Friday, July 29, 2011

A New Development

Question: If I unpublish my ebook will I lose all of my rankings and reviews?

Answer: Rankings? Tags?




When I logged in to check my ebooks yesterday (to confirm all was still well), I noticed that The Guardian's reviews were re-posted!

So I unpublished, uploaded the DRM-Free version, everything went well, and now . . . the old reviews are linked to the new version.


It took four additional days after the new book went live, but they're available! I plan to link this update to my original post. Because it is, in fact, A New Development.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Uploading New Versions of Old Ebooks and a Plug

I know I've been talking a lot about DRM and "unpublishing" things lately, and it's nice to know that, in the event of an emergency, you can remove an ebook fairly quickly. I also want to briefly mention, though, that you do NOT have to unpublish your book every time you want to make a change.

Did you spot a typo? Find a formatting error?

Don't Unpublish! All you have to do is make the changes in your document and upload the new file to your book link (this works for both BN and Amazon). Your book won't go off sale, and within 24-48 hours the new version will be posted.

That’s it! Make the changes, upload the new file to the ebook link, and BAM! The new file will replace the old. Problem solved.

In fact, now that the DRM issue is taken care of, I have no plans to unpublish anything ever again. Unless, you know, I decide to go all J. D. Salinger on you guys. . . . Delete my books and slip into obscurity.

Anyway. While I have a free moment, I also want to post a link to a project by David Gaughran. It's called Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should.

It's available through Amazon for $2.99, but it's also FREE on Dave's website.

This is an invaluable resource for any aspiring author. $2.99 is practically nothing, and I love when people support their Indies, but if it's too much, I hope you'll at least check out the free version (and then maybe buy one of Dave's ebooks as a "thank you" for all the hard work he put into it). 


I'm one of the 33 bestselling indie authors Dave contacted (and I'm so glad he did!) to share my story. My story: 75 agent rejections, now approaching 10k CMH ebooks sold since March, and 92 days in the Teen Top 100 (books + ebooks). 

I tried to be more eloquent than this in the book, though. You know how I love my fragments and commas.

Dave's blog, in general, is a fantastic resource for any writer, so I hope you'll check him out!


Monday, July 25, 2011


Hi Everyone!

I posted last week that I was working on a DRM-Free version of The Guardian. I wanted to give you an update and talk briefly about "unpublishing" an ebook.

Based on my limited research, I determined that my ebooks would be better served if I listed them as DRM-Free (you can read the full post here). Cross My Heart was published as DRM-Free from the onset, but The Guardian was not.

How do you get around this?

First of all, it's important to weigh the pros and cons. Previously, The Guardian had been selling 5-8 copies a day. Though it was published in December 2010, it has taken MUCH LONGER than Cross My Heart to take off. I was ranked and had a few reviews, but I ultimately decided that I was in a place where it wouldn't hurt *too much* to unpublish The Guardian and re-publish it DRM-Free.

When I was researching, though, there wasn't much out there on "unpublishing." The few cases I read mentioned "phantom" books linked to the author's account. The last thing I wanted was for The Guardian to be linked twice, and for one of the links to be corrupt. I didn't want to cause more problems for me or my readers.

HOWEVER, the unpublishing process went smoother than I ever could have imagined. On Friday night, I finished editing/formatting The Guardian (now with chapter/page breaks!) and uploaded it with the title THE GUARDIAN (NEW DRM-FREE VERSION). By Saturday, someone had already purchased it. Though it wasn't linked to my account, if you performed a direct search, you could access it.

By Sunday afternoon, both the DRM-Free and traditional versions were available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. At this point, I tested the samples, and went in and "unpublished" the old versions.

The two versions were temporarily linked on Amazon (so that you had to click on the first version to gain access to the DRM-Free one), but within two or three hours, the link vanished.

The original version is still available on my BN and Amazon "dashboards." For BN, it's listed as "off sale." On Amazon, it's in "draft" status.

It's incredibly easy to unpublish a book on these platforms, and even though I had two titles listed at the same time, I had no trouble getting the DRM-Free to replace the old version. (After this, I went in and changed the title, removing the "DRM-Free" notation.)

*DISCLAIMER* This doesn't mean that other people won't run into some kind of trouble. This is based on my experience only.

So . . . the Guardian ebook is now DRM-Free for your reading convenience. I did lose my ranking and reviews, but again, I felt the pros outweighed the cons. If you've read The Guardian and feel inclined, I'd love to start building them back up.  No pressure. Ever. :)

I'll be paying close attention to see if re-publishing The Guardian has any effect on future sales. 

In the meantime, we have two days left of Amazon's THE BIG DEAL sale. I bought the books I wanted; I hope you have, too. Now . . . I will be glad to see it go. 

Also, I'm still on pace to release VENDETTA the first week of August (fingers crossed).

*back to editing*


***Editing post to add that, four days later, the reviews for The Guardian returned***

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Few Developments

First, I am working on a DRM-free version of The Guardian. My goal is to get it posted by the weekend (fingers crossed). I actually found a few errors when I was reading through it again, which proves you should do as I say and not as I do and hire an editor. 
There's no way around DRM after you've published your book with it (see my full DRM post here), so here's the plan:

I'm going to publish the DRM-free version, and, after a few weeks, delete the old version. I'll lose my reviews and rankings, yes, so I will be starting from scratch. Since The Guardian hasn't quite taken off like Cross My Heart, I'd rather try this sooner than later, though.

Will it work? I have no idea, but I'll keep you posted if it does. Or doesn't. That way you know what to expect and whether or not to waste your time.

Second, I've seen an influx of British visitors on the blog lately. (waves!) My sales are picking up over there, and, as of this writing, Cross My Heart is on two bestseller lists. I also noticed, though, that my product tags have been shot to pieces. Cross My Heart is currently tagged with things like "paranormal romance" and "vampires."

Um, not even close. So I hope this recent influx isn't because you think I write about vampires. Not that there's anything wrong with vampires. I love them, actually, but (*spoiler alert*) neither Parker nor Jaden ARE vampires, so. . . . Yeah. That's that, apparently.

Finally, Amazon is hitting us again with a sale. I discussed what happened the last time they did this in my June Sales Report. I'm expecting similar results for the next seven days (a slip in both sales and rankings).  It's called "The Big Deal," and over 900 traditionally published books are on sale from $.99-$3.99. I scrolled through the offerings and found two YA novels I'm interested enough in to purchase, but it looks like this will be hanging over our heads until July 27.

Sales seem to be down across the board thanks to the summer doldrums (that's what I'm hearing, anyway). We'll see how things go this week, but this might be the first month where I've not broken my previous month's sales record.

I'm on pace to reach it, but it's going to come down to this Big Deal, I think.

We shall see. :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

YA Indie Spotlight: P. J. Hoover

Hi Everyone! 
I have another YA Indie Spotlight for you! Today, I'm pleased to feature P. J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

Piper's world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she's drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she's ever known.

Solstice is P.J. Hoover's debut YA novel and is the first front-list novel to be independently published by an Andrea Brown Literary Agency author.

P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.

"Filled with mystery, romance, and betrayal, P.J. Hoover's SOLSTICE provides a seductive mythological twist on the global warming crisis." --Joy Preble, author of Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted

"A fascinating blend of mythology, science fiction, and young passion. The plot, which is full of surprises, keeps you turning pages up to the end."

"An intense, romantic, adventurous ride through a modern world that is still controlled by the ancient Greek gods. A breathtaking page turner that leads the reader from a global warming crisis to the depths of hell. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. . . ."

Solstice is priced at $2.99 and is available for Kindle, Nook,
and through Smashwords.
You can visit P. J. on the web here and here. She tweets as @pj_hoover.

I hope you'll check her out!


Friday, July 15, 2011


Thank you guys SO MUCH for hanging in there while I'm wrapping up these edits. Between the day job and family obligations and writing/editing, blogging and tweeting have taken a back seat. I do want to drop in for a minute and leave you with something, though. 

The first chapter of Vendetta

I'm still aiming for the first week of August to release this story (the sequel to The Guardian). This is doable, providing I don't go in and rip the story apart in a fit of writer's angst. :)

So, without further ado, a teaser chapter just for you!

Have a fantastic weekend!



The alleyway is dark, too cool for a Southern summer night. At the end a streetlamp shines, but it refuses to brighten the cold, damp hollow between the brick buildings. I move swiftly through the fog, quietly down the length of the passage, pressing my hand against the rough, brick wall, feeling my way through the shadows. My steps, though light, trigger warning sounds. The snapping and jingling of shards of glass, pebbles crunching beneath my soles. I freeze, sucking in a breath and holding it, feeling my heart pound against my rib cage. One mistake, one wrong move, and it's over. 
          I shut my eyes tightly, replaying the vision in my mind again and again.
          They're here. I know it.
          When I open them, two figures pass into the light. One struggles against the other, against the arms binding his neck, stealing life from him, thrashing against his captor. I sprint through the alley, feet crashing against the pavement, splashing through thick puddles from earlier thunderstorms. The cuffs of my jeans are sodden and weighted. Heavy breaths rapid and violent in my ears. I move in, narrowing the distance between us. I stop at the edge of the sidewalk, pressing my body deep into the wall as I peek around the corner. 
          The road stretches empty between us, and thick clouds veil the night sky. There is no moon, no stars, the only light shining from the streetlamp overhead, casting cool blue shadows on the two men. The demon wraps his broad fingers around his victim's neck, lifting him off the ground.  
          This is it.
          Perspiration trembles along my skin. I shiver, and my lungs burn with each ragged rise and fall of my chest.
          A quick exhale and I bolt into the street, fingers coiled tightly around the steely handle of a knife. The razor edge is freshly sharpened and serrated, designed to inflict the deadliest of wounds: a gift from my Guardian.
          There are no second chances in this world of mine. I have moments. One opportunity. I rush toward it. The blade glints in the light as I draw back my arm and plunge it into its neck. A scream of agony, and he loosens his hold. The victim's body crumples to the ground. Flesh rips, tearing, as I draw the knife back to me, and blood spills from his throat, pouring from the wound.
          My heart reacts to this, pumping too fast.
          He's not real. He's not human.
          My teeth clench together, jaw tightening as I brace myself for one, final thrust, finishing him. The Evil One twists toward me, eyes red with fury, on fire, and swings. I move to dodge the blow, but his fist connects with my skull, cracking, and I fall backward, a searing pain ripping through the entire length of my body. I hit the pavement, and a wave of numbness washes over me, the entire world blurring together, the darkness enveloping me.
          And then, a voice, pulling me back: "Genesis?"
          A light drizzle falls, misting my face. Seth wraps his arms around me, lifting, pulling me upright. He leans in closer, examining my forehead, and I breathe him in. He smells cool and salty, like cedar wood and seawater. Heaven.
          His fingers brush the tender area and I flinch, sucking in a quick breath.
          "I'm sorry."      
          "I'm fine," I mutter, rising to my feet. Seth holds my arm, steadying me. The blood behind the blow pulses, pressure building, the raw pain intensifying.
          "Let's get you home," he says, his hand gripping me tighter as I sway backward.
          Others move in, quickly, quietly, disposing of the demon so that it can never be traced back to me. I brush the seat of my jeans, swiping the mud away, but the water has already seeped through them, chilling me.
          It's worth it, though, if this is what it takes to eliminate them. Even if it's only one. Because one can make a difference. It made a difference to. . . .
          He's deathly still, lying face down in a dark puddle in the middle of the street. The faint traces of fingerprints bruising his neck.
          The air escapes my lungs, and I curse under my breath. I press the palms of my hands against my eyes, hiding them, squeezing them tightly, feeling the tears threatening to surface.
          "It isn't your fault," Seth assures me.
          I pull my hands away. "This can't keep happening."
          I have visions. I see things in my mind—bad things that are going to happen to good people. My job is to help them, to keep it from happening. I remind myself daily that this is a gift—my purpose. On days like today—when I fail—this gift feels more like a burden.
          "You can't save everyone," Seth reminds me.
          My eyes remain fixed on the crumpled heap. Someone's son. Brother. Best friend. It's well past midnight. He'll lie here until morning, smothered in a somber rain. Someone will call the police. They'll investigate. Show up on the doorstep of a parent, girlfriend, roommate with the terrible news. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They always are. There are never any real, justifiable answers. Not for this. Not anymore.
          "I can try," I reply, voice barely a whisper.
          I can't predict when the visions will occur, but I know they will. I never fully understand what they mean, but I know that, once I see them, I'm supposed to act quickly. I've saved lives. Altered courses. Made a difference. But I've also shown up moments too late. Missed opportunities. Let them get away. Let her get away.
          Seth and I move quickly back to the alley, refusing to breathe again until we're safely hidden in the darkness. My head throbs, and, as I run my fingers over the injury, I can feel a knot forming beneath the skin. Growing.
          Across the street a neon sign flickers, welcoming us. OPEN. It has to be a mistake. Not a living soul is awake at this hour, and no one is out. We're not allowed to go out—not with South Marshall's mandatory curfew.
          We slip through corridors, hurrying toward my car.
          I pull Seth into the doorway of a restaurant, pressing against the frame as a pair of headlights swings wide, lighting the street. I wrap my arms tightly across my chest, waiting. A squad car approaches, making its rounds. Gravel and other street debris crunches beneath its tires. And again I'm holding my breath, willing my heart to slow down, to quiet. He passes leisurely by before disappearing, turning down another street. With any luck he'll stumble upon a John Doe—the Diabols' latest victim. He'll call for back-up, and they'll rule it death by strangulation. Another one. Tomorrow it will fill the front page.
          There are serial killers among us.
          I am one of them.