Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things I've Learned in August

Since August is almost over, bringing the summer to a close, I've made a list of "things I learned this month." Nothing earth-shattering, but each helped me in some manner.

1.An author can create as many tags as she/he wants on her/his own Amazon books. Sure, your friends will help you out by adding tags, but since I ask too much from mine already, I just do it myself.

I ran a little experiment using my 99cent VTP Western Historical "Angel and the Cowboy." Using Novel Rank, I had sold about 5 copies and it had been up a couple of months. The usual tags were added--Western Historical Romance, Romance, etc. I added: Bargain Books, Short Christmas Stories, 99 cent books, 99 cent Bargain Books, Bargain Western Historicals. In a few days, the numbers had jumped--not a lot--but to about 30. It keeps selling, slowly, but one or two each week.

2. Going the self-pubbed route does not insure instant success, but it might be worth a try. This conclusion is based on reading many comments in answer to this very question: Why does publishing your own book seem to result in selling more copies? In the first place, it doesn't always happen, and in my opinion--based on others' comments--most authors do not enjoy this success. Probably, the process of selling your books still depends on the tried and true--name recognition, amount and kind of promotion, the genre, and the author's own persistence in searching for a unique way to sell. Writing a great story that gets high marks doesn't hurt, either.

We generally believe the erotic genre sells the most. While I, too, believe that, I can also point to a highly successful author who self-publishes her "sweet western historicals." But...she was a business person, well-known, and most likely enjoyed a built-in audience. For most of us, that doesn't hold true. I have no other name recognition out there other than my books published traditionally by small presses.

Other than erotic novels, a self-published series also seems to be a good tool. If an author puts out one book, it will gain a certain amount of attention based on general principles. But if the author can say--after "Blah-Blah," watch for the next in the series coming next month--"Etc.-Etc." This conclusion comes from others saying so.

3. To avoid or lessen the chances of your e-mail contacts getting hacked, here are two things you might do. Remember, it's not "if you get hacked," "it's when you get hacked."

First, change your password frequently. That's how the hacker steals your addresses. He has found your password. The older your password becomes, the more likely a hacker will locate it somewhere. How frequent? One advised every 90 days. That sounds pretty drastic, but I'd say at least twice a year. We should have "password buddies," someone to remind us "it's time to change your password!" You know, like mammogram buddies.

Two--I read this on a discussion. Make up two email addresses:

Address: AAAAAAA@(your server here, such as
Address: ZZZZZZZ@(same as above)

Theoretically, the hacker must go to the first contact on your list. Some go in through the last contact on your list. Since this is an invalid address, the hacker will receive a message "Mail not Deliverable."

Does this make sense? I followed this advice--I'll let you know...the next time I get hacked.

Here's to September--may it be a better month than August!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. Interesting bit on the tagging. Sometimes it's difficult to determine what caused a surge. Was it the different tags, or simply the result of more name recogntion? Whichever, congrats on the gain.

  2. Great information, Celia. Now if I cana just find time to add those tags. My elastic days are already stretched pretty thin. Yes, here's to the end of dog days and a better September! Linda

  3. Wonderful bits of info, Celia. I need to add more tags to my books. I've considered writing a short, self-pubbing it and putting it up for free or .99 in hopes it will draw more people to my other stories. Just haven't found the time yet.

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  4. I'm all over those pass words! Love your blogs!

  5. Great blog. I love this kind of useful information. thanks!
    Re: 2. Going the self-pubbed route does not insure instant success, but it might be worth a try.

    Heck going the traditional e-pub route doesn't either. I know the hotter stuff sells better, but it's not what I write. sigh.

    Thanks for sharing your informative month info with us.

  6. JR--like you, who knows? However, I did attribute this little surge to the new tags because the short story had been up two months. Thanks--wish it were in the 100s, but I don't want to be greedy. Well, yes, I do, too.

  7. Hi, Linda--for some reason, just moving from August into September always gives me a lift. Maybe it's a hold-over from teaching. I always loved the 1st day of school--even when I was the teacher.

  8. Me, too, Linda L.! I want to try a self-pubbed--but when???
    It might be fun--let's do it.

  9. Jude--yes, I think that's the best bit of advice I have--change those passwords. Celia

  10. Lynne--you are so right. Traditional pubbed certainly does not guarantee success--it's just that I have heard so many stories about "I self-pubbed and made a million dollars," well, not quite. But I do keep hearing this.
    No, I don't write hot stuff, too--sweet to slightly sensual. And I'm sticking to it.

  11. Celia, September HAS to be better! Interesting tip on tagging. Congrats on the increase in sales.

  12. CAROLINE--I agree--We're couple of Pollyannas, aren't we? Celia

  13. Hey Celia,

    I feel your pain about the hacking. I changed my passwords after your hackage because I was worried that I was next up on the list. Now I have senior moments because I have different passwords at different sites. Overall, that's for the best, but it sure makes my hair stand on end at times.

    Like you, I'm still lukewarm about the whole 99 cent ebook revolution. I haven't seen bust out of the barn results, but I am accepting of with my modest success. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

    I need to try some of your bargain wordage on the tags, but it seems that once I do that, everyone will be doing that. I need to get on the front of the wave!

    I am happy to be sitting on the tail end of August. September brings the promise of weather change, and that's sorely needed here in coastal Georgia.

    Enjoyed your post!


  14. Believe me, Maggie--we here in Texas are in serious need of a weather change. I think we've been very patient with Mother Nature, and as far as I'm concerned, she can just stop her little show right now. Enough already. We need some of that rain!
    My password index cards are so messed up right now, it's a wonder I can remember anything.
    Hope you get some relief in Georgia soon. Celia

  15. What an interesting and helpful thing to do. I especially liked what you had to say about self-publishing. I had heard about this huge monetary successes and thought about doing it. Now that I've read what you had to say, I think it is not for me.
    Get blog.

  16. Nice to know about the email addresses, Celia.

    I hope September is better, too.

  17. Thanks for the marketing and password suggestions! Right after you told me about switching passwords twice a year, I read Joel Stein's column in TIME magazine about creating passwords that are difficult to hack. What a timely (no pun intended) column, I thought! Hope things turn up soon for you!!

  18. SARAH--I agree--self-publishing is not for me. I really, really need someone to do it for it, like Rebecca. That's as close as I'll get to self-publishing.
    As with anything, a few will enjoy great success..the rest of us will muddle along, I suppose. Who wants to be famous anyway? (raising hand cautiously) Celia

  19. Thanks for the suggestions. Great post, Celia!

  20. SANDY--we authors have to cover for each other. Any little thing helps. Glad you visited--Celia

  21. DEBBIE--I'll have to look at that article. Thanks for the tip. Celia

  22. Hi, Diane! Thank you for stopping by--I hope all is well with. Celia