Thank You, Goodreads

Today ends the Goodreads-hosted giveaway of my coming book, WITCH DANCE, and I want to take a moment to extend a big, huge thank you to Goodreads! If anyone knows how to do a successful giveaway with no sweat equity from an author, it’s Goodreads.

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Goodreads was launched in 2007, and in the first year, it gained 650k members and 10 million books. By 2012, they had grown to 10 million members! By 2013, they had doubled to 20 million, at which point Amazon gobbled them up. They have about 50 million visitors per month now. Wow!

I’m sure some would say the acquisition by Amazon is both good and bad, though I don’t see much bad except that someday we’ll all be owned by the giant that is Amazon.

The good is that your Kindle and your Goodreads account are now synced. When you purchase a Kindle book on Amazon, it automatically shows up on your Goodreads account that you’re reading it. That’s kind of cool, unless of course you read ‘mommy porn’ and don’t want your friends to know. LOL

Anyway, back to the giveaway. For a very reasonable fee ($119), Goodreads hosts giveaways for authors. They run the entire promotion and distribute the Kindles to the readers (included in the $119). Well, that’s a whole week’s worth of work I don’t have to do, and up to 100 Kindle copies out there in the world that can’t be pirated like they could if I simply emailed them out myself. The best part is when a reader enters your giveaway, your book automatically goes on their “want to read” list for their friends to see. The next best part is eight weeks after the giveaway, Goodreads emails the winners and reminds them to leave a review. I guess that’s the least a reader can do for a free book.

Now, we just cross our fingers, hoping for good reviews.

If you’re an author with a Kindle book available on Amazon, run over to Goodreads and check out their giveaway promotions. Seems awesome to me! Click HERE!

 

The #1 Secret to Getting Good Reviews

6a00d83452c37169e2014e8ab9b06e970dThe key to getting good reviews seems simple—write a good book. Not!

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Not even accomplishing that great feat will ensure good reviews from the reading public. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Everybody’s a critic,” and we’ve all heard it because it’s true. People are eager to give you their opinions, whether you want to hear them or not.

The primary key to getting positive opinions/reviews is to get your book to the right people…and keep the wrong people far, far away. The ‘right’ people are those who have a good chance of actually liking your book. The ‘wrong’ people are everyone else. Logical! But how do you do this?

The secret to separating these two groups lies in your advertising. Following an eye-catching cover design, the next thing a potential reader will look at is your synopsis. If you wrote an action-packed high-tech spy novel that would appeal primarily to men, don’t try to broaden your audience by pushing the minor love story subplot. You’ll be alienating the ‘right’ people and tempting the ‘wrong’ people. The men may choose to forego the book if they think it’s a mushy love story, and the women expecting a romance novel will undoubtedly be disappointed by the action-filled storyline. They will tell you so in their one-star reviews. If you’re selling a smoking hot erotic adventure, make sure you let your potential readers know what they are in for. If they purchase the book expecting a timeless romance, they are going to leave dismal reviews about your “filthy piece of trash.”

Be truthful. There is a market for every book, so don’t advertise your book to be something it’s not. If it’s a boring drama, say so. I love boring dramas and would buy it and probably give it a great review.

Craft your synopsis as carefully as you create your cover.

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Saturday Snippets – John Culpepper the Merchant

5-star-largeJohn Culpepper the Merchant just received a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite!! You can read it HERE.

I can’t tell you how much reviews mean to us indie authors…especially good reviews. We often learn something from the bad reviews, but mostly not. Good reviews sell books. Period. So for every book you like by ANY author, please leave a review. We all appreciate it.

 

The Merchant ebookAnyway…back to the matter at hand.

John Culpepper the Merchant is the second book in the Culpepper Saga. The first book is about John’s childhood. In this one, he’s all grown up. His family remains in England while he fulfills his childhood dream of sailing back and forth between London and Virginia. Seems peachy, yes? I’m sure it would have been if the king wouldn’t have been angering the masses. A deadly civil war breaks out in England, and John always seems to be on the wrong side of the ocean at the wrong time. By the end of the war when the royalists (yes, John’s family) have been defeated, John’s ship becomes the only lifeline to save the Culpeppers from certain beheading.

Somehow, between the war and the merchant business, John and his wife managed to raise a family. Here’s a snippet of John taking his four boys upstairs to meet their newborn brother.

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Following a hearty breakfast, John climbed the stairs, followed by his rambunctious sons, all wanting to see the new baby. He cracked the door open and found Mary sitting up in bed holding the newborn, her brown hair cascading over her shoulders. Her color was much better after a good night’s sleep.

“Your sons want to see the baby,” John whispered almost apologetically.

“Of course they do. Bring them in.”

John opened the door and the group ran toward the bed. Mary grinned at them and patted the bed for Robbie to climb up. John thought his wife was a saint, or at least had the patience of one.

All the boys looked like their father, but none more so than the new baby. The boys cooed over the infant, and John reminded them repeatedly to keep their voices down. It was a wasted request.

“He looks like you!” Denny exclaimed, looking at Henry.

“What are you saying? That I look like a baby?” Henry challenged.

The baby scrunched up his face at the sound of the voices.

James laughed. “I’ve seen you make that face. He does look just like you.”

Henry punched him in the arm and James punched back.

“Stop it,” John scolded.

Mary looked down the row of children lining her bedside. “Well, I think all my boys look like their handsome father.”

“You’re handsome,” teased Denny, punching James in the arm.

“No, you’re handsome,” James punched back.

“All right, let’s go and let your mother rest.” John picked up Robbie and coaxed the rest of the herd toward the door. Denny and James began poking each other. John handed three-year-old Robbie to Henry and grabbed both misbehavers by their hair.

“Ouch,” they squealed in unison.

“I told you to be quiet and stop acting like…”

“Acting like what?” Denny said in defiance.

“Well…boys. Stop acting like boys.” John laughed at his own lack of parenting skills. Four years of law school, a momentary career as a lawyer, and a decade of commanding a boisterous crew on a merchant ship were no preparation for raising high-spirited boys. He thought about it for a moment and realized that besides his younger sister Frances, who was now a thirty-six-year-old married woman, he had always been the youngest of his generation. He’d never had any younger brothers or cousins to mind. One thing was for certain—Mary had her hands full during John’s lengthy absences, and he suddenly understood why she often pleaded with him to remain home for longer stretches of time. He was exhausted and it was only nine o’clock in the morning.

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The first three books in the Culpepper Saga are available at Amazon. The fourth book will be released October 2015.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This will be my final “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” post. I’ve decided to dedicate my time to some new topics. I’m adding “Tombstone Tuesdays” and “Writer’s Corner” on Wednesdays. Please stop by on those days if the topics interest you. I’ll still be doing “52 Ancestors” on Thursdays and “Saturday Snippets” for the rest of 2015.

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This is a bit different than the books I usually post, but this week I read:

50 Ways to Build your Email Marketing List” by Pam Neely

If you run a business, whether a brick-and-mortar location or online, there is tons of information in this book to help you grow your email marketing list. If you don’t yet have an email marketing list, this is the place to start.

Being an indie author, I have a small list of subscribers who I email quarterly about my life, my books, and my job as an author. I admit I haven’t put that much energy into it, but others swear by email lists, so I thought I’d ramp mine up a bit.

51GjRkvew2L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_This book contains detailed information on adding your sign-up prompt to every page of your website, every newsletter, every email. It also explains how to add a custom tab to your Facebook page and how to use prompts on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and SlideShare, placing a Call to Action on all of your online sites. Next, it offers tips on engaging customers in offline marketing including prompts for postcards, speaking engagements, phone, and letting your employees do the work for you.

The one thing that really stuck out to me was creating a QR code that you can use on all of your printed material. It’s got my creative juices flowing about all the places I can put a QR code. I think it’s time to create some new business cards…gotta run.

If you find this topic up your alley, you can pick up Ms. Neely’s book at Amazon HERE.

On my end of the marketing/email spectrum, I always give away literary freebies in my quarterly newsletter. The next one is coming out in September. You can win! Sign up at http://eepurl.com/GHJ7D.

 

Readers’ Favorite gives “I, John Culpepper” 5 stars!

Culpepper_1Readers’ Favorite has rocked my world! They gave I, John Culpepper a five-star review. In celebration of the release of the third book in the Culpepper saga, John Culpepper, Esquire, you can pick up I, John Culpepper through July 28 on Kindle for only $0.99!

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5-star-largeReviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

In I, John Culpepper by Lori Crane, John Culpepper had a lot of responsibilities and obligations to uphold. He was born into an enormously wealthy family. Growing up in an English manor was fun, he never wanted for anything in his life. But there are a lot of expectations and pressure from his stately family. They want him to become a lawyer, join parliament, serve the country, and retire as an esteemed country man when the time comes. However, this is not what he desires to do with his life.

He has a dream of one day captaining a ship and sailing it across the wide seas and oceans. He longed for the feel of the ocean breeze on his face, the taste of the salty water on his lips, and the excitement of what the undiscovered world had to offer. He loves his parents very much, and there is nothing he would not do for them, but he loves the ocean as well. When push comes to shove, he would have to choose between the money and the comforts of wealth, or his desire and following his dreams.

In I, John Culpepper, you will be transported back to the time John lived and you will feel like you are a part of John’s life. The experience of reading this book was out of this world. Granted, there are few too many characters in the novel and the reader has to concentrate to remember who is who, but once you get into the story, it is a magical experience and you will not want to miss it for anything! Amazing! I’m awed by what I read. Kudos!

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I, John Culpepper is the first book in the Culpepper Saga. The second book is John Culpepper the Merchant and the third is John Culpepper, Esquire. The fourth will be released in late October. It is Culpepper’s Rebellion.

They are available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read a book called “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup.

71BGwovWcaLIf you missed the movie a few years ago, this is the true story of a free black man, kidnapped in New York in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana for twelve years. The movie was stunning and won many awards. The book is the same breathtaking story.

From a storytelling standpoint, it is told in narrative form, and as an author, I find it very fascinating. From a story standpoint, it is so absorbing, you can’t put the thing down. What happens to this poor man is beyond horrifying, but his strength of spirit throughout his struggle is a lesson for us all. His humanity toward his friends is beautiful, his intelligence toward his situation is inspiring. I imagine his descendants are very proud of him, and I for one, and awed by his bravery and his unyielding hope for his future.

As usual, true stories are the best stories.

It’s available HERE on Amazon.

Plundering the Romance Novel by Ionia Martin

51t2fcaBeRL._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_I just finished reading the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I trotted over to Amazon to leave a review. In their little pop-up, they asked me if there was sexual content in the book. I’m not sure how to answer that question, so I left it blank.

I will say, though, that this book is short, sweet, and hilarious. It is told by the hero, narrator, author, and your choice of two heroines. You can tell them apart by the color of their flowing locks. Watch out for the potato sack race which had me spitting my drink onto my Kindle. A MUST-READ for any romance fan or writer…especially writer. I encourage all of my author friends and anyone who loves a good romance novel to go get this book…TODAY…RIGHT NOW. Click HERE. If you hate romance novels, you’ll like it even more.

It is written by our friend and fellow blogger Ionia Martin from Readful Things. Below is her blurb that I copied from Amazon, and make sure you stop by her blog. I linked it above for your convenience.

Description: A silly, satirical romp into the land of romance novels and pirate adventures, full of romance clichés and humour. This book is a short novella, just over 10k words.

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds and hearts of romance novel heroes and heroines? No? Good, because this book won’t be helpful with that at all.

If romance clichés drive you mad and you like Monty Python style humour, this may be the perfect book for you.

From the twisted mind of a sometimes writer and lifelong reader, you are certain to have less brain cells than you started with after reading this book.

Captain Stormy is the typical romance hero/villain archetype. He follows the Romance Hero Handbook to the letter, but he is about to figure out that nothing in his guidebook is going to prepare him for the trials he’s about to face.

Uncooperative heroines, lack of treasure, severely delayed sex scenes, a missing crew and an old man’s butt cheeks later, Stormy has a story to tell you.

Even pirates have bad days.

*contains some mature themes and language