Friday, March 25, 2011

Latest Nielsen's Bookscan Results

I'm afraid to look at the Warriors of the Cross' statistical graphs most of the time.  It's as if my following them will lead to the book's instantaneous demise.  Since I have not so much as peeked in on the status in over a week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's sales have risen into the top 8% of all Kindle books being sold (per Nielsen's Bookscan results).

After all the long, hard hours spend agonizing over every word written, these small successes mean a lot more than I can say. 

Thanks to everyone buying the book, spending their valuable time reading the book, and supporting me while I obsess over the book.  Without a doubt, it will take an entire village of people to make this series successful.  I've done all I can, now it is up to the readers, bloggers, and reviewers to take it the rest of the way.

THANKS!  THANKS!  THANKS!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There's no place like home...

Interestingly enough, all of the wonderful homes that Allison frequents in The Warrior Series are embedded with the love, warmth, and decor of homes I've been welcomed into my whole life. 

Clark's home exemplifies the wonderful historic homes in Galveston, Texas.  I can still remember the summer days when I drove to school or work on the island and daydreamed about what it would be like to live in one of the gigantic mansions.  The details of these houses built before the 1900's is unfathomable.

Brody's beach house...What can I say about that?  It's special to me for many reasons.  First, my family and I have had Bolivar/Galveston summer vacations for several years.  Those times are some of the best I've ever had.  My most memorable (and cherished) trip was the one with my dad just months before he died.  He was as happy as I've ever seen him.  Second, the beach house is designed exactly like one of my best friends would have decorated it.  Without a doubt, the significance of her influence will forever exist in me and my writing.

Allison's Louisiana forest-surrounded ranch style house is as homey as sitting next to a fireplace and as comfortable as wrapping up in a cashmere throw.  Since it is based on my childhood home, I have fond memories of holidays, secrets, loves, friendships, summer nights, and winter snowstorms.

LiLi...I'm thinking of you when I quote Dorothy..."There's no place like home."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Miracle of Birth

With all of the horrible things happening in the world over the last eight day, I want to take time out and congratulate the Houston Zoo on its newest female giraffe, Asali (honey in Swahili).  She was born to Tyra at 5:15 on March 4, 2011 after two hours of labor.  By 6:15, Asali, the first giraffe born in the Houston Zoo's new African Forest, was standing and nursing.

Interesting facts:
1) Asali was 150 lbs. and 6 foot 6 inches tall when born.
2) Tyra's pregnancy was 14 months.

Enjoy the miracle (but remember it is a REAL birth):


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bloggers and Followers

I hate to sound redundant, but writing Warriors of the Cross really was just a a baby step toward reaching my book writing goals.  After it was finished, I uncovered a world of wonderful freelance graphic designers, awesome Indie Recording Artists, and amazing software products geared toward beautifying, fine-tuning, and simplifying the book publishing process.

With those hurdles overcome, I've moved on to an equally important - and just as daunting - phase of the project.  Book Reviews.  My current goal (besides editing Guardians of the Cross) is to identify Bloggers willing to review Warriors of the Cross on their websites and Followers agreeing to assist me in my efforts geared toward getting as many people as possible reading the series.

The moment I began my search, I found Bloggers who rate superstar status.  Some are so respected by Followers their opinions can mean instant success for authors who are granted a great review by them.  After seeing their accomplishments and the number of reviewed books, I'm amazed at the way these Bloggers summarize their opinions into information which allows the read to decide if they want to spend their valuable time reading the book.  They provide their thoughts in such a manner that many authors can avoid pitfalls just by reading them.  It is equally important to mention that these famous Bloggers come in all ages (14, 15, 16, and up).  Do not discount them because of their age.  I've gleamed more from their sites and their feedback than I've learned the entire time I submitted queries to literary agents and traditional publishers.  It is my opinion that hundreds of agents/publishers (of mature ages) could learn a lot from these young bloggers' open style of communication.

Without a doubt, blogging is just the beginning for many of them.  Eventually, they will be running successful literary agencies and/or publishing companies.  I hope they never lose their ability to provide honest feedback.

Critical to Bloggers success are their loyal Followers.  Since publishing Warriors of the Cross, I've virtually met several authors who I will follow for years to come because they have been so kind and encouraging.  They definitely do not have the 'eat your young' mentality.  For that, I'm grateful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Smashwords Best Sellers List (25,000+ words)

My participation in Smashword's Read an Ebook Week Promotion (which ends tomorrow) has been extremely successful.  As of right now, Warriors of the Cross is #17 on their Best Sellers List for books greater than 25,000 words.  YEAH!!

While happy for every purchase made, I'm humbled anyone would consider taking time out of their busy lives to read the first book of The Warrior Series.  I know, understand, and appreciate the commitment these people have made, and I hope no one is left disappointed.  Truly, I would love it if everyone reading Warriors of the Cross could take a few minutes to let me know their productive and professional thoughts and opinions.  Positive feedback and/or constructive criticism can never be considered a bad thing. 

Now, I have to begin spending all my free time putting the finishing touches on Book Two, Guardians of the Cross.  If not, it will never be ready for its official release in July.  I can tell you that everyone who has read Guardians says it is much more exciting than Warriors.  Personally, I think their both exciting in different ways.  It's been so many months since I last read through Guardians of the Cross that I’m confident I’ll find all kinds of wonderful (and forgotten) surprises embedded within the second part of Allison’s saga.  In fact, I can hardly wait to get started.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top 10% of Amazon's Nielsen BookScan Ratings

AMAZING - Amazon has a new Author Central site.  According to the Nielson Booksan Rating provided by Amazon, Warriors of the Cross was within the top 10% based on sales as of yesterday.  While this news is better than anything I could have ever imagined for the first book of the series, I have much more work before Warriors of the Cross will be considered a true success.  It will take lots more sales, tons more great reviews, and a huge grass roots effort to escalate this book to the top of best seller lists. 

A big part of this success is related to the fact that Warriors of the Cross is available for purchase on more sites every single day.  Remember, it's free this week on Smashwords (coupon code RE100).  So far, there have been 50+ downloads on that site alone.  If you have an IPAD, Smashwords allows you to download an EPUB file which can be opened with the iBook App.  Personally, I like that one the best because it feels the most like a real book and includes searchable chapters. 

Barnes and Noble now has the paperback copy of my book.  It will actually cost you less to buy the book from B&N ($10.08) than from Amazon ($14) even though Amazon sponsors the site where I officially created the book. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guardians of the Cross - 12/24/11

December 24, 2011 is just around the corner, and I have lots of editing, reading, and updating to do before I can release Guardians of the Cross, Book Two of The Warrior Series.  With the book written, the cover finished, and the book trailer complete (pending feedback), several of the most daunting tasks have been crossed off my list.  While I'm sure many things will change between now and December, it is a great feeling to know this project is progressing nicely. 

As with the first book cover, the Recording Artist responsible for this song, Sarah Reeves, is phenomenal.  Her song and voice are perfect.

Sarah Reeves - Come Save

Review the book cover and the trailer and tell me what you think.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Smashwords Ebook Promotion - March 6-12, 2011

I want to make sure all of my ebook friends knows that Smashwords will be having a promotion March 6-12 whereby thousands of authors will be offering their ebooks free or at a greatly reduced prices.  I would encourage everyone with an ebook to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  If you are like me, I plan to mark my calendar and introduce myself to authors I may never have gotten to know without this chance.  Below, I've included the link as well as the code that will (may) be needed to download Warriors of the Cross for free.

Warriors of the Cross - Smashwords (Promotion Code RE100)

Great news!  Barnes and Noble has finally fixed the bug preventing Warriors of the Cross from downloading.  I officially have it downloaded onto my Nook and my Nook App on my IPAD.  Thank you, B&N.

Better news!  I have the book cover for Guardians of the Cross, Book Two of The Warriors Series.  I found the picture on one of my new favorite sites, Phatpuppy Creation.  Again, Claudia was professional and responded immediately to my every question.  She deserves every great thing that happens to her.  Thank you, Claudia (and Exhayle Sweet).

Links for the artists and Model responsible for Book Two:

Phatpuppy Creations
Modelmayhem

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Emails. Phone Trees. Customer Service. ARGH!

What a week.  I finally have Warriors of the Cross uploaded onto every site imaginable: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Create Space, Smashwords, Youtube.  You get the idea.  After months of planning, almost everything went perfect.  Almost.  Much to my disappointment, Barnes and Noble - the site I purchase my every Nook book from - has been my biggest challenge.  While Barnes and Noble has had 'On Sale' as the status on my account all week, it took until today for the book cover to be available.  Even though I can now see the book cover, I have yet to be able to download a copy of the book. 

My plan was to download Warriors of the Cross from each website, proactively identifying any problems that may exist.  While doing that, I knew immediately there was an issue with Barnes and Noble.  I went right to work calling their customer service lines.  I have spent hours on those calls.  I have sent innumerable emails to anyone at Barnes and Noble who could potentially help.  So far, I have had no luck in getting full resolution to the problem.  I will keep hoping and praying the problem gets corrected sooner rather than later.  Until it does, I will be patient with Barnes and Noble.

While working through my own issues, I've spent the entire week watching these sites publish dozens of books.  I am truly amazed at the number of people reaching their goals and becoming published.  I understand and appreciate all the hard work put into getting these Indie Published books into the mainstream markets.  For every person involved in making it possible, I'm grateful (even those wonderful people employed by Barnes and Noble)