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Saturday, August 1, 2015

BookLikes Giveaway Success

If you're the sort of author who likes to use giveaways to try and boost your readership, or a reader who enjoys free books, Booklikes has a feature you might be interested in. But if you're not familiar with Booklikes, let me take a step back and explain.

Booklikes is a European website that identifies itself as a blog platform designed for book lovers. Booklikes is similar to sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing, but with its own unique personality. One of the things an author can do on Booklikes is stage a giveaway.

I've held two giveaway events for my epic fantasy novel Crimson & Cream. Although my KDP Select giveaways were more successful in sheer volume, I'm hoping the Booklikes giveaways reach a different audience. And, in fairness to Booklikes, their giveaways are not set up like Amazon's, so comparing them is not really 'apples to apples.' For example, on Booklikes, the author determines the number of books to giveaway and agrees to supply the the winners with books (so you want to keep the number manageable).

I held my first giveaway in April and offered 25 free Crimson & Cream e-books. I had 17 Booklikes members request copies and e-mailed all the winners Smashwords coupons to claim their e-books. I also offered to e-mail them e-books directly (pdf, epub or mobi format), if they didn't want to use Smashwords. The nice thing about the Smashwords coupons is you can track how many people actually claim their books if you use a unique coupon code number, which I did. Fifteen of the 17 winners claimed their books via Smashwords (and I gifted one  on Amazon UK to a winner who asked nicely). Unfortunately, I have no way to track who actually reads and reviews the book, but that holds true for a KDP Giveaway, too.

I held my second Crimson & Cream giveaway in July to coincide with my KDP Select giveaway for Mirrors & Mist (Book II of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy). Unfortunately, the second giveaway paled in comparison to the first. I gave away 9 out of an available 20 books, and what makes those numbers even worse is four of the winners from the second event also won and received the same book in the first event, which leads me to believe some of the Booklikes members enter every giveaway without checking if they already have the book.

Speaking of giveaways, one of my favorite authors, Robin Hobb, recently held a Goodreads giveaway for 20 ARCs of her latest book, Fool's Quest. She had 1,475 people enter her giveaway, if that gives you some idea of what kind of response a best seller giveaway receives. Alas, I wasn't one of the lucky 20, so I'll be buying Fool's Quest in August when it releases.

I plan on holding another Booklikes giveaway for Crimson & Cream, but I'll wait longer than three months between events and see what the results look like. Have you used Booklikes or any other giveaway platforms? I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences.

Author Update:  I'm  writing the first draft of Warlock & Wyrm, Book III of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy and recently passed the 30,000 word mark. I've also completed a draft of the book cover, which turned out significantly nicer than the previous two. If you'd like to try the trilogy, you can get a free copy of Crimson & Cream at Smashwords with this code: JH88U.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Complete INDIE Editor Review

I recently read The Complete INDIE Editor - 55 Essential Copy-edits for the Professional Independent Author by Kev Heritage. This book is an excellent little guide that works great as a checklist for polishing your novel before sending it to your editor. Succinct with just enough examples to get the point across, this book not only tells you how to edit your manuscript, but why you should do it.

The eight sections (chapters) cover copy-edits for adverbs and adjectives, overused words, italics, quotations and capitalization, showing (not telling), speech, tricky words, and word pairs and homophones. Each section provides examples of common errors and suggestions on what to look for in your novel and ways to correct the problems. The Complete INDIE Editor also provides tips on writing numbers and time properly and includes lists of overused words and phrases and a glossary of the 55 copy edits.

On the down side, at $7.99, the price may be a little high on the cost per page ratio, but in defense of the price, I envision it as a resource I refer to multiple times. In addition, one Amazon reviewer points out that for a book on self-editing, it suffers from a lack of proofreading. I did check out the reviewer's claims, and the examples she mentions are still present in the version I own. Personally, I find the advice useful, even if the presentation is not flawless.

Have you read The Complete INDIE Editor? If so, what did you think?

Author Update:  I'm currently writing the first draft of Warlock & Wyrm, Book III of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. My word count at the moment is around 30,000 words, so I'm inching toward roughly the half-way point.

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