief summary of the novel below.

I am contacting you because I am requesting a review in exchange for a free copy of the book mailed to you. I would also like to participate in a U.S. giveaway in exchange for an author’s interview if it meets with your scheduling demands.

I've added a link to the website and book trailer.



Thank you for your time,

Vici Howard

The chick friends rules, freshman year.

Rule #1 Treat her like one of the guys.
Rule#2 Don’t think of your chick friend when you…you know.
Rule#3 Don’t fall in love with her.

Fifteen-year-old Grant Lee is a "cool kid" who is popular with the girls. He adheres to the strict code of the “chick friend hierarchy”. There are girls a guy thinks about when he's in his bedroom alone and girls a guy farts around.
Grant is friends with Marta, the latter in the "chick friend hierarchy". She is an intriguing but slightly overweight Latina with a story of her own.
Grant is faced with an embarrassing dilemma; he has a secret crush on Marta but is ashamed to tell his friend because she’s the “fat girl”. If his secret gets out it could be social suicide for Grant.
So, he goes out of his way to conceal his feelings for her by making a series of bad choice and by engaging in risky behavior. When he gets the courage to tell her his true feelings, she mysteriously vanishes.

Of course you can tweak this letter however you want.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How much does it really cost to publish a book?

Someone asked me how much money I've personally spent on publishing my books.
Here's the financial breakdown for each.
It would have been less if I hired a team that knew what the heck they were doing. For example; the artist I hired from the junior college up the street was a great artist and I fell in love with the book covers he created. I mean, I love my book covers. The only idea I gave him, was I wanted doodles on a spiral notebook like we had in H.S. and he came up with these amazing covers. I cried when I saw them. Now, for the bad. My brilliant student artist didn't create the covers using the correct format and the covers were rejected. So I had to hire another skilled graphic artist who was familiar with formatting to correct the original covers so they would upload.

My editor: I hired another kid who was the editor of a small town newspaper in Texas to edit my first two books. He was awful but I didn't know he was awful until I got my first review which complained about comma splices. I fired him immediately. I didn't check behind the editor because he's the editor and I figured he knew more than I did. Lesson learned. Didn't get my money back either.

So, I made some financial blunders that cost me. But here's the breakdown so anyone new to the scene will have an idea.

Book cover: $100

Corrected PDF book cover format:$50

Editing first two books: $750.00

Formatting fees: $200

Copyright fees: $35

Createspace pro plan fee: $39

If I did't pay for editing the cost per book would come to $424.00 which means if I'm only getting roughly $1.80 in profit; I would have to sell 235 copies of each book to break even. Some non-writers think I'm crazy, because it doesn't make financial sense. But that's the price of my dream and I don't regret it at all.

If anyone wants to share their calculations I'd be interested in knowing so just leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giveaway site

Hey ladies and gents,

I stumbled on this giveaway site that I would like to share. It's called Free Book Friday at http://www.freebookfriday.com/

Authors have the option of purchasing their own giveaway date for a small fee or being put on a free "wait list" for a giveaway date at the discretion of the website owners. Since I'm all about free,I put my name on the "wait list". As a part of the application process, I had to select and answer from a list of interview questions and give basic information about my book,"The chick friends rules, freshman year". They also asked how many copies of the book I wanted to giveaway. I pressed send and waited. I received an email about 3 days later telling me of a giveaway opening the week of January 22nd. But then, I received another email this past Thursday saying someone dropped out of the giveaway and they had an opening for this week. My book will be displayed for this week only as the "feature teen book of the week", after which I have to ante up and mail the books to the winners.

Just a note, I checked the website and I didn't see any "comments" under my book, so I'm not sure how the traffic is although the website is claiming 25,000 views per month. I'll keep you posted

Thursday, December 8, 2011

5 things I can do to earn money as a writer

I've been thinking about where my writing career is going to lead after the "Chick friends rules" series has run its course.I finished the 4 novel within 2 years and frankly I'm out of ideas for another book. But I still want to pursue a career in writing. So, I did some research and these are some options I've come up with. Which enterprise to pursue depends on personality, time commitment,and experience.

1. Blogger
Its easy and free. You just need a really good blog topic that is of interest to others. Blogging takes nurturing. I have clicked on many blogs to find the last blog entry was months ago and the blogger have not been deleted the blog (I have to admit, I'm guilty of this). Finding new post topics can sometimes be a headbanger but its worth the effort. They easiest way to earn money as a blogger is with advertising. Adsense by Google is a pay-per-click account that can be added to your blog and generates some income; maybe not enough to pay the mortgage but at least enough to buy a pair of shoes. I've been waiting on my own Adsense approval since early November.

If you are a writer that did well in English 101; you can offer editing services to writers like me who can't put a grammatically correct sentence together to save my life. I have my first book review as proof of poor grammar. Some editors charge by the hour, the page or by the word. When I was looking for an editor I was being quoted $0.014 cents per word. If you're editing a manuscript that's 85,000 words you could easily earn $1,190.00 of income. Not too shabby. Of course on the downside you have to work on a deadline and sometimes with crabby writers. Editing can also be tedious and time consuming work but if you're a loner and have time on your hand then go for it.

3.Web content writers
If you're good at self-management this could be an option. Web content article are usually short; sometimes 200 -500 words. I've read where writers get paid by the article or by the word. If by the article, it can ranges of $10-$50 per article or if by the word;the ranges can be $0.025-$1.50 per word. It depends on your experience and of course who you're working for. I got an e-mail from Yahoo last year offering a similar opportunity to write small articles not to exceed 200 words based on provided topics. I scanned over the topics but I never got around to actually writing anything. That's what I mean about being good at self-management.

4.Ghost writers
There are folks who have great ideas for books but absolutely no literary talent whatsoever. That's where a ghost writer comes in. You can sign up on one of those freelance writers websites or place an ad on Craigslist. You would also need a website to promote your services. To be a successful ghost writers, it is imperative to meet your deadlines. Again, with the self-management. How much you can charge depend how successful you are as a writer.I've read; successful writers with a lengthy literary portfolio can earn up to $8000 for a manuscript but a novice can earn as little as $2000.

I think I might go this route. If you're personable,like mentoring and offering one-on-one instruction, a good organizer and willing to create your own curriculum; you might want to consider offering a writers workshop. There's no shortage of newbie writers who dream of writing the next great American novel but have no idea how to get started. You can create your workshop on a multitude of subjects; self-publishing, creative writing, marketing etc...it depends on your strength and expertise on the subject. You can easily rent out space at the public library or a rec center in your community. What you charge depends on the demand and location. I saw a creative writing class in my community going for $40 per person for a 3 hour class. If you get 10 people to sign up for your class that's $400 for 3 hours of work. Impressive.

These are just some of my ideas; I'm sure there are tons more ways to earn money as a writer. If you have an idea please share by leaving a comment.