Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A PA is an indie's best friend!

No, this is not me, nor my PA. It's my daughter doing her
used car salesman impression!
Being a self-published author is no easy task. Somedays, you come away feeling like a sleazy used car salesman. “This here’s a beauty! Five-hundred and fifty pages of mouthwatering romance that is sure to satisfy. It’s a steal at only $4.99!” However, since many of us have neither agents nor publishers, the job lies on us to push our books.

With the release of my newest book - Hook’s Little Mermaid - looming, and the idea of yet another ‘buy my book please’ sales pitch, I was really getting anxious. Then a friend told me about her PA/PR, Jennifer of Storytime Book Reviews, and said I should see what she could do.
I was wary. I have tried several different blog services in the past (some very reputable). One service was a total waste of money. Another totally screwed up the blog tour and used the pictures and links of another author to advertise my book. The third showed minimal results. So I was pretty skeptical about, yet another, supposed helper.

However, after a rather lengthy discussion with Jennifer, I decided to take advantage of the discounted PR deal she was offering for March. I figured this would let me test the waters and it would help me get prepared for my release.
The first thing she did was set up a release party event on Facebook. I have never had a release party event before. I have been a guest author on other events, but never one in honor of a book I had released. Why? I didn’t want to have to host it myself and I didn’t have anyone to host it for me. This all filters back to the ‘used car salesman’ thing.

Next she set up a Thunderclap; something I had never done for myself. It would take people to my Amazon Author Central page on the day of the release so everyone could purchase the book.
Instantly I started seeing results. The Thunderclap was taking off like wildfire (it actually exceeded the goal set up for it). She lined up three days’ worth of guest authors to help with the takeover. She generated all kinds of buzz about the release. I was feeling amazing!

While waiting for Hook’s Little Mermaid to release, I still had my first series – The Bed Wife Chronicles – to worry about. She jumped right on it, sharing the freebie first book and getting it known out there. I saw a jump in my free sales, then after a week, new actual sales were rising as readers of book one came back for books two and three in the series.  These were results I was unable to achieve on my own, even when I tried to pitch my books to readers and blogs.
Then the blessed day came, Hook’s Little Mermaid was to be officially released on all eBook platforms. I woke up that morning, excited to start the day. I turned on the computer, went to the book link and my heart fell.

Not only had Amazon not linked the book to my Author Central Account nor to the paperback version (which again was still not linked to the Author Central Account), a reader who mistakenly purchased my newly released book left a one star review admitting she purchased the book by mistake.

Needless to say, tears were shed. My poor husband didn’t know what to do with me except bring me coffee and rub my back while I cried. I just knew all this hard work had fallen down around me. The Thunderclap would take everyone to the wrong link, meaning no one would be able to purchase the book. Everyone would see that one star review and think it was bad book. My life was over (you know, when you feel that way rational thought goes out the window).

I jumped online and messaged Jennifer through tear filled eyes. She, being in a different time zone, was still in bed by this point but jumped up and got to work. Within thirty minutes she had managed to help me get the book attached to my author account, changed the thunderclap, contacted all the blogs who were planning on sharing the ‘Author Central’ link so that they had the correct link, and had set the dogs on the one star review lady!  She contacted those who had gotten ARC of the book and asked them to immediately leave their reviews on Amazon to help counteract the effects of negative review.
She took a situation that I was simply unable to handle and flipped it in a matter of a half hour. This alone was worth the cost of her fee, as I’m sure my husband wouldn’t have known what to do with me!

The point of this story is … well there are several points.
First, you can’t do it all yourself. I suppose you could try, but the emotion drain it would case it not good for the creative juices of an author.
Second, do your homework. If you are going to look into some help, don’t only get references from that PR or blog, but also ask people in the author community. Obviously someone is going to give you the references of their unhappy clients. That’s why asking other authors is so important.

Third, get yourself a PA/PR already. Do you know how much time and stress you save by letting someone else handle it for you?  If you haven’t noticed, I highly recommend Jennifer. Mind you I don’t want her getting so busy that she doesn’t have time for me… but I think she can handle it!

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