The female is breathing fire while also sad. Fish are delicate creatures, and when living in an apartment complex, stuff sometimes happens. This week, the stuff was some chemical or contaminant in the apartment’s water system.
Safe enough for humans, lethal for fish. All of her fish passed away within several days of each other following their last water change. (It was not illness; she immediately started medicinal treatments at the first symptom, which did mimic an actual fish illness. But then the psychological symptoms kicked in, which made it clear it was likely a toxicological reason for their sickness.)
Until she can figure out a solution to the changes in the water supply, which are still toxic for fishies, she will be adding a plant to the team, and we will, moving forward, become the Furred & Frond Management.
We expect the plant to be a mouthy little asshole, although we’e hopeful it won’t rise up from its pot to kill us all.
As someone asked this on facebook, I’d like to take a moment to address how fish, human-potable water, and toxicology works.
What’s safe for humans to drink is often not safe for fish. For example, fish require minerals and nutrients in the water we don’t necessarily require as we can get it from other sources. (This is also why fish in low-water areas may develop a major buildup of mercury! They absorb a lot from the water.)
Chlorine, in particular, is something humans tolerant post treatment but fish absolutely cannot. (Fish keepers have special chemicals we use to keep their water chlorine and heavy metal clean! And yes, they were receiving this at every water change.)
To human eyes, nose, and tongue, there had been no changes to the water.
But something was in the water, something the treatments to clean their water for them didn’t address.
In the fish world, this is also known as a “Well, shit!”
(The female been raising fish since she was old enough to walk, and “Well, shit!” moments have littered her entire life. I’m sad, because these were pets the female was responsible for, but it wasn’t her fault. She changed nothing, and the treatments and conditioners can only do so much. This is life, and life blows sometimes.)
The female is trying to decide what sort of plant she wishes to terrorize now, but she’s considering getting an LED plant light and a bonsai.
It’s out! It’s finally out! Bailey & Quinn’s adventures continue in Burn, Baby, Burn: a Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count.)
Grab your copy now! You know you want it. It has shenanigans and napalm.
You know you want it.
Be a star! A purple star, like the one on this little ad! Be a sttaaarr! Also, read today.
When the book does well, I get extra treats! This is evidenced by the four huge tubs of temptations the human ordered this week! They arrived yesterday.
We have to finish our current tub, but she got us four flavors! We’re loved! We’re loved!
She also got me new balls! But she isn’t letting me have them yet. Apparently, it’s her birthday on Thursday and not mine, so I have to wait to receive my new balls until my birthday, which is in mid June. But I saw them! I’m getting ten new balls for my birthday!
And, to help convince you that you really want to get this book, here is a new snippet for your enjoyment!
The universe hated me. A light dusting of snow ensured the roads would be hell by the time we escaped New York. I barely eased Quinn’s convertible to a halt before Perkette slid into the vehicle, wrinkling her nose. Since she knew I wouldn’t even think about putting the vehicle into gear until she buckled up, she grabbed her seatbelt and clipped it into place.
“This officially sucks,” she announced.
“Good thing we’re headed to Vegas, then. Does Vegas ever get cold?” I hoped not. I already shivered, and I had the heat in the convertible blasting.
“Hell if I know. Think you can handle some snow as a unicorn?”
“Will it kill me? No. Will I kill you for making me? Very probably. Someone better be dying before I deal with snow as a unicorn.”
The Furred & Finned Management hopes you enjoyed the little teaser! For those who have already gotten Burn, Baby, Burn, thank you! You rock and are made of awesome.
As the female likes to say, Happy Reading, folks!
It’s official. The female is a filthy liar. She signed a contract this week to have Storm Called turned into an audiobook. It should be produced and releasing later this year. But, it’s getting done despite her saying hell no.
She has also signed a contract for Burn, Baby, Burn, Blending In, and Hypnos. She figured if she’s going to go in, she may as well go all in and see what happens. Maybe good things?
Audiobooks, dear human, are vexing to the female and wrought with peril.
But she’s doing them.
Last but not Leashed is the next audiobook project scheduled to release, and it should be within a month. We’ll be upfront about this, humans: there were issues with this one. As it’s unprofessional to go into the nature of the issues, we’re just going to leave it at that and hope for the best.
We have a new male narrator for the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series, and we hope this makes everything move forward better in the future.
Onto the teaser! This is from Burn, Baby, Burn, which releases next week. We think all of the humans should preorder, as when the female celebrates, we get extra love and a lot of treats. We like treats, so we need to make sure she celebrates extra next week.
We demand treats, humans.
My phone beeped, and I glanced at the device. While Bailey often messaged me to reassure herself, she usually waited longer than ten minutes. Our morning routine hadn’t changed; she’d crawled out of bed with the same general liveliness of a half-dead slug while I’d kept a close eye on her until she finished her shower. Rewarding her with kisses for restoring her base ability to function had earned me a hefty dose of her contentment.
All in all, she’d been more energetic than usual.
“You may as well pull over, Sam. I know that’s Bailey’s text tone. If you don’t, you’ll fret.”
Some days, partnering with Perkins gave me a headache. “Why am I driving you to work again?”
“Tiffany wanted to move to Queens, I don’t have a cruiser today, and she wanted the car. As you’re so compassionate—and you didn’t want me to be late getting to work—you agreed to drive me in. Just pull over before she calls—or decides to take the convertible for a joy ride and tail you today.”
She would. She’d done it twice, and it amazed me that my car had survived. The third time, I’d endured her at her worst, running around a late fall Manhattan on four hooves, determined to make certain I stayed out of trouble. Cindercorns didn’t handle cold weather well, and she’d about scared the life out of me after reversing back to human. It had taken hours for her to warm back up, and she’d suffered from symptoms of hypothermia for several days before recovering.
Her ability to attract catastrophe sent me to work early to do a sweep of the neighborhood. I never found any trouble, but I felt better for putting in the effort. Once I checked to make certain I couldn’t see the house, I pulled into someone’s driveway to check my phone.
A ten item wish list waited for me, and every request puzzled me. “I love my wife, but she’s a little weird sometimes, Perkins.”
~ Wasn’t that little tidbit fun? But, I do think Quinn is deserving of an understatement of the year award. Sometimes is not the word I would have used there, Mr. Quinn.
‘All of the time’ or ‘she’s breathing, so she’s weird’ would work. Also, we of the Furred & Finned Management fully believe Quinn needs to check the dictionary for the meaning of the world ‘little.’
As for other news, the female is diving into the cave of doom and destruction to work on Bonds.
She will also be scheming how to make the fun little Vampire book do its thing.
Last but not least, the Furred & Finned Management would like to take a moment to inform you the world did not end, books did not magically sell in vast quantities overnight, and that life seems exactly as she left it yesterday despite USA Today listing.
(We knew this would happen. We are just confirming for the curious out there.)
Have a great day, humans! We must now force the human to do some actual work and write books. If she doesn’t, we’d have to fire her, and that would be a bad thing.
P.S.: Ignore any of our typos. According to the female, it’s ‘too early in the morning to do jack shit.’ To which we replied, “Shut up and go to work.”
Thank you so much, readers! We are absolutely thrilled. This means we get treats!
Also, good job, human! Now, feed us our treats like we’re owed. No, I don’t care that you already gave us some treats today. We want more.
The female is very tired right now, and she’s used most of her energy refreshing USA Today’s website hoping and wishing and holding her breath… but hooray! Squee!
Tomorrow, life will go back to mostly normal. Mostly. I mean, this is the female we’re talking about here. She’s not really all that normal to begin with.
As she has leftover budget, and the male has ordered she use her budget (because it was given to her for a reason,) she is going to be trying to learn ads on bookbub this week and next week. She’s not expecting much of anything, truth be told, but it’ll be a good learning experience!
As she can’t, for the life of her, figure out how to make Bookbub ads work in her favor, she hired Melissa Storm to help teach her the ropes. She’s using a course Melissa wrote along with some help directly from Melissa due to being unable to actually watch the videos. Most people will be able to watch the videos and won’t need the extra help, but the female is slightly defective and has a very hard time with videos.
But, that said, the written material the female can use has been educative, and she’s starting to learn stuff. We’ll report back later with how it goes.
We, honestly, are expecting an unmitigated disaster, as that’s what usually happens when the female is learning something new.
Note: the female has a special hire arrangement with Melissa specifically because of her visual input issues, so the course experience will be different from you–the female is very sad she can’t do the videos very well. View it as having to compensate for a handicap. (Which it basically is, of the anxiety sort.)
Anyway, moving on!
Happy reading, humans, and thank you so much for your support. It means a lot to us!!
Normality can resume! Hooray! The human is very happy about this, as she hasn’t written hardly a thing in the past week. She’s itching to get back to what she likes doing the most: writing!
The stats from the vendors are in, and it looks like all of them should be reporting, which is thrilling! So exciting!
Her spend was scary, as on Saturday evening, the male human scolded the female for not spending more of her budget. So, she did this thing and spent more of her budget.
Total spent, rounded up for sake of sanity: $16,500. (Approximately $2.24 per US sale.)
Total USA Today qualifying sales: 7,374.
Total sales: 8,238.
Note: as the investments / tallies this week were for USA Today qualifying sales, that’s what the female used for giveaway purposes. (We love our international readers, but the goal was to try her bestest to hit this list with a book (or in this case, books) from the series.
As of this point, unless vendors don’t report, which we have seen happen, she has a very solid chance of listing!
She’s over the moon with excitement.
But first, there’s a few people the female would like to thank.
On the business side of things: my editor(s) and proofreaders: these books couldn’t happen without you.
To Melissa Storm: Thank you for spending the time to teach me your method of how to run blitz sales campaigns! I know we use different methods now, but your tutoring and help with one of my failed runs was hugely helpful! I learned a great deal from you, which made a big difference in being able to refine my personal method.
To those people I kept bugging in chat this week: thank you for your patience. (Cat, Erin, the poor editor lady… I’m looking at you.)
Finally, to the readers out there: thank you.
Without you, this had 0% chance of happening. Thank you for giving my books a shot. Thank you for sharing with your friends. Thank you for reading.
RJ here, as the felines have decided it is nap time. (Nap time happens after ‘get humans out of bed time.’) Let’s just say my kidneys have been thoroughly tenderized by rambunctious calico this morning.
While I am really hoping the set hits the list on Wednesday, I’m super happy with how well this worked out.
I’d been hoping to barely squeak by with 5,000 US sales. 7,374 far, far surpassed my expectations–and I didn’t spend the entirety of my budget.
Alas, according to the husband, I must spend more of my budget, but I will do that the week Burn, Baby, Burn releases. With some extra help from Melissa, I’m going to attempt to master the elusive bookbub ads. (The paid variety, not the featured deal variety.)
I’m not convinced my husband hasn’t been replaced by an alien, but the alien is a cool alien.
But all in all, this week surpassed my expectations in so many ways.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I hope the posts the cats have made on my behalf have been useful to you. Authors (and readers…) If you follow my personal profile on facebook, I occasionally do ‘Ask me Anything’ segments. This is the best place to find out more about how I function as a writer or ask general questions.
It’s also where to go for some daily doses of insanity.
Now, it’s back to the grind. Time to get back in the saddle and figure out how to do the writing thing since I’ve spent a full week monitoring and fussing with ads. (And stressing.)
Oh, as promised, this is the worst performing ad at $4.25 a click. (I spent $4.25 on that single click before turning off the ad.)
Ironically, I later duplicated that ad, and it became one of my top performers. I changed the header to “Final 24 hours of sale! $27.93 in books for $0.99.”
In future, I definitely need to make sure I do a final 24 hours of sale ad set, because they worked so much better than I anticipated.
Here’s the ad.
We’ve had requests to know more about how you can help with the human’s sale efforts.
As such, we’re taking a quick moment to write this note for you with how you can help!
On your social media venue of choice, post about the sale.
Here are the links:
Tell them the sale ends soon (End of day Sunday, May 5, 2019.)
The bundle is a value of $27.93 for $0.99.
You can also say the cute kitties would really appreciate it.
Thank you, humans!
Please enjoy this picture of me devouring the female’s flesh. She’s delicious.
Thank you so much for bearing with us this week. We love you. As of sometime this after, the human had counted 5,100 US sales and change from her ad efforts this week.
As of now, all ads have been turned off. Whatever happens happens. She’s tired. (We are, too. It’s hard managing a human who is hard at work.)
So, what’s next?
Burn, Baby, Burn releases May 14. If you haven’t preordered, please do so–or buy opening week. Right now, she has approximately 2,000 preorders. That’s not enough to list, but she’s over the moon because 2,000 sales is what she hopes for at the end of opening week for it to count as a success in her eyes.
She’s already hit that number! Glorious day!
Enjoy this pretty picture of a unicorn the human licensed to represent Bailey. With a little less fire than expected, but it’s still a super pretty unicorn.
This is from Chapter One, and we hope it entices you into clicking the preorder button. As I’m a thieving cat, you’ll just have to hope that I stole from the right file and didn’t just send you rough draft material. I’m a cat. I do things like that because it entertains me. I also spend an obscene amount of time perfectly arranging my fur because I’m just that fabulous.
Approximately four months following the events of Playing with Fire…
I loved Quinn, but if I didn’t get a full night of sleep soon, someone would die. I gave it even odds on which one of us would bite the bullet. I’d either expire from his drive to prove he was the perfect man, or I’d snap, pop a few transformatives, and shove my horn so far up his ass it would take a surgeon to separate us.
Come hell or high water, I’d enjoy a full eight hours of sleep. No, I’d enjoy twelve, not my current three to four. Not only would I enjoy my rest, I’d have a great time securing it, too.
Quinn loved the chase. It made him feel important, feeding his ego and adding extra spring in his step. The smug incubus-in-disguise didn’t need any more damned spring in his step. He needed to be sedated, tucked into bed, and used as a quiet but sexy pillow.
Damn it. That was the entire issue.
Neither one of us had an off switch, and Quinn viewed it as his personal mission in life to fill my every craving. The months since our haphazard marriage had changed nothing.
When he walked into the room, my panties spontaneously combusted.
I checked out the bedroom window to make certain he’d taken his cruiser to work. He had.
The snow would screw with my plans for a while, but I’d make do. I wouldn’t use my stash of transformatives until I reached somewhere a lot warmer and dryer. I’d eliminate Las Vegas from my bucket list first. If my tall, dark, and handsome failed to find me there, I’d head to California.
All I needed to do was confirm my partner-in-crime still wanted to haul ass across the United States. Using the day-old phone I’d purchased with cash, I called Tiffany.
She answered on the second ring. “Your man’s cruising your block, and he’s got mine in the car with him. If we want to bust out of this joint sometime today, you need to encourage them to leave. Why does he insist on prowling your block for twenty minutes every damned morning?”
“The same reason there are transformatives stashed in every room in the house, Perkette. It’s also the same reason he ripped out a perfectly good fireplace and installed a new one. He’s insane.”
“Bailey, we’ve talked about this before. He’s not insane. He loves you. Now, go text him on your other phone and give him the list of things we picked for clues. After you’re done, we’ll wait for your chief to pull over, read your message, and head to work. If all goes to plan, he’ll be distracted by your requests and fail to notice anything amiss.”
However much it pained me to admit it, Tiffany was right. Whenever I asked for anything, Quinn went overboard catering to me. I sighed. “He’s worse than a puppy.”
“It’s so difficult handling a loving man. Mine needs some excitement in his life, too. That’s what we’re doing. We’re giving them some excitement for Christmas.”
“Or signing up for a divorce.”
“The cretins need the time off anyway. If it takes them two weeks to find us, they obviously need to brush up on their detective skills. Have you sent him the list yet?”
“Working on it, working on it,” I muttered, pulling up the note I’d meticulously typed out, copying it to a text message. “He’s going to think I’ve lost my mind. Who asks for an indoor rose plant, not for eating? I had to specify, Perkette. If I don’t, he gets too much. Last time, he bought three dozen roses, and he made certain they were food quality.”
“You specified the color, right? That’s important.”
“Yes, yes. I specified eleven orange roses, not for eating, and I indicated I’d like to plant them outside eventually. I also asked for a single red rose, too. Also not for eating.”
“You have to admit you have issues with his rose bushes, Bailey.”
“I have issues, period.”
I sighed. “Do you think he’ll figure it out?”
“Maybe your man will need help, but mine is a mad scientist freak with a puzzle fetish. They’ll be fine. Just make sure you’re ready to roll and read from the script if he calls you on the house line.”
I texted that I had work to do and would have my phone off for a while before I killed the device and tossed it under the couch for safekeeping. “I told him I had work.”
His inability to reach me would drive him home right on time, which would begin the hunt, as he’d begin searching for me within five minutes of discovering I’d given him the slip.
I hoped he liked the effort I’d put into wrapping his first clue, an old Elvis vinyl and a record player for his enjoyment.
“Phone is off. I’m about to stage the box. Did Perky leave your car in the garage this morning?”
“I already parked it in the neighbor’s garage and gave her the keys. Your man’s baby will be safe. Don’t forget the card or your bag.”
“And definitely don’t forget the saddle, bridle, or transformatives.”
“I won’t. Have they left yet?”
“No, but Mr. Police Chief just pulled into a driveway around the corner from your house. If he heads to work, we’ll know he’s taken the bait.”
How had I let Perkette talk me into her special brand of insanity?
Oh, right. I missed sleep.
We hope you have enjoyed the sample!
Now, onto the next thing.
Bonds, a Royal States Novel, is coming in July! Hooray! You can preorder it here.
The human is having a great time with this, and gets to climb into the saddle starting Monday for a full-time ride on this delicious book!
This is completely unedited drivel. Please ignore the typos, grammar oddities, and all uses of her creative license.
She’s absolutely not sorry.
Note: the author is very sorry that she’s sorta screwing with the Royal States timeline. Cold Flame, Runaway, and a few other books actually happen at around / before / slightly after Bonds in the timeline, but the human will be very careful to avoid spoiling anything from those titles.
The only potential ‘spoil’ for those stories is the name and number of the Rabbits of Montana’s children.
Shh, don’t tell them I said that. They might go after the human next.
We hope you enjoy the insanity.
One day, I might understand why I enjoyed jumping out of helicopters during squalls. I checked my harness for the third time since strapping in. As soon as I was a safe distance above the water, I’d release my line and go for a swim. As it so often happened, it was too dangerous to launch a diver from the nearby rescue ship waiting to pick up the crew of the oil tanker that had run aground on rocks off the French coast. The sheen of oil on the waves below complicated the already complicated rescue.
My first job would be to plug the leaks and keep the tanker from polluting even more of the water. Once I had the holes plugged, I’d board and organize the crew until they could be safely retrieved from the floundering ship.
The ship listed enough she’d go under in time; the rocks, a well-charted menace the captain should’ve avoided in the first place, kept them afloat. With each wave threatening to tear the monster ship from its haphazard perch, I wouldn’t have much time to work.
I hated when my magic became the first and last defense during a dangerous rescue. The storm turned the afternoon dangerously dark, and it wouldn’t be long until I was forced to use my magic to illuminate our rescue efforts.
I wanted to give the captain a piece of my mind for endangering the crew and the rescue team stuck bailing their irresponsible asses out.
I eyed the water again while waiting for the pilot to get the helicopter into position, close enough to the ship I’d be able to work my magic, far enough from the ship a rogue wave wouldn’t smash me into the hull. Any other dive, I would have worn flippers into the water to make swimming easier, but if I needed to board the ship, they’d get in the way.
I missed my flippers already.
With so much crude in the water already, without my magic protecting me, me and my gear would be in serious trouble. Crude oil could be volatile in many ways, depending on the type of crude. I wouldn’t know if I dealt with thicker, tar-like sludge or a lighter gas until I got into the water.
To add to the fun, a single spark could ruin my day—and light the nearby ocean on fire.
I’d gotten that lecture a few times already. Under normal working operations, fire risks on a tanker were low, but once oxygen in the air could mix with the crude’s fumes, things could go wrong in a hurry.
“I’m in position. Ready, Jack?” the pilot, Louis, asked, his French accent so thick I struggled to understand him. My French was so bad everyone on the team took pity on me, using English when they needed me for something.
The rest of the time, I pretended I understood what the hell they were saying. Learning more languages was on my to-do list, but every time I settled in to learn something, someone needed me to jump out of a helicopter to rescue a floundering vessel.
Most of the time, I loved my job. I loved knowing I saved lives. I even loved flinging myself out of various aircraft.
Today, however, I wanted a new job. No one sane wanted to enter oil-polluted waters with monstrous white-capped waves ready to pound me into a smear against the hull of the dying ship.
Then again, if I quit my job as a search and rescue diver, I’d have to return to the Royal States of America, which was on the top of my ‘over my dead body’ list.
It might really be over my dead body if I didn’t do everything just right when I entered the water.
I checked my mask again, as if I lost it, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the helicopter and the rest of the rescue team. Once certain I wouldn’t lose it along with my oxygen tank, I replied, “Oui.”
My limited French usually made the team laugh. Beyond a basic yes, I could cuss like a champ and ask where the bathroom was. After trying to order a drink and getting a fish instead, I’d given up pretending I had any idea what I was doing.
A rapid conversation conducted in French filled my ears, but I’d been on enough dives with the team to know the pilot was giving the basic instructions to the rest of the team, who’d handle the wench and be prepared for when I released the line and went into the water.
The first time I’d released my line and dove into stormy seas with a small oxygen tank, the entire crew had about shit their pants until they remembered I used a blend of illumination and waveweaving magic. Unless knocked unconscious, my chances of drowning was slim to none. Add in my minor airweaving talent, which allowed me to refresh my oxygen tank without needing to surface, and I made the perfect rescue diver.
No one needed to know I wasn’t actually a borderline elite. Borderline elite put me one step below the elite class, and I’d made certain to leave the Royal States before I could be evaluated again.
Being above average worked well for me.
My real rank, elite class or better, would’ve dumped me directly into a political nightmare. Before I could get sucked into worrying about what would happen if I had to return to the Royal States, the rest of the team finished their final checks and gave the okay for me to slide out of the helicopter.
I descended until I was only a few feet from the crashing waves. After eyeing the roll of the waves, I waved to indicate I was ready, released my line, and plunged in the water.
More French, probably confirming I was in the water, blasted into my ears. I ignored the chatter and submerged, swimming for the ship. In the eyes of most, my illumination talent wasn’t worth writing home about. Unlike the truly powerful illuminators, I couldn’t become a living lighthouse capable of guiding ships safely to harbor.
I could, however, flood the ocean with a gentle light, which worked well for my needs. My magic exposed a gaping hole in the vessel.
“The breach in the hull is at least ten meters long, starboard stern,” I reported before approaching, eyeing the ship until I found a suitable handhold. “There’s enough crude leaking out I need to get it back in the ship before this shit hits shore.”
We’d gotten lucky; the waves were mostly keeping the oil near the ship, but it would be a matter of time before the rocks and the ship itself no longer protected the rest of the ocean from the mess. I closed my eyes so I could concentrate, getting a feel for the churning water and the crude polluting it.
If we got lucky, it’d be a lighter gas, which would evaporate quickly and do minimal damage to the environment. Light gasses and oils registered as an oily warmth feathering over my skin, expressing its more volatile nature.
The cold, sticky sensation clinging to me promised I had a heavier, toxic crude on my hands, and I’d be pushed to the limits of my skill dealing with it. Worse, it was a mixed blend, and at first glance, it hadn’t been blended well. On second though, I suspected the tanker carried at least two crude batches, one possibly partially refined. It was also possible it was just one of those batches of oil that couldn’t quite decide if it was a heavy or a light crude. That left me with one viable candidate for the origin of the oil: OPEC liked trying to control the market, and its suppliers, mostly from the Middle East, would often flood the market with their crude if the prices got out of hand to make certain demand didn’t die out due to price increases.
It just wouldn’t do if safer, cleaner alternatives were pursued due to economic factors.
“Likely an OPEC Basket mixed shipment,” I finally reported. “It’s a huge spill, so I’m going to get as much of it back in the tanker as possible and plug the hole. Flag the wreck as critical. This shit is toxic.”
“It’s toxic. It’s heavy enough if I don’t get this back into the tanker where it belongs, say goodbye to France’s nice beaches for a few years.”
A chorus of French curses blasted my ears, and once they started chattering to each other, likely cursing the Middle Eastern oil trade, I began the tedious and exhausting process of pulling the crude oil back to the ship where it belonged. At the same time, I began encasing the tanker’s hull and the rock it perched on in ice.
The ice might help keep the ship afloat for a little while longer. Maybe.
We’d find out soon enough.
Liked it? Click herrreee~
Being serious, you don’t need to have read any of the other Royal States novels to enjoy Bonds. Any old characters are introduced to poor Jack as they go, and his story doesn’t touch very much onto the rest of the world–too much, that is.
Now, last but not least! The female got this really cool link she wants to share with you. It’s a page that has carousels of all her books in one easy place! Not sure if you’ve read all of her books? That’s the place to go to check!
Happy reading, folks, and we hope you enjoyed the first scenes of Burn, Baby, Burn and Bonds!
The female (still) isn’t supposed to be drinking coffee, but she’s been mainlining it this week. Between a serious case of tired, annoying mouth stitches of doom, and more excitement and stress than any sentient needs, it’s mandatory. Just like me investigating the new box of toys the human provided yesterday was mandatory.
These ones are still my favorite, and she buys them in bulk from Chewy.com. Chewy’s the best! The female goes onto the glowy clickie box, hands them currencies, and they send me toys!
I have more than thirty of these toys now, and they are all mine because they are my favorite.
So. As I’ve taken over the blog to talk about the female’s sales drive this week, we’re going to do that again! This time, I’m going to focus on cost-effective advertising methods. This is for those who want to start fiddling with ads and don’t know where to begin–and want to make money doing it.
As explained before, the female is doing a “loss lead” campaign. This means she’s going in knowing she’s spending more than she’s earning to reach new readers. The point of a loss lead campaign isn’t to make money–it’s to connect with readers who want to read her stuff.
The other type of advertising is a ROI-centric campaign. ROI stands for “Return on Investment,” and ROI is king when you’re trying to make money.
ROI campaigns are challenging. Most authors don’t have sufficient tools to track the productivity of their clicks. Even when you use affiliate tracking, Amazon prunes out any leads they feel came from friends, family, or acquaintances. (This is especially easy for them to do on facebook, as facebook and Amazon share user data. Please note that anything you click, look at, or otherwise investigate on Amazon does get reported to facebook for advertising purposes. It’s near to impossible to shut off, and it will color your advertising efforts as an author.)
That’s okay, though. Why? This data is what makes you able to advertise to actual readers.
Here’s how it works:
Reader Bob goes onto Amazon and buys 25 fantasy novels, 5 science fiction novels, and 1 romance novel. Reader Bob has now been entered into facebook’s algorithms as liking these things. It also recognizes he really likes fantasy novels, and will be a valuable target to authors who write fantasy novels.
When you set up an ad, and you select fantasy as a target category, your ad will appear to him.
Otherwise, you would be stuck advertising blindly to random people–people who might not even like books! (Yeah, I know. That thought makes us sad, too.)
So, I’m going to showcase one of the best performing ads for volume and for cost. Ironically, while advertising was open to men and women, women clicked on this ad so much more than we expected.
The distribution was 75% men and 25% women. It’s worth noting that she does not usually target men because the female writes romance-heavy books; their clicks tend to be far more expensive. So, this ad was shown to a high number of people who hadn’t seen her books before.
The ad worked out to $0.26 per click. Here’s what the demographic breakdown looks like:
So, you’ve seen what the ad actually looks like, you’ve seen the demographics. Why did this ad work? Well, sex sells, I guess–despite there not being any actual sex within the pages of the female’s books.
That leads us to why this ad set actually did well. The image and the creative were important… but the targeting is the real reason it performed.
Here’s a peek at the targeting she used.
Using market research that she hired her PA to do for her, the female created this list. It consists of three tiers. In tier 1, she defines readers in bulk. This is anything to do with e-reader devices, reading, and so on.
Next, she only wanted people who liked humor or romantic comedies, so she narrowed the audience.
Then, to make certain she’s hitting people who are interested in speculative fiction, she used her market research data, which consists of about 1,000 spec fic authors, the vast majority of them writing urban fantasy or paranormal romance. There are some other authors sprinkled in that may or may not work, but for her purposes, they worked fantastically.
For this specific list, she left off most of the broad keywords, instead using mostly author names for refinement.
This worked out to a pool of 14,000,000 readers, with a shocking number of them men. This ad was made with men in mind, but the human was very pleasantly surprised by how well it worked.
Targeting is critical. If you advertise to the wrong people, you are wasting your money. When the female does reader outreach campaigns, like the one with this set, she wants to hit the highest number of readers possible while still focusing on decent targeting. In ROI campaigns, the more specific you can get, the better off you are. Smaller advertising pools can help you get better leads for the purpose of cheap sales. (The issue with this lies in volume. You can get a really good ROI campaign, but you’ll only get a handful of sales per day on a good day.)
That’s fine. It’s cost efficient, and you may earn new readers more efficiently that way, but it will be a very slow and long battle. Volume is more expensive, but you can reach a substantial number of interested readers who may become buyers later.
The trick with advertising of any sort is the long game.
How much can you spend and still make a profit down the road if your books are good enough to make people want to continue reading?
Not all books are created equal, and if you’re able to get the first sales but you aren’t enticing the readers to continue reading, as the author, you need to evaluate what you’re doing wrong.
If you’re targeting to the wrong audience, your book could be great but it’s in the wrong hands.
Or you may need to go back to the drawing table and work on improving your writing. (And in reality? Working on improving your writing is a process that never ends. The great writers go into every book wondering how they can make this one even better than the last.)
The female creates lovely little mental breakdowns for herself worrying about this stuff all the time. There is a fine line between “wanting to improve” and “slaughtering the book through unnecessary editing in the quest for improvement.”
There’s also a line between “wanting to improve” and “no longer telling the story you wish to tell for the sake of the almighty dollar.”
The female often writes books she just doesn’t think will work well on the market, but she loves the story, so she writes it anyway. Even knowing there will be readers who just won’t like it because it wasn’t written for the market, it was written for herself.
Any time you do advertising for a book, it’s important to remember there are so many factors at play in earning a sale. The cover has to attract the reader. The description needs to lure them into checking the sample. The sample needs to engage them. Only then will they buy.
And it begins with your first impression, your ad.
In her past experiences, while the CPC is higher, she finds ads with snippets of the writing and a related, textless picture work the best at landing the actual sale.
They clicked after being exposed to your writing style, and they’ve already decided they’re intrigued by what they’ve seen.
Most people will wander off. At a $0.26 CPC rate and a $1.99 cost per US sale rate, that’s a 1 in 7.6 conversion rate approximately. (The female wanted her ads to be between 20-30 cents during this campaign, so using the 0.26 CPC figure for estimates is fairly legitimate.)
This means that for every 7.6 people to click the link, 1 purchased.
Some may have downloaded samples to decide if they want to buy later, too. That’s always a possibility.
As of this point in time, the female has spent approximately $11,000 across all advertising networks for a grand total of 5,024 US sales. That’s $2.18 per sale. (SQUEE.)
She hit her basic numbers (close enough!!) for her acquisitions; some sales were more expensive than others. The only ads she’s running at this point are the really cost-effective ones, which will (hopefully) bring the total cost per sale down.
It’s worth it to the female. She really wants to reach many new readers and continue to build her career.
In reality, if 500 of these readers go on to become fans, she will consider this to be a screaming success. It’s not about the profit in the short term. It’s about finding the low number of people who love her style of books. That’s the entire point of advertising: to reach those readers who will love what you write as much as you loved writing it.
The female is looking to start new relationships with more readers–hopefully readers who will begin to trust her to entertain them every new release.
Decide for yourself how much a new reader is worth. The female picked $2 because there is a decent chance enough people will buy at least one book to cover the cost of the advertising campaign. Will 5,000 people buy another book? Bloody unlikely!
That’s okay, though. Over time, her efforts will pay off. It just might take a few months–or a few years–for that to happen.
And the female? She’s okay with that.
She whole-heartedly welcomes those of you who are reading her books for the first time, and we hope that you have a blast.
The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Starter Pack will be on sale for $0.99 until Sunday.
Edit: Human can’t math. Human’s math has been corrected. See note about needing coffee.
As of 8:13 AM PST, the female has sold 4,178 books in the US that qualify for USA Today. In total, she’s sold 5,299 copies of the book.
For 3 days and 8 hours of work, this is fucking incredible. She’s over the moon with delight. As she’s mentioned before, while listing on a solo effort is a dream of hers, the real goal here is to reach a lot of new readers–and hopefully be able to continue working on the Magical Romantic Comedy series on a more reliable level.
It’s not without downside. Pirates have been having a field day with the set, but she’s trying not to think too hard about the readers who want everything for free. (Please, go to your local library and request the books. The set is available in hardcopy, which your library can order for you. It’s also available in several large digital library systems.)
You can still read for free while supporting the authors who work hard to entertain you.
(Also, it’s becoming more evident that pirates are embedding viruses into the files they’re spreading, so all you’re doing is putting your computer at risk when you download books illegally. Did you really believe pirates are stealing material out of their kindness of their own hearts? Seriously. They’re trying to make money off of you, be it through ad views or ransomeware.)
The human, while sighing over this unfortunate reality, is dealing with it. There’s muttering. So much muttering. Curses are sprinkled throughout the muttering.
She’ll be all right. She understood this would happen going into this venture.
It just particularly sucks when the pirates go after something that’s $0.99, especially when the books within the set are worth ~$28.
Insert image of childish temper tantrum here.
At current, she has spent ~$8,900 to sell 5,299 books, which is $1.67 a book! This is below her target goal per acquisition! (Yes, that’s not for USA Today qualifying books, but while the human does what to list as a consequence of her efforts, she loves her readers wherever they’re from.)
It has cost her $2.13 per US reader, which is over what her hoped for $2 per sale figure was, but this is still delightful, and the human is very happy!
Where does she go now from here?
Into the slow swan dive of decline, alas.
While she still has budget, she’s not going to blow out funds unnecessarily. So, today, she begins the hard work of honing ads. All ads over $0.30 per click have been turned off. Any ads that creep over that amount face the same fate.
To try to work towards optimizing her ads, she’s taking the opportunity to reuse all the ads she turned off, lowering their spend substantially, and allowing them to run. The ones that hit into her target goals of below $0.30 a click will stay. The rest will go.
After this batch, there won’t be any new ads created.
So, the goal at this point is to get 700 US sales between now and Sunday evening. That should give her enough sales to qualify for listing without blowing through her excess budget.
Assuming she spends every penny she currently has allotted to ads, she will spend her entire $20,000 budget. (Yes, that’s nuts. There’s over $11,000 worth in queued ads to test out right now. Yes, yes, yes, that’s insane.)
But if she can get the cost per sales down to the $2 mark for that entire ad spend, it was money well spend and a promise made, promise kept.
It won’t happen. What will happen is that 50% of the ads she loaded in for the final half of the week will flop out of the gate with only $5-10 spent. This is how ads work.
You test something, find out if it works. You test it again, because especially on facebook, an ad that doesn’t work one day will do incredibly well the next. Then you test it again, because facebook ad system can be dumb.
The female can’t even with facebook ads sometimes. Once, she kept trying this one dumb ad, and for the most part, it kept hovering around the $0.25 CPC mark. She reloaded it for like the fifth time, changing nothing, ad dropped to $0.09 CPC and stayed there for hundreds of dollars of spend.
It can happen. But it sometimes means you have to test ads over and over and over, and you have to be willing to risk some money to figure out what sort of ads might work when the stars align.
By the way, if you get an ad that does work, change nothing. You can increase your budget, but it’ll stop working as well. ALL ads stop working as well over time. That’s how it works. But sometimes, you just get this one ad that is magical.
Love it when it happens.
I know some people are rolling their eyes over my allowed $0.30 CPC rating.
I am hunting for premium readers. They cost more money. I could get $0.03 CPC if I wanted to target readers globally. I don’t want to target readers globally. So, when you’re setting your goals, decide what kind of reader you want. Yes, you can get cheaper readers than what I target, but I am targeting readers who become buyers later. If your goal is pure ROI, you want to target anyone who will read your books.
I’m only targeting very specific American readers. This means my ads cost more money out of the gate.
The best I’ve ever had on a US ad campaign has been $0.09 CPC, and that’s on a premium, heavily restricted list.
Your mileage will vary.
Anyway, the female is really happy with her efforts, win or lose. Well, realistically, she’s already won. She started the week hoping to get 5,000 sales. (US Sales, but frankly, she’s taking the 5,299 total sales, strutting around the apartment like a lunatic, and taking it.)
One day, her true dream is to be able to do this with a new release. That is the real goal of her ventures and investing so heavily in the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series.
She wants to reach readers who enjoy her books and want to have fun adventures with her.
Will that happen? We’ll find out!
Stay tuned. At the end of the week, she will buckle down, sit down, and showcase off the best of the best for ads, the worst of the worst, and otherwise discuss the oddities that is book promotion on facebook.
Oh, were you wondering about her bookbub and AMS efforts?
She gave each site several thousand to play with, but she has no AMS or BookBub paid ads fu, so she’s spent pennies at either site.
Facebook and the BookBub Featured Deal has carried 99% of the weight of this venture.
I have included this somewhat grainy image for your enjoyment. Are we not majestic upon our throne?
So. My human, she made plans for today. They involved tweaking ads. They also involved building some new ads and showing you the results.
Facebook has opted not to review ads today, so she can’t tweak the ads or run in new ones. They sit in the “in review” status pool and sigh sadly.
So she, instead, has added budget to the decent ads, taken budget away from the poor performers, and sighs sadly, as pulling ads right now would be disastrous.
Momentum is difficult to get once it’s lost, and it’s easier to keep a sinking ship afloat than it is to raise it from the depths.
My human does not seem pleased with this analogy for some reason. Pft.
You haven’t sunk yet, little human, but I’m concerned for your wallet. It seems to be making little screaming noises.
Since we can’t do the ad tutorial like we intended, we will give you a status update instead:
USA Today qualifying Books Sold: 3,769.
Now, you may notice we haven’t brought Apple or Kobo into this.
It’s not that we don’t like those vendors. We do! But neither got a whole lot of sales yesterday when the BookBub feature deal dropped. We would need approximately 250 sales on each of those sites before they report. While we’d love love love that, we don’t know how to possibly reach that many people in the four or so days left before the qualifying window closes.
Barnes & Noble is essentially at the benchmark for reporting, but it could use a little bit more love.
Now, that said, if you feel like contributing to any or all of those vendors, you can. Here are the links:
I will sing you the not-so-sad song of our people in thanks.
Meooow, meow meeeoooowwww meow-meow-meow! Imagine me twirling, for I am twirling for you like a furry ballerina.
Now… the female bites her nails and watches her wallet burn because she can’t update ads on facebook due to technical difficulties.