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Friday, February 6th, 2015
As promised, I’m going to talk about why I’m doing new covers for The Plus One Chronicles Series. If you want to skip all this, you can scroll down to the bottom and see the covers. Or you can read on to see my reasoning/explanation. Okay, for those of you still reading, I debated doing this for a long time. This is a risk, I’m investing a good chunk of money in the covers—I need five of them.
–A new cover for each book: The Proposition, Possession and Obsession.
–I need a new 3D cover for The Plus One Chronicles boxed set
–And because not all vendors take 3D I also need a flat cover.
And then I need to reformat the files with the new covers and do some promo. All told, once I’m done, I’m going to spend a thousand or more on this.
So why am I doing it? There are several reasons, so let me start with some background. Last year alone, at iBooks, I sold 103,000 copies of The Plus One Chronicles Series. That’s my biggest vendor, but I’m giving you an idea of what kind of sales I had at one vendor.
By the end of last year and into this year, it’s dropped dramatically (down to hundreds and tapering off) as is the natural course of things. It’s the law of diminishing returns. Let’s not get into a bunch of economics here, the basic premise is simple: Buying excitement and motivation is high in the beginning and sales track up, and if all things remain the same, sales then plateau and fall. (A simplified explanation for MY purposes).
So basically, with all things being the same, I’ve reached the audience I’m going to reach for the most part. Sure I’ll get a few more, but not a lot. But if I change things up, I’m hoping to reach a NEW audience for this series. This means rebranding the series to go outside the reach I currently have. And part of that reach is the covers.
Covers mean a LOT in sales. They are one of our strongest tools to catch reader’s eyes. Story blubs, tag lines, and other promotional tools are useful too. But covers, particularly in this social media world where readers are scrolling through life and we only have one to three seconds to catch their attention, covers are key. As the old adage goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. A cover will, I believe, stop a scrolling reader to take a second look.
And a second look can add up to more sales.
So I decided it was time for new covers to see if I can breathe new life into the series. So here are the things I was looking for with a new cover.
1) Branding. The old covers, I think, were beautiful but they were very different. The first one showed a dessert, the second one showed a sensual woman, and the third a couple. They lacked cohesion and didn’t quite tell the story of the series. One could easily believe it was three DIFFERENT stories, not one over-arching story told in three segments. The new covers show the same couple on each book. And shows the progression of their relationship: First they are looking at each other in The Proposition which shows the beginning. In Possession they’re turned toward each other, clearly growling closer, and in Obsession they are intimately together, clearly in love. This gives a stronger concept an emotionally erotic love story.
2) My name and bestseller status. I am an international bestseller, and my name has become my brand. I had to get over my resistance and put that on the very top of my covers like a smart businesswoman.
3) All the titles and cupcake emblems are in the same, creating a more uniform brand.
4) The older cover for Possession was in the “dungeon” at Amazon. What that means is that it was suppressed in the search engines with an adult only tag due to the cover. Amazon has tightened their cover restrictions. I’m hoping the newer covers will be okay, however I want to say that I’m not complaining. Amazon has the right to make their rules, and I can choose to use them as a vendor or not. I choose to use them, and if these covers get tagged, that’s life. A side note: I’ve been in long discussion with another vendor, and so far we have not agreed on terms. I’d never bad mouth that vendor either—they have the prefect right to set their terms. This is business, not personal.
5) Late this year (or possibly early next year if things don’t go as I hope) I want to launch a new series that will be very loosely tied to the Sloane’s world in The Plus One Chronicles. Freshening up the covers could possibly bring new interest. It keeps my name alive while I get new books ready to release. And having The Plus One Chronicles more clearly branded will separate it from the Shattered Illusions series, but my name and bestseller statues will connect the two. So if someone reads the new series the Jennifer Lyon, International Bestselling Author, and search for more books by me, they’ll find The Plus One Chronicles.
6) THE ONE THING I DON’T WANT TO DO—trick readers who’ve already bought the books into buying the new ones. The titles, release dates and blurbs will all be the same. I’m openly discussing this to get the word out and will probably put both covers labeled “original” and “new” on my website.
So to wrap it up, I basically felt that the covers I was using had gotten a little stale, and freshening up the series with new updated ones might breathe new life into the series and reach an untapped readership.
It’s a risk. I have no way of knowing if it will pay off, but that’s the beauty of self-publishing—I’m in control, and I can try new things as long as I determine that I can afford the risk if it doesn’t pay off.
I expect the new covers will go up in most places in a week or two. After a month or so I’ll report back with the best numbers I can to let you know how it’s working.
And now…here are the covers!
The Proposition, Possession and Obsession designed by Patricia Schmitt
The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set; 3-D version
The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set, flat version
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Obsession, Plus One Chronicles, Possession, The Proposition
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Monday, November 10th, 2014
Despite my headache, I’m thrilled to share the cover for THE PROPOSITION in Portuguese from my Brazilian publisher Editora Charme:
This is one of my favorite covers ever. It’s up for preorder here http://loja.editoracharme.com.br/uma-proposta-sedutora and will release on December 10, 2014!
Also coming in December is the German version from Egmont LYX. They are releasing The Plus One Chronicles in two books instead of three.
And the preorder link for that is http://www.amazon.de/Plus-One-Nur-bei-dir/dp/3802595246/
Hope everyone has a great day!
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Plus One Chronicles
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Friday, May 2nd, 2014
I hope this blog posts at the correct time. The server is doing some maintenance over night so it may be delayed. If the blog shows up late, that’s why. For once it’s not my fault, LOL
And here’s my news: I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve sold the Brazilian Portuguese rights for THE PROPOSITION (book 1 of The Plus One Chronicles) to Editora Charme Publisher in Brazil. I’m really excited about it! The editor there contacted me, and then we were half way through negotiations when my Internet crashed. Thankfully I was able to email the editor through my phone and let her know. She was very understanding and patient. We just concluded and signed the deal yesterday.
Between this deal and the German one, Kat and Sloane are turning into world travelers I can honestly say that I never imagined this happening when I sat down to write these books. All I cared about was finding the best way to tell their story that meant so much to me.
My weekend will be all work. Real Life keeps infringing on my writing time, and I know edits for THE COWBOY MARINE (I just got work that we’ll be changing the title) are coming my way soon. On top of that, Ryan and I are still working on the audio for POSSESSION. We’re almost there, though!
What are you doing this weekend?
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Once A Marine Series, Plus One Chronicles, The Proposition
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Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Oh man, I saw the two covers for the German version of The Plus One Chronicles, and I’m dying to share them. I love them so much! But they’ve asked me to hold off for a couple weeks. Its killing me! It finally feels real though! The German version will be released in two books instead of three, and it will be in both print and electronic versions. When I first set out to write that story, and self publish it, I never imaged this would happen. Sometimes, writing the book of your heart really does work out in ways we can’t even fathom.
Now I’m in a race against time to get Exposing The Heiress done. The story is emerging…just not fast enough. It takes time to get it right, but time is in short supply.
Okay moving on to Wednesday Worthy. This is a hunk who has visited us a few times, let’s see if he’s still worthy!
What do you think?
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Plus One Chronicles, Wing Slayer Worthy
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Friday, January 3rd, 2014
I’ve been a complete moron and forgot to tell you all that there’s a Plus One Chronicles Book Blast going on. If you haven’t seen it going around the various social media sites, you can link here and enter to win a $50.00 or $25.00 electronic gift card. There’s more links on the site–you can follow those and enter at the various stops until January 5th.
Also. The Proposition, book 1 in The Plus One Chronicles, is now free on these sites:
Amazon Kindle / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords
Yesterday was one of those incredibly frustrating days where I couldn’t get my next Once A Marine book started. I always *think* I know the characters and plot well enough until I sit down to write, then I realize I need to do more prep work. So I spent yesterday thinking. I made progress that way, but I still need to solve one more hurdle. And since I’m writing this blog on Thurs, what are the odds I’ll think of what I need right around two am?
This weekend, I’m planning to go out to CPA Boy and Special K’s to finally meet Corky–seen here sun bathing.
He’s a kick back dog I’m sure I’ll love him! They also have Cookie, so I get to play with two dogs for the price of one!
Otherwise, I’m back to work, work, and more work.
What are your plans this weekend?
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Once A Marine Series, Plus One Chronicles
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Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you all a Happy and Successful 2014!
I started to write this blog late yesterday afternoon but Wizard came home from work early and I got side tracked by the glass of wine he held in front of my face I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! We stayed home and made our traditional steak and lobster, along with a spinach salad, fresh-baked bread and some wine. After all the non-stop holiday craziness from Thanksgiving on, we were ready for a quiet night.
I’m not doing New Years Resolutions, they always look the same: Get in better shape, learn to write faster, try to be more patient especially while driving…it’s always the same things. Instead I’m going to list a few things that I learned career-wise in 2013.
CHOOSING TO SELF PUBLISH: I didn’t shop the Plus One Chronicles anywhere, I didn’t even show it to my agent. This story was important to me and while publishers can be awesome to work with, in this case, I had a vision that I feared they might want to water down. I had no idea, not a clue, that the books would do as well as they did. What also surprised me is how much I love self publishing. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t quite grasp exactly how much long hours and sheer perseverance it would require of me. But now I have a pretty good idea and I plan to continue self publishing with a new series I’m beyond excited about in 2014. However, that said, I’m always going to keep an open mind. If a publisher offered me a good deal, I’d probably take it and be thrilled.
EDITING: I still, and will always, need a good editor. I found one of the best editors I’ve worked with in my entire career for The Plus One Chronicles. She’s not cheap but worth every penny. Editing is a rare combination of skill and talent that is critical to developing a book to its fullest potential. Sasha (my editor) always stayed true to my vision while pushing me hard to not only choose every word carefully, but to develop my characters to the point where she’d say things like, “This doesn’t sound like Sloane” on a piece of dialogue. On POSSESSION her revision letter started with, “This book needs some extra loving,” which meant, I’m going to work your butt off to make this book shine because right now it’s not good enough. I went into full-blown, stomach churning, bile spewing, panic. But I took that book apart and fixed it to the best of my ability. And I am grateful to Sasha that she didn’t pull her punches. We have a very professional relationship–she respects my vision, and I respect her edits. I don’t get angry at her edits, even in the rare case that if I didn’t agree with them.
GOALS: I learned that setting clear concise goals is important to keep me focused. My goals were to write Kat and Sloane’s story in three books, write the Once A Marine Series, and my overall goal this year was to reach new readers. That’s it. I didn’t aim for lists. There is a way to aim for lists, and I chose not to do that because I’d put too much pressure and expectations on myself. I know myself well enough to understand the disappointment would get in the way of my writing. When I ended up hitting a few lists (not the USA Today and NYT), I was stunned and over-the-moon excited, but it was more of a happy accident than a goal. And this leads me to my next one:
PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY: It’s real, it happens, we’re all human. We can’t always control what we feel, but we can control how we react. An example is my good friend, Laura, she’s hit both the USA Today and New York Times this year. Here’s how I felt: THRILLED! Laura and I’ve known each other for years and years, we’re critique partners, and I know exactly how talented she is, and how hard she works–and here’s the best part–Laura’s one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. Shes’ also incredibly supportive of me, and many other authors. I knew she was going to hit the NYT before she did. But was I jealous? Sure. However I refused to let that dim my happiness for her, I celebrated with her and had a blast. We were texting constantly and soon the jealously faded. (By the way, Laura knows all this, we talk about this stuff straight up.) Feeling jealous or envious is normal. The mark of our character though is how we react. I want to be happy for other people’s successes and so I will be.
SOCIAL MEDIA and BRANDING: This is something I’m still learning. It’s a guilt that dogs me, I should be interacting more on social media, creating a stronger online persona and branding myself. Except I would rather write And the thought of branding myself sounds…painful So…I’ll keep trying. Although I love my Lyon FB page–that one is fun, plus I love doing giveaways there when I have the time and resources.
DEADLINES AND PRESSURE: Stomach burning, insomnia producing, sweat popping pressure can force a book out of me. I don’t like it, in fact, I hate it. But I can do it. I’m hoping that knowing I can do it will calm that insane level of anxiety I dealt with this year. But it won’t–the root of that anxiety is that I care DEEPLY about my readers and worry about disappointing them.
EXPECTED THE UNEXPECTED: Like the offer from the German publisher to buy the translation rights to The Plus One Chronicles. I was gobsmacked. The books will be released in Germany late 2014. But the unexpected will also bring more work that takes time away from writing. I’m learning to be flexible and accept that there will be many nights where I must work. I have to sacrifice things like reading and TV. That’s okay though Insomnia gives me a chance to catch up on reading!
READERS: I love my readers! It’s readers that have given me the best job in the world.
Okay that was a long LONG post! If you made it this far, chime in with anything you want. Maybe something you’ve learned this year, or comments on something I’ve learned, or just tell me anything you feel like sharing.
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Once A Marine Series, Plus One Chronicles, Possession
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Friday, October 25th, 2013
So Wizard is HORRIBLE this time of year. When we first married, he barely ate sweets. Somewhere along the way, I totally corrupted him and now he loves Halloween candy. This year he opened one of the bags of candy early. “Here Witch, eat this.”
“Come on, Sug (short for Sugar–don’t ask).
“No.” Insert pouty witch face here. “I didn’t work out for seven weeks. I’ve eating too much and fat.”
“I love you.”
” I can’t fit into my jeans.” Umm, wait, did that sound whiny?
” That’s okay, I like you better out of your jeans.”
Damn it, I ate the candy. Seriously, Wizard. Is. Evil. I’m trying! Getting my butt in the gym, but I have zero self-control right now and Wizard is not helping!
Changing subjects here, I was flipping through my random sheets of notes that I make while working on a book, looking for my handwritten time line. What I found was this in the pages of notes was this:
“Be thankful, and very grateful for your readers.”
I wrote that down on my note pages when the series hit the top 10 of contemporary romance at iTunes. The Plus One Chronicles were still there on Thursday when I’m writing this blog–so I have a lot to be grateful for and it’s good to stop and remember that. I’m keeping that little random note to myself
Enough rambling! I don’t think we have any special weekend plans. I need to clean house, write, and hang out with Wizard. What are you doing this weekend?
Posted in Jenn's Posts, Jennifer Apodaca, Plus One Chronicles
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