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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Set It Free--Adventures in Publishing (again)

Let me start by saying I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've just taken a little break to reorganize. Life here on the Plains has changed radically in the past year. I knew I needed to make some changes in my writing life as well.

I thought for a time I might never write anything else. I have enough to keep my days and nights filled already. That's a good excuse, but it doesn't satisfy the creative urge that made me write in the first place. I'm giving myself some time off, without the pressure of plot lines and deadlines, hoping the love of simply putting words on paper will once again work its way into my routine. The words still scroll through my mind weaving their tales, but I think it's best to leave them scrolling there a little longer. To put it simply, I can't not write, so I will write again when the right time comes.

Meanwhile, there's the matter of the books I've written and the harsh reality of our financial state after months of medical bills and making over our home to meet the current situation. I need the income from those books. After they'd sunk to the murky depths of Amazon's algorithms, and without any funds to buy the pricey ads that might temporarily push them back into the light, I had some hard decisions to make. They may not be the best choices, but they seemed worth a try. If they don't work, I'll try to find something else, but that's part of the beauty of self-publishing.

First of all, I stopped renewing my enrollments in Amazon's Kindle Select, which means I can publish my books with other retailers too. I then turned to Smashwords, which used to scare me to death with its talk of "meatgrinder" formatting. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It was actually a rather rewarding experience to do something different and find out I could make it work! So far, my new release, All That Glitters, and my very first effort, Hearts Unfold, are listed with Smashwords and therefore also available from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and others.

Not only does this potentially increase my market, but it allows for a strategy many have tried with success--permanently setting the price of the first book in a series at FREE. Permafree is available through Smashwords, but not through Amazon. However, with enough pleading, Amazon will match the FREE price.

I'll tell you quite honestly that through the years, I've learned that if I can entice a reader to Valley Rise with a free copy of Hearts Unfold, they are very likely to come back for the rest of the series. The proof of an unknown writer is in the reading, after all. At least there's no cliffhanger in Hearts Unfold to leave the reader feeling cheated at the end. It's their choice to purchase more of Stani and Emily's story or leave them curled up together on the floor dreaming of their future, right?

I wish this were simply a new marketing strategy I've cold-bloodedly adopted, but I haven't done it without a qualm or two. I'm too attached to my characters and their stories to seemingly undervalue the work that went into publishing that first book. On the other hand, when I wrote Hearts Unfold I never imagined anyone reading it, much less buying it, so giving it away to potential readers isn't really so radical.

These are the first of the choices I've made, increase exposure through more retailers and offer Hearts Unfold permanently free to all. In the next few months I'll be adding the rest of my titles to Smashwords. I still lack funds for promotion, but with any luck, my income will increase enough to allow for a little advertising now and then. Word of mouth is always the most valuable means of reaching readers, so if you've read my work, I trust you'll pass on a good word or maybe leave a review on Amazon?

FYI here are the links to Hearts Unfold. Each of these pages will offer links to my other books on the sites. 
 Amazon.com: Karen Welch: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
 Smashwords – Hearts Unfold--Miracle at Valley Rise Book 1 – a book by Karen Welch
Hearts Unfold: Miracle at Valley Rise Book 1 by Karen Welch | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
 Hearts Unfold: Miracle at Valley Rise Book 1 by Karen Welch on iBooks
 Hearts Unfold: Miracle at Valley Rise Book 1 eBook by Karen Welch - 9781310644269 | Kobo