Jennifer Lyon

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Frustrations & Productivity

So this week started off great, and then…The. Frustrations. Happened. In my case, it’s stuff like a price change challenge from Amazon. The other four vendors changed the price right on schedule while Amazon said they have to “research my request”. Then two of the first three bloggers on my blog tour have not posted on schedule. Add in that I had to chase down some other issues related to writing and deal with a lot of errands and appointments that happened to all fall in this week. Nothing in that list was terrible or disastrous, just details popping up like whack-a-mole.

Frustrations happen. And we have to figure out how to remain productive through them. To be clear, I’m not talking about disasters, tragedies or illnesses. Those all deserve time off with no guilt. I’m referring to all the normal issues that come with the job and life. Amazon for instance; I knew they were going to do this. It wasn’t a surprise. But it still takes time to handle, and it frustrates me that readers are paying more at other vendors, but I can’t change those prices or Amazon won’t price match. Rock meet Hard Place :-) However, this is the game I signed up for when I chose to publish with Amazon. It’s their platform and their rules.  I have to accept it as part of the job description, do what I need to, then get back to my priority.

Writing.

To that end, I thought I’d share a few tips I have for trying to remain productive during the frustrations. These are basic, but does a reminder hurt?

Set a writing time It’s okay to keep your days fluid if that works for you. But set aside a time in there to commit to your yourself, your book and your dreams. Even if it’s a half hour, those half hours add up enough to one day become a book.

Have a daily goal: For some people it’s word count, page count, or if you’re like me, it’s set amount of time. Word and page counts don’t work in my process, but if I commit a chunk of time and don’t get distracted by other tasks, that works for me. Remember: To make dreams a reality reality, you have to break then down into tasks, prioritize them and follow through.

Develop a routing to shift into writing: I usually start with getting a cup of coffee, take out my story bible notebook, a yellow pad and a freshly sharpened pencil. Then I open the file and work UNLESS I go down the email and social media rabbit hole.

Turn off, or mute, your phone and social media. I turn down my sound. Anything important will pop on my phone screen and I’ll usually see it. I’ve read studies on how much time we lose to buzzing around online, and it’s an eye opener. We all get the same 24 hours a day, it’s up to us what we do with them. I don’t think the latest Twitter feud is a good use of my time, do you?

End your day’s writing on a cliffhanger. In other words, leave off where you’re super interested and engaged so you can’t wait to get back to it the next day. This has backfired on me, I’ve left my characters in the proverbial corner, and the next day realized I have no way out. But, hey, if writing was easy, we’d all be billionaire bestsellers. In general, though, the concept works.

Don’t should yourself to death The shoulds: I should write a newsletter, hit all the social media, write two blogs, write a reader magnet story (a freebie to use as a magnet to get more people on your newsletter), write four chapters and end world hunger. Ease up on the shoulds and constant pressure on yourself. I can should myself into scrambling around like a mad woman that achieves nothing significant. That’s not being productive, it’s being busy and there’s a big difference. Instead, prioritize. Isn’t writing the next book the most important goal? (I need to put that sign up in my office!)

Take Nora’s Advice of “You Can Fix Anything But A Blank Page:” So write. (I’m looking in a mirror on this one too!). Keep writing until you fall in love and can’t stop writing. Go for it!

I hope these help. Do you have tips you’d like to add?

Monday, February 22nd, 2021
Weekend Roundup & Release Day & Blog Tour!

Part One: My Weekend

I was walking Maggie yesterday and passed by a neighbor who shouted out, “You’re nothing if not predictable.”

Just what every girl wants to hear, right?

So this neighbor has a security cameras on his house, and every morning at 7:05 a.m. it dings that someone’s in front of his house. When he checks the camera, it’s me and Maggie heading out for our walk. Like clockwork. Every. Single. Day.

That’s me, boring and predictable. That was pretty much my weekend too :-)

Now my characters are the total opposite. They are having a grand old time making me chase them and figure out how to make their crazy, wild lives into rational scenes that make sense. They constantly try to defy the logic of magic and the world they are in, which leaves me scrambling to make it all work. Fun times! But overall, I had a pretty decent writing weekend, and if this holds, the book will finally get going.

Part Two: Release Day of the Boxed Set:

Today, Savaged Illusions, The Complete Series should go live. So yay! The price change from $3.99 to $6.99 is scheduled for Tuesday. The wild card there is Amazon. Getting them to change the price as planned should be a simple matter as it is with the other vendors, but sometimes they drag their feet and try to spice up my boring, predictable life by making me jump through hoops followed my lots of begging. We shall see.

Part Three: Blog Tour! With a Giveaway! (I hope, I forgot to double-check that–so fingers crossed I didn’t let that slip through the cracks.)

Note: this blog tour was set up by Inkslinger P.R.

Monday 2/22:

Reading Between The Wines Book Club  (Read an Excerpt)

Reading Bliss (Read an Excerpt)

Tuesday 2/23:

Yashika Verma (Review)

Wednesday 2/24:

Gin Reads (Review)

Cat’s Guilty Pleasures (Read an Excerpt)

Thursday 2/25:

Another Book Hangover (Read an Excerpt)

Reading in Pajamas (Review)

Friday 2/26:

Brittany’s Book Blog  (Read an Excerpt)

Books, Booze & Bon Voyage (Read an Excerpt)

Saturday 2/27:

Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm (Read an Excerpt)

Melena’s Reviews (Review)

The Power of Three Readers (Review)

Sunday 2/28:

Bookish Kelly 2020 (Read an Excerpt)

Melissa’s Book Love (Read an Excerpt)

MI Bookshelf (Read an Excerpt)

That’s it for me, how was your weekend?

Friday, February 19th, 2021
Friday Five

TGIF! I hope all of you in the path of the freezing and dangerous weather have power, heat and water. This is just brutal, and shows us that Mother Nature can kick all our modern conveniences butt when she chooses. But seriously, Mother Nature, take a chill pill and give these folks in Texas, Oklahoma and all the other regions a break.

Okay onto Friday Five:

  1. I went to lunch with Biker Witch today. Great to see my sister! I had a tri tip wedge salad that sounded good, but wasn’t :-( But that’s okay, ordering dessert made up for it.
  2. Wizard got his first Covid shot. Yay! It was super easy, he got up early, went online and made an appointment at out local pharmacy and did it. I won’t be eligible to get mine for another month or two, but at least people I love are getting it.
  3. Wizard is building a model car (small scale). And he’s a perfectionist…and I’m laughing my butt off. He’s already ordered an exact replica because this one isn’t coming out good enough. He’s laboriously redoing parts, and describing it all to me and I finally said, “All this pain, doing it, redoing it and endlessly obsessing, then buying a new one and starting over? IT’S LIKE WRITING MY BOOK! He gave me a sheepish grin, acknowledging that he may have told me to just write the book and be done a time or two.
  4. I am writing tons, but no farther in the book, LOLOL! The book I originally planned wasn’t good enough and I’ve done months of work to retool the story to where I think it will be…someday, but still hoping for summer :-)  I think I may make it. I really want to get this book and Ram’s written this year.
  5. The last few weeks were a combination of stress and not feeling well that landed my butt in the doctor’s office. Really long and boring story short: one theory is that my funky gall bladder is being set off by stress. This week we started some tests…and of course I feel better. I can hear my gall bladder taunting me,  What? I’m totally cool, dudes. Nothing to see here! Anyhow, I have an ultrasound scheduled next Friday (a week from today) and I’m going actively try to set off another attack before that with spectacularly bad food choices. Will it work???? Probably not. You all know my gall bladder is laughing gleefully, right? Still I’m feeling so much better this week that I’ll take that as a win :-)

That’s my random five things about my week, now I’d love to hear yours. I hope everyone has a safe, warm and happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
Update on My Promotion Experience

Today I’m sharing promo updates for the release of Savaged Illusions, The Complete Series on February 22nd. I’ve done a few things to get some preorders for special price of $3.99 before the price goes up to $6.99 after release. I’m going to be brutally honest. In rebuilding my career after a publishing hiatus, and the current market that’s over-saturated, I don’t have the sales power I once did.

My Preorder Goals: Below are my levels of goal setting for preorders on Amazon because I can see the actual preorders in real time:

Low Goal:  20 to 40 preorders. I got that. Achieved

Medium Goal: 60 preorders. I got that. Achieved

High Goal: 70 preorders. I got that. Achieved

Dream Goal over a 100 preorders. Not Achieved Yet

I have so far topped out at 70 on Amazon so I hit my high goal (so far) but not my dream goal.  I’ve stopped running ads so I may not get anymore.

So how did I get those 70 preorders on Amazon? I used three methods:

  1. Social Media, I’d estimate I got between 20 to 30 preorders from my newsletter and social media.
  2. Amazon Ads. I tried one of two Amazon Ads, and failed. Mostly because they would NOT let me mention the special or reduced prize. This is frustrating, because why else would most new readers preorder a boxed set they didn’t have a prior interest in? It’s different if it was a series or something they’d been anticipating, but for this, not being able to advertise the special price killed it.
  3. FB Ads. I had decent success there and got the balance of the preorders from those. I probably about broke even between what I spent and what I sold in preorders.

Without the FB ads, I’d never have done even half the 70 preorders currently listed on Amazon for this boxed set. But this way, the boxed set lands in at least 70 readers Kindles (or other devices) early morning of release day, which puts it right at reader’s fingers tips. Some of those will read them soon, and hopefully a few will talk about the book. So my goal with the preorders is that my paid marketing of advertising preorders will translate into some priceless word of mouth publicity from readers. 

FB Ad Tip: Don’t do what I did, and keep stopping and restarting, or changing the ads. I learned the hard way that you lose all the likes and comments that push your ad higher in the algorithms and attracts more readers. I was doing it to “test” different ad graphics and targeted audiences, and eventually figured out that was a really bad idea. So set an ad and let it run.

Other Marketing-Promo I’m Doing:

Blog Tour. I hired InkSlinger PR to schedule a one-week blog tour for release week (next week). They scheduled 15 blogs over 5 days, and so far, they’ve fulfilled what they promised. So color me happy with them at this point.

Buy Links in Published Books, I had my formatter update some reader letters and all the buy links in all six of my related books (even distantly related, like the Plus One Chronicles Series that has some crossover characters). This required me to get that all organized and then re-upload all those book files to all the vendors. It was a time suck, plus the cost as I pay for formatting, but those buy links are gold. If someone finishes a book of yours and loves it, that’s the time for them to have a link to click on.

Newsletter. I’ll send out a newsletter announcing the release. They’ve known about it for a while, but I always try to communicate with my newsletter subscribers. They cared enough to subscribe, and that means a lot to me. I mean that.

Social Media. I’ll promote some on social media.

Other Things in the Works. I’m always trying one or two things here and there. For instance, I submitted Savaged Dreams, the first book in the Savaged Illusions Series for a Bookbub Feature. I’ve never managed to get one for my self-published book–even the bestsellers, but I know one thing for sure: If I don’t try, then I definitely won’t get one. These are pricy though, and they don’t have the same success these days as they did a few years ago.

I’ll let you all know how it all goes. So that’s my few updates/tips. Anything you’d like to share?

Savaged Illusions — The Complete Set

 

Check out the Special Priced Preorder for Savaged Illusions, The Boxed Set here

Monday, February 15th, 2021
Weekend Round + Contest!

This is a two-parter! Scroll down if you want to skip to the Weekend Roundup part

The Contest:

I am so excited to be participating in Cathy Yardley’s Fall Into Romance Giveaway! We have a $200 Amazon Giftcard up for grabs and it’s super easy to enter! 

The giveaway will run Feb 12-21st. The grand prize winner will be announced February 28th  by email and The Weekly Ink! 

𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘀:
Cathy Yardley
Sloane Steele
Cassia Leo
Jen Talty
Sigal Ehrlich
Jillian Liota
Jennifer Lyon
Jennifer Bernard
Teri Wilson
Lea Nolan
Nina Crespo
Renee Rose
Ginny Baird
Michele Arris
Paris Wynters
Cheryl Sloan
JP Roth
Amelia Kingston
HL Packer
M.H.B.

Weekend Round

Hey all! I hope everyone in the grip of the cold snap is safe, warm and stocked up on necessities!

Saturday we got to see Turbo. Always fun! He’s a Grandpa’s Boy, and I love it. I’m starting to plan a fun birthday cake for him. Can you believe it, he’s going to be 3 years old next month!

Sunday we made streak and shrimp, opened a bottle of wine, and I made some chocolate covered graham crackers (Wizard’s request) to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Youngest son’s birthday is this week. So I called him yesterday to figure out a time to see him (not nailed down yet) and ask him if he wanted me to make cookies or a cake. For that I got an instant answer, “Peanut butter balls!” I’ve redesigned my peanut butter ball recipes for him to adjust to his preference for non-dairy, and my attempts seem to be working out, LOL. They do tend to come out soft, but they are good if you keep them in the fridge, and I discovered by accident, even better in the freezer. Like chocolate covered peanut better ice cream :-)

I’ve been dealing with some doctor stuff, and while I like my doctor very much, I don’t love tests and running around. But that’s minor, and this week is looking much better than last, so I’ll happily take it!

How was your Valentine’s Day and Weekend? How’s the weather in your area?

Don’t forget, if you want to enter into the Cathy Yardley’s Fall Into Romance Giveaway for a chance to win a $200.00 Amazon Giftcard, click here to enter!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021
Wednesday Fail

I don’t have a business related blog today. Frustrations like some computer issues for Wizard, a hack that was caught (Kudos to our bank!) and assorted life stuff tripped me up. It’s been like that for a couple weeks now, stuff popping up that requires instant attention.

Hopefully this picture will make up for my failure to post a substantive blog:

Or if you prefer a little hair:

 

Did either of those distract you from my lack of a real post?

Sunday, February 7th, 2021
Weekend Roundup

More like Roundup Lite. Not much happening, and I’ll take it. Here’s the highlights:

–Maggie’s been fine, no more upset stomachs. She’s sick of the cone, but I’m holding out until Wednesday when the stitches come out, then that cone is history.

–I tried to write. I spent more time thinking and researching and plotting. But I’m addicted to the story so that’s good. I figured out something amazing about the bad guy and why he needs Savi. I’d written a synopsis for this book, but the story is taking on a life of it’s own and that’s always magical (as well as messy and a ton more work!).

–Friday and Saturday were headache hell. Sunday morning I felt a bit better and was finishing my French toast with blueberries and bananas when I had a wave of nausea. It came and went in a few minutes, a lot like being pregnant. I Am Not Pregnant! But I am over this headache, so I marched my butt to the pharmacy the second they were opened and got the super Sudafed that requires a driver’s license and blood sample to buy. So far by at 5pm on Sunday I’m doing better. Fingers crossed it works and I don’t have to go to the doctors to treat an annoying sinus infection. FYI, no fever, no congestion, no real illness. The symptoms are classic sinus crap.

–I told Wizard I want a goat. Guys…his expression was hilarious. But being Wizard, he recovered quickly and told me I can’t because, and I’m quoting here, “Goats break in the house when you’re asleep and eat the shirt off your back. We can’t afford to replace all our shirts.” Then we had this long and serious discussion about when it’s appropriate to get a goat. We agree on the parameters, LOL! Spoiler alert, I won’t be getting a goat.

–Turbo, with his dad’s help, video-called us twice. We miss him! But Turbo called us because he wanted to check on Maggie :-) Turbo told his mom that “Maggie fought the monsters, hurt her stomach and had to go in an ambulance, but the monsters are in jail.” How cute is that? Kids have such fun imaginations and his parents really encourage his stories. We should be able to go visit him next Saturday.

–PROMO ALERT: If you haven’t read the Savaged Illusions Trilogy, you still have time to preorder the boxed set of all three books at the special price of $3.99. Click on the image to order your copy now!

That’s it for me. My weekend was fine, not exciting, not as productive as I hoped, but no dramas or llamas, so I count that a win! How was your weekend?

 

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