Another Tale of Ebook Pricing

Almost a year ago I wrote this nifty little blog post about pricing on ebooks where I talked about the taco pricing (read it to get the full meaning) and how we shouldn't undervalue our work. But then, I went and did just that. I was convinced that if I priced OBSIDIAN at just .99 it would be picked up as a hot seller and spark interest. It did... for the first couple of weeks. But then, after time, the sales started lagging. There are any number of reasons why a book will languish in medium-ville. Not enough publicity. Not enough word of mouth... I can't really say why the book lagged in sales. I originally put it off to the fact that it had already been out as a hardcover for some time. I wasn't really sure.

Anyway, recently I pulled Stealing Darkness back from Smashwords and the places that they distribute to. I didn't like the lack of control. The total facelessness (not a word... I know) that I was finding by going this route. I love being able to see what a book is doing. I love being able to tweak my works and maybe even change the direction of my sales. I wasn't getting that ability anywhere but at Amazon.

After I pulled it back I knew that a couple of things were seriously needed for the book to succeed.
The first is a new cover... I am glad to tell you that I have it in my hot fingers. The second was that I needed to look at the sequel again and determine what had held me back from publishing it. It was done. But either I was unhappy with the direction the story took, or I lost confidence from lagging sales... either way, I had shot myself in the foot and I needed to correct it.

So, here is what is coming up...

On Friday, August 23 the price of both OBSIDIAN and THREE TRUTHS will be changed to $5.99. I can't promise that they will remain this price, but they are both full length novels, and as such deserve a price that reflects the blood, sweat, tears and imagination I put into them.

Date to be announced: STEALING DARKNESS will be reissued with a hotter content and an even hotter cover. Seriously! This cover is amazing!  Also this will be coincide with...

Date to be announced: STEALING THUNDER the second book in the DARKNESS PARANORMAL SERIES and a longer book, featuring Grace, the middle Sterling sister and a very hunky hero named Graham Wolfe. This one takes place in one of my favorite places, the Smoky Mountains and North Carolina. Stay tuned for more...

AND, JUST BECAUSE I CAN'T RESIST... there is a little teaser in the back of STEALING THUNDER about the third and final book in the DARKNESS PARANORMAL SERIES. The title isn't quite decided upon (I can't make up my mind), but this is all Nevi Sterling's book and it's set in New Orleans! I'll let you know more when STEALING THUNDER is released and keep watch here for more info.

ONE LAST THING!!!!!! I'm going to be doing a giveaway this Fall, so stay tuned. You never know what may happen next!



A Feel Good Read and Just .99 on Kindle!

Magic, destiny and fate… Katie Talmadge has had her fill of all three while living in Salem, Massachusetts. But when a mysterious woman promises to change her life with three fateful truths, Katie begins to believe in a magic that can only come from the heart.



Mayhem, Dangerous Intent and a Removal of my Precious Sanity... And that's just this week

Can I pick 'em, or can I pick 'em?

This should be a smooth sailing week leading to the luxury of a vacation, but instead I find myself surrounded by chaos and wishing for the soul enhancing dance of quiet writing time.

Should be easy. Right? You would think so, but even the best of intentions can be derailed by a family on the move toward the edge of reason and chaos.

Let me explain...

Hubby is hard at work, running lengths of beautiful bronze metal up on the roof. He trudges up and down the ladder, laboring in the heat, while moaning over the fact that he wasn't born to be a carpenter. The roof is truly glorious and it's going to be wonderful come this chilly, snow-laden winter. Especially, when he doesn't have to get up there and shovel off the roof. This is only the beginning of the chaos that will be River View for the next couple months. Electricity is getting updated and there are new windows and doors to be installed. I'm even getting a new kitchen floor if we can ever agree on just what will withstand the constant flow of teenagers in and out of the door.

And then, there is the daughter who is returning for her third year of college. I spent a lot of time this summer repeating the words, "Your 20 now and I can't tell you what to do, but..." which usually was a reminder to put her laundry in, clean her perpetual chaos out from underfoot or move her car out of the path of the first vehicle to leave in the morning. I miss her dearly when she goes to college, but there is a reason why they grow and leave and it's usually just to preserve a parent's sanity.

Son has started football. Again. This last year has been a year of amazing growth. In his case, it's means a growth of about a foot. At 14, he's 6'2" which should make him the largest on the Freshman football team, but alas, he's not. He's still growing, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we have the daily washing of the football gear, the running back and forth to practice and trying to fill the endless well that is a teenage boy's stomach. Not an easy task.

And through it all I have undertaken the task of writing a new story. I put aside the other stuff and have decided to take another direction. This is book in a week and I'm trying to find a way to meet my measly goals. Keep your fingers crossed for us here at River View... our sanity is in short supply. I am endeavoring to keep a better visual of my progress here, prompted by the frequent posts of Cherie Priest as she chronicles her writing and life. I enjoy her chaos. I hope you can find some enjoyment in mine.

Until then, happy writing!



Coming Back from Beyond? Booksellers and Ebooks


“In this market, you could actually pick up market share simply because you’re the only major bookseller left,” ~John Tinker, a media analyst at the Maxim Group

The above quote is from a July 22 article from The New Yorker, entitled "Ebook vs. Pbook" by James Surowiecki. (Great article! follow the link).

Ultimately, I prefer to browse the shelves of a bookstore, roaming among the aisles and picking up books at a whim. I confess, I have a Kindle. I actually love it, but a few things became abundantly clear to me when I started purchasing books for it.

1. Having an ereader appeals to the hoarder, or the instant society that has overtaken us all. No longer do we have to wait in anticipation for the next installment when we find a new author. We are able to browse amongst their backlog and find something else to ease that need for a read. But am I alone by saying that I will probably never read half of the books I downloaded. Once I got a look at the first page and was able to get a feel for a writer's style, I found that many of them were not to my liking.

2. Not all ebooks are created equal. Just as not all paper books are of the same quality, the same could be said for ebooks. Enough said.

3.Nothing can replace contact, human nature and good-old-fashioned communication. This is the true gold behind any successful bookstore, their ability to connect with the readers and give them what they want. No matter how good the marketing material, nothing beats good word of mouth. And if you can get an enthusiastic bookseller behind you... you can ride it to the bestseller lists. This is what the smaller bookstores do well. They don't have the money to back them or the distribution, but they do have the ability to connect.

I tend to think of the downsizing of the bookseller trade as being much like the end of the dot.com push, or the 80's more-is-more, that so many company's had to find a way to recover from. Barnes and Noble is not dead. I don't believe that the Independent Bookseller is dead. I think there is room for everyone. We just need to figure out where that is. And there are lessons to be learned from both the demise of big chains like Borders and the nail-biting hanging-on that B&N has managed until now. There are lessons to be learned from all those smaller stores that closed. And there are lessons to be learned from Amazon, the consumer, and the authors. Starting over is always an option. You only fail if you don't keep trying.

I don't believe that books will ever become obsolete. There will always be those who prefer the joy of holding it, turning down the pages and reveling in the anticipation of an adventure. There's room there for all. We just have to find the common ground and learn from those around us.



The State of the State (Or The Current Business of Books)

It's been awhile since I've posted on the business of books, but recently I started reviewing my past experience and how the business has changed since I got into it 20+ years ago. Here's just a few of the revelations that I've discerned.

1.
In the beginning, (read: pre-internet) so much of the contact between authors and booksellers was a carefully constructed dance that required the help of multiple personages at the publishing houses. Promotion was based on previous sales and often those authors in the dreaded mid-list and (gasp!) below didn't qualify for much in the way of help from their publishers. It may still exist today, but for many it is a catch-22. Sales= $valuable sales promotion dollars and new authors with previous sales record = $0. From a business plan standpoint this idea makes sense, put the dollars where they will be the most effective. But somewhere along the way the authors that had to work hard for their sales and put blood, sweat and tears into promoting their babies came away with some hard won knowledge now that there has been a shift in the market, opening up new avenues with indie pubbing, etc.


2.
With the amount of BIG booksellers, chains such as Borders and Barnes and Noble, experiencing dwindling markets, there is once again an opportunity for local venues to gain ground again and in some cases see the return of the local bookstore. Those that held on despite the presence of big box stores are seeing resurgence from customers who long for the friendly bookstore next door to get their addictions fed. But this is also the opportunity for those large chains to take a step back and appraise market needs. Clearly their sales are touched by the emergence of alternate publishing methods, but that doesn't rule them out entirely. Adaptability is the key to any business and perhaps taking cues from the rotating market will enable them to once again gain ground. Personal relationships, quality product and services and attention to detail. These are the things that hinge a great business together.

3.
An eye on the future is what is needed if both authors can continue forward. It seems that no matter how many times I say it there is still a need to put it out there. This is a business and authors who aren't willing to learn the business take the chance of being left behind. It's more than setting a brand for yourself in this market. It's about taking the time to research and understand. I know authors who run the gamut between not wanting anything to do with the business side and those who understand it better than the experts themselves. Nina Pierce would be an excellent example. She understands markets, trends and best of all... cause and effect. She gets it better than most I've talked to and better, she's willing to share her knowledge if you ask.
So the question remains... where is the market today? It is still evolving and clearly if I knew what the answers were I'd have the keys to the kingdom. But for those with their eyes open, there is a big wide world out there waiting.

Got Something for Tall, Dark and Insanely Hot?




Run, don't walk to your computer to get your copy of Tiffinie Helmer's Wild Men of Alaska. This boxed set is worth the price with not one, not two, not three, but four hot romances designed to have you researching plane fares to Alaska.

Impact starts with a bang when the man who arrested Wren makes an appearance once again in her life. He's been waiting for her...

Everything is Moosed-Up when Eva finds herself in the tiny Alaskan town of Chatanika. She needs the escape and the town needs her medical expertise, but nothing can prepare her for Lynx enters her life.

Dreamweaver is a surreal, ghostly love story that turns the tables on romance from the other side. Don't like ghost stories? You'll like this one...

and in Bearing All, enemies can be so much more dangerous when there is love as the prize.

Check out all these great stories and an added bonus of a preview of Edge, her first book in the Romance on the Edge series.

I can't wait!

A Change

I'm not adverse to change. Most of the time I am okay with it. I understand that change leads to growth and new opportunities, but sometimes change is hard to swallow. This would be the case with the current situation at hand. For 19 years I've been a member of Maine RWA. I was there for the first meeting of the current incarnation and I was there for a couple of the old ones. In the beginning I was a very green young writer with lots of hopes, but not much else. I found myself sitting silently at meetings soaking up the knowledge of many great writers. I was brought into the group and friendships and family-like bonds were formed. I will forever think of the RWA members as family. They've seen me through many trials and tribulations and the birth of my son. They were with me for the good and the bad and I know that if I needed them they'd be there for me. I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have without their support, friendship and even love. But the last few years have been hard and I find myself at a crossroads as it comes to justifying my membership in RWA. I haven't been to a conference since the last Washington conference and I have a hard time proving that the cost is more important than the staples, such as food, heat, college costs, etc. In actuality, I didn't think the decision would be this hard. But in the end I know it's what needs to be done. I can feel some sense of satisfaction in that fact.

To my friends and fellow writers of Maine RWA I thank you for all that you have given me over the years. I may be back. I haven't given up writing. I don't intend to give up now. I wish you all the biggest success and all your dreams come true. You are very special to me.

Best wishes to all,



He was a... How will you be remembered?

Confession time: They pick on me in the lunch room because I read the obituaries on a regular basis. You've heard the comments before. "Are you trying to make sure you're not in there?" or "Are you checking to see if you have to come to work today?" But the answer for me is really very simple. I've always been fascinated by the way that people live their lives. I'm intrigued by the choices they make and the obstacles that they overcome. Good or bad. I read them because I know that someone passed and the world needs to acknowledge this change. Sounds morbid, but it's not to my way of thinking.

"I don't want my kids to remember that I was ever afraid to tackle something," I said to my father one day. "I want them to know that no matter what they want to accomplish they can take it on and do it. No matter how scary." My father sort of shook his head and then quietly said, "you're kids will never think that". Certainly, I've done some things that others would never understand. I've overcome a lot of fears in my life and I fight those fears daily. I was the kid that no one outside my family ever expected much from and yet, I've exceeded even my own expectations. I am thankful for all the things I have and not for the things I don't have. When I go I want people to remember me as someone who was not afraid. How do you want to be remembered?

I am fully aware that there are those that find me intimidating and often too plain-spoken. I always say that if you don't want to know the answer to a question, don't ask me. I don't lie. At least, not well. This creates conflict within me when asked for an opinion that I know will not be the popular one. But I pride myself on honest interactions with people. When I ask questions or interact it's because it's an honest interest. Not because I have some sort of ulterior motive or out of duty.

Today I was watching CSpan and they had an interview with author Brad Meltzer (from DeCoded show fame). During the question and answer he mentioned that at one time he'd hired a reporter to write his obituary for him. He wanted to know what it was that he'd be remembered for... I've included the video of the lecture below. I think you'll find it as inspiring as I did. How will you be remembered?





I just signed up for Indie ReCon. It's the first I've heard of it, but the presentations look great and the best part is it's FREE and you can do it in your jammies!

Check it out at IndieReCon.org


Happy Valentine's Day


You'd think that as a writer of romance I would be all gooey on the inside when it comes to this day. But the reality is that Valentine's Day is rather a quiet affair in our house and it doesn't hurt my feelings one little bit. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who shows me every day how much he loves me so I don't need one day to make a statement over it. The same goes for my beautiful daughter and son. I'm blessed. But more importantly, I try to make sure they know every day how much I love them. Even when it's wrapped around a sarcastic comment.

I'm spending my Valentine's Day enjoying a day off from work. There's plenty to do, so I'd best get a move on with my chore list. Hubby brought home some wonderful scallops that made ME melt (another romantic everyday gesture) and I've got a special treat to make the hubby and son for dinner. In the meantime, I thought I would share a great picture with you all. I've been doing a lot of genealogy lately and this fits right in with what I've been working on with that, as well as with my current book. I have no idea when it was taken, but it's my grandparents Marion and Leland Williams and it was taken on the road in front of their house. It's the only picture of have of them together so I treasure it. I hope you enjoy it as well.




Happy Valentine's Day to all... Blessings!




Changes are here...

After much thought I've decided that I need to streamline things a bit. In the past, TeaganOliver.com would forward you to a rather generic site that had book information, but not a whole lot about what makes me tick. It was on the Cup of Hot blog that I really showed my true self, as well as having the latest on book info. So, I combined the blog and the domain name and now you can read my latest blog hits at TeaganOliver.com and at the same time find information on myself and my latest releases.

If you want to find out more information about my paranormal pursuits you can follow me at www.gotghost.blogspot.com or for all things vintage at www.cranberryhornvintage.blogspot.com .

I hope you enjoy the visit.



Amazon’s At it Again

In case you haven't heard... Amazon’s At it Again Check out this post from Nina Pierce on the latest changes at Amazon that have most indie pubbers scratching their heads and trying to figure out the next course of action.

What To Do When Your Story Sucks


I didn't do too badly last year. I did manage to publish STEALING DARKNESS in April and OBSIDIAN in December. I wouldn't call it bad by any stretch, but wasn't there something missing? Something I promised, but couldn't quite deliver? Yup, it was the second book in the Darkness Paranormal Novella series.

So what happened to it? It sucked.

Oh, I wrote the story, but when it came right down to it I found that it wasn't the story that I was trying to tell. Somewhere along the way the magic in the story got lost and so did I. I started at point A... so where the heck did the point B go? I don't know.

Is the story lost? Nope. But it is still sitting in limbo until I can figure out just where I veered off the track with it. For now, I'm still hoping for the magic.


Reviews: Getting Perspective


Is this not an awesome cover?!
My longtime friend and fellow author, Michelle Libby just released her hot new book Crash and Burn from Lyrical Press. Anytime that you release a new work it's the equivalent to sending your child off to kindergarten and hoping you won't get a call from the Principal because they bit someone (long story). Still, there is that heart stopping rush that goes along with the fear of rejection. No one likes it. But one bad rejection is not the end of the world.

Offset the Balance...
Sounds like an odd thing, but the more reviews you have the less impact one bad review can have on your book page. We all have friends and relative who buy our books... ask them to write a review for you. Amazon likes to have that sale behind the review, but the more you have posted the better those little stars are going to look at the top of your page when a possible reader checks out your available book list.

Another option is to offer the book for review. Someone is going to balk at this, but it's incredibly hard for an author to get reviews. Not comfortable with offering that book for review? Offer an additional title. But keep in mind that when you offer that book out to John Q. Public for review you need to take what you get. It is what it is.

I would also add... as a reader, whenever I come across a book with all perfect reviews it tends to make me a bit suspicious. No book is completely perfect, nor is it going to satisfy every reader.

Author Pages...
Amazon has a great tool for authors called Author Pages. Don't have one? Set one up. They are easy and give your possible future readers a place to gather more information on you. Within the space for your bio I would also include any previous blurbs about your work. This page is going to consolidate all your available titles onto one page. If you are Indie pubbing, I'd suggest including some of that Author info in with your book information during set up. Use the available space to your advantage.

Book  Description from Stealing Darkness:

About the Author:
Few things in life can prepare a writer as well as growing up on an island in Maine. As a Romantic Mystery and Paranormal Suspense writer, Teagan relies heavily on her experiences in Maine and in her background as a paranormal investigation and spirit intuitive.

Teagan lives on the Maine coast with her husband and two kids, where she spends her time gathering stories. She's a frequent speaker, contributing her knowledge of writing to organizations such as Romance Writers of America, Maine RWA, New Jersey RWA, New England RWA and Rhode Island Romance Writers.

Other Available Titles:
Three Truths, a sweet paranormal set in Salem. Available in paperback and Kindle format.
Obsidian, a romantic mystery set on the coast of Maine. Available in Kindle format.


Negating the Negative...
If you receive a review that you feel is unfair and damaging you have the option of hitting the button next to the "is this review helpful". I would suggest have fellow readers and authors go in and tag unfair reviews as well. We are entitled to our opinion, but not at the sake of damaging a person's career. No one book will fit everyone's taste. Conversely, if you like a book then take a moment to post a positive review. And remember, don't post anything that will tip the reader off to cliffhangers or summarize a plot to the point where they no longer want to read the book.

Ultimately, we have no real power over public opinion. It is what it is. We can only write the best book we know how to do and to make each work better than the last. I was watching a biography of Jennifer Anniston this morning in which she said that she never pays attention to reviews. I guess if it's working so well for her then I'll just have to follow her lead.





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