Tag Archives: contest

Holiday Happenings!

Merry Christmas Eve!

PJ Sharon here, there, and everywhere, currently coming to you from the coziness of my living room.christmas tree I’m wrapping last minute packages and the smell of fresh baked cornbread is wafting in from the kitchen. I hope you’re all taking some time off during the holidays to spend with loved ones. I’m grabbing a few days off, but since writers are never totally on vacation, here’s what I’ll be up to until the end of the month.

For the past ten days, I’ve been part of the Sleigh Bells Ring, Are you Listening, giant audiobook giveaway hosted by Rita Award winning author, Wendy Lindstrom. Today is the last day to enter if you want to be in the running for a chance to win some awesome audiobooks, an MP3 Player, or even an iPod Nano! Just click here to bring you to the Sleigh Bells Ring are you Listening contest page where you’ll find a Rafflecopter entry form. It’s super easy, and only takes a minute, I promise!Sleighbells ring promo pic You might even win an audiobook of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES.

I’m also participating in the Awesome Indies Holiday Book Bonanza, where dozens of e-books are on sale for only .99 cents between December 26-30th.aia_holidays (1) If you aren’t familiar with Awesome Indies, it’s a great organization of Industry professionals who read, rate, and review books by Independently published authors. They have very stringent criteria that have to be met, so you can rest assured that approved books are top notch! I’m proud to say, WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT made the cut and are now listed on their front page! For my writing friends out there, check out their website at http://awesomeindies.net/ for some invaluable resource material (check out their criteria for submission info).

While WANING MOON, book one in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael is only .99 cents, WESTERN DESERT, book two in the trilogy is up for FREE from December 26-28th.

Available NOW!
Available NOW!

 Bookmark this page and come back during the sale for easy links to the books on Amazon or find links on the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza Book sale page. With all those new Kindles under Christmas trees everywhere, I couldn’t think of a better time to offer WESTERN DESERT up for FREE! If you’ve got teen readers at home or enjoy reading YA dystopian romance yourself, here is your chance to get both books for less than a dollar. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Please help me spread the word about this great opportunity by sharing this post on your Facebook page, twitter, or other social media. Simply click on the social media button of choice below and add a note of encouragement for friends to download WESTERN DESERT for FREE from Thursday to Saturday this week. Promotions like this are the best way authors can give back to readers, and readers can show their support of their favorite authors by spreading the news, leaving reviews, and chatting about the books with friends and family. As always, your support is greatly appreciated and means the world to me. May you be blessed with good health, peace, prosperity, balance and harmony in the coming year!

So that’s where I’ll be and what I’ll be up to for the next week or so. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, squeeze in some “healthy” food choices, and plan a nice hike for after your Christmas dinner.

I’m making our traditional spiral ham. How about you?

Launch Party Time!

Welcome friends, guests, and party crashers! I’m so happy to have you all here to celebrate my latest release, WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. I’ll get the business end of this gig over and done with so we can relax and have a few refreshments.

Drum roll…Curtain draws back…MC (preferably George Clooney) takes the stage, smiles and says: Without further ado…INTRODUCING PJ Sharon’s latest release!!

Thanks, George! I’ll take it from here…

Available NOW!
Available NOW!

WESTERN DESERT, Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, takes off where WANING MOON ends. Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated U.S. in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

BN

Smashwords

Print copies available directly from CREATE SPACE or on AMAZON

If you haven’t read Book One in the trilogy, WANING MOON, it’s available for FREE this week (June 24-28) for Kindle owners!

WM Final SMALL 72 pixels

Also available for FREE is SOUL REDEMPTION, the short story prequel to WANING MOON. You can download it for your e-reader from Smashwords, or read it directly on Wattpad. You won’t want to miss this dark and twisty journey into the mind of a teenager with the power of life and death in his touch. It definitely makes you wonder…what would I do?

Creepy, I know!

Let’s move on to the fun part…

Feel free to pop over to Suze’s page of treats later where you’ll find some awesome recipes for drinks (non-alcoholic ones for our YA friends), and some tasty hors d’oeuvres! But don’t forget to come back, because I have some prizes to give away.

Three of you will be chosen randomly to receive signed copies of one of my first three books. You can choose between HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, or SAVAGE CINDERELLA. You can find out more about these books by visiting my website’s Contemporary YA Books page. I’ll be happy to mail you your signed copy, providing you leave a valid email address in the comments below so I can contact you privately for your mailing address. Enter ie: maryjanedoe(at)emailaddress(dot)com.

You can also win a nifty swag bag with some cool Lily Carmichael items, including a wooden whistle, a lanyard, bookmarks, and a signed copy of both WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT.

My grand prize giveaway is a NOOK Simple Touch!

It’s easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below with a valid email address if you want a single entry. For more chances to win, just let me know what you’ve done to help spread the word about my new release. Share this post to FB, twitter (or retweet any tweets with the hashtag #WesternDesert), or you can follow me on any of my social media platforms listed below. You could also sign up for my newsletter (for occasional updates). For each effort you tell me about, I’ll enter your name for another chance to win! Contest ends at midnight on June 30, and winners will be announced next Tuesday right here on the Scribes.

Hang out with me at the following places online:

Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+

So now that you have the low down on where to find my new book, connected with me at my various online hangouts, and you’ve downloaded some FREE books, pull up a chair and let’s chat. Don’t forget to grab a beverage and a snack and leave your comments, an email address, and what you’ve done to enter for the prizes. I’ll be posting some excerpts today in the comments section below, and look forward to you sharing your questions, responses, and thoughts.

I love a simple bouquet of flowers for a center piece, don’t you? As a conversation starter, tell me what books have you most been looking forward to reading this summer? Any new releases coming out soon that you are dying to get your hands on? Come on, people, dishing about books is what we do around here. Let’s get this party started!

The Many Faces of Promotion

PJ Sharon here, and I thought I would address a topic that every author struggles with. Promotion. It’s difficult for most of us to toot our own horn, let alone jump up and down shouting about our books to the ethers. Even if we  overcome the discomfort of having to talk about ourselves and our books, the work only begins there. I wanted to share with you some of the promotional efforts I’ve learned about over the past year ,and their effectiveness in today’s market.

KDP Select-You probably remember my FREE promotion through KDP Select (read about the details here). For authors uploading their books to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the Select program has lost a bit of its charm. With so many FREE books flooding the market, the five FREE days are not producing the same outstanding results they did even a few months ago.

Blog Hops– A group of authors get together (I think 10-20 max works best). Someone creates a landing page with all the details and rules, and everyone works together to encourage readers to “hop” from one author’s web site to another, entering to win prizes in a massive giveaway. Entry can be contingent on “liking” a FB page, signing up for a mailing list, or “following” you on Twitter. Prizes often include free e-books, gift cards to Amazon or B&N, or even a Kindle or Nook if authors want to chip in and do a big giveaway. With 20 authors, it’s only about $5 each. Hops generally have themes. They are a great way to network with other writers, meet potential readers, and gain some exposure without much cost other than your time. Check out the “Summer Splash Blog Hop,” hosted by a few friends of mine.

Facebook Contests-This one you need to be careful with. FB has some rules about holding contests and you can read them here. I haven’t done this yet, but may at a later date—once I study up on those rules. It seems like a great place to hold contests since there is so much visibility. You can also set up FB Ads that target your specific audience. You decide how much you want to spend per day and they will help you create an advertisement for your book. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the benefits of this and have not yet tried it.

Blog Tours- Blog tours are great for a new release. Essentially, you contact bloggers who have a readership that might best fit your book. Contact them well ahead of time (at least two months before your tour), and ask them nicely if they would consider allowing you to be a guest on their blog. Offer to write an original post that might be appealing to their readers, or ask if they have set interview questions they would like you to answer. Be professional; don’t make them do the work. Have your post to them by whatever deadline they’ve set, including any pictures, book cover, bio, buy links, and a short excerpt or review of your book, as well as any contact info you’d like them to include, such as your FB author page, Amazon author page, website, or Twitter handle. A blog tour can be as jam packed as you like, but remember, more is not better when it comes to promo. Your peeps who are helping spread the word will get as tired of seeing your book as you do of shouting about it. I think 4-6 weeks, 2-3 posts per week is a healthy tour. That is 10-20 posts at targeted blog sites. You can hire someone to set these up for you for anywhere from $20-$75. Or you can do it yourself. On the day of your “appearance,” plan to check in frequently and respond to comments. Blog tours are still one of the most successful promotional tools you can use. It takes a bit of research to find the right blogs, but for a small yearly fee, you can join a site like Author EMS, and there are amazing resources available to point you in the right direction. That site is worth every penny!

Paid Ads- These are hit or miss. Sites like Kindle Nation Daily and E-reader News Today can give you a nice bump in sales and exposure, but they are a bit pricey ($50-$299) for a one day ad. If you are doing a big promotional push and you have some expendable cash, go for it. But you’ll have to plan ahead, since their ad space fills up months in advance. I’m also not a big fan of advertising in publications like RT magazine or RWR. Yes, you might get some nice exposure, but for the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend, you won’t recoup the loss in sales generated. Those magazines are targeted more to writers than readers, although RT ads can get you a review that might give you some nice street cred.

The list goes on, of course, and includes book signings, Good reads giveaways, On-line book launches, and Twitter parties. You can also hang out on sites like Shelfari, Kindle and Nook Boards, or Wattpad, where you will likely find your audience just waiting to connect with you, their next favorite author. There are endless ways to promote and no one size-fits-all promotional plan. Be creative, pick one or two ideas that work with your social media platform, and jump in. I try to do one big marketing event per month.

This month, I’m part of a YA Note Passing promo with a dozen other YA authors. It’s a fun way to find some new YA readers and writers, and give away some great prizes. You can find details on our landing page which is the FB page of Sykosa, a very troubled young lady who is our head note passer. My main character from Heaven Is For Heroes, Jordie Dunn, will be getting some shady advice about her love life from Sykosa on Friday at YA Beyond. I hope you’ll pop in and say hello.

The bottom line is that it’s not all about “BUY MY BOOK!” Promotion is about reaching out and connecting to readers. Have fun with it, try not to stress out, and if all else fails, enlist your friends to toot that horn for you. Happy promoting!

Questions? Promotional opportunities you’d like to share?

Projects, projects, projects

PJ Sharon back from a vacation in the beautiful Smokey Mountains with a big “thank you” to my Scribes buddies who stood in for me last week. It wasn’t just Suze and Casey covering on my behalf while I was away. Thanks to Cat Kalen for bailing me out of my scheduling curflewy and moderating comments on YA Beyond last friday. And lest I forget the most supportive people around, the fabulous WG2E Street Team has been hard at work preparing the Beach Book Blast. I’m on board with fourteen other indie authors who either have their books up for FREE or have them listed for .99 cents between May 23-25th, and these folks have done an extraordinary job of organizing the event. SAVAGE CINDERELLA will be available for FREE on May 23rd and 24th ONLY, since I have just two more free days available through the KDP Select program. (click here for more info on why authors are giving their books away FREE.)

The WG2E folks are some hard workers, let me tell you. I’m so proud to be associated with such amazing professionals as D.D. Scott who contributed a FREE Kindle Fire as a contest giveaway during the event, Alicia Street our organizer, and Tamara Ward and Greg Corrico, two of the tech savvy people who helped set up our BeachBookBlast site, our FB page, and a Pinterest Board. Thank you all for holding down the fort and forging on without me. It’s so nice to not be alone in this crazy, solitary writer’s world.

In honor of Memorial Day, I’ve also made Heaven Is For Heroes available on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords for .99 cents. I hope you’ll pass the word on to those who might be interested in a sweet YA romance about a girl, a Marine, and a family drama that will have you crying on one page and laughing on the next. The perfect gift to honor someone you know who has served in the military or is part of a military family.

So now, on to my new found secret I’d like to share with all of you. Aside from heading south to witness one of the loveliest weddings it has been my privilege to attend, the other reason I was so looking forward to getting away last week was that I needed some time away from business so I could take care of something even more important. That means working on writing books. I did find opportunities to advance my WIP while I was relaxing, the rushing waters of the nearby creek stirring up my creative flow and making me think about some good advice I’ve heard from a few great authors. “When you get stuck, make sure you have something else to work on.”

The concept of working on more than one project at a time might sound ludicrous to those of us struggling with completing even one, but I’ve been finding myself stuck after each scene in my dystopian trilogy, having to take time to ponder, research, or otherwise percolate before being able to get the next scene on the page. During that time I’m hearing the voices of other stories singing in my ear. I’m fighting not to listen. I keep thinking I have to force myself to stay focused and stick it out with my WIP, but I’m beginning to see another way to work.

Perhaps those other authors have found the secret to keeping their creative juices flowing and their WIP’s growing by listening to the voices and working on multiple books simultaneously. Rather than swimming against the current, maybe I need to go with the flow, and stop trying to “push the river” as Vic in HIFH would say. I’m willing to give it a try and see how it works. To that end, I’ll be making writing a priority every day and focusing on making forward progress, no matter where it takes me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Does anyone else want to admit to working this way? Do you have multiple projects going on at the same time? How do you manage your manic muse?

 

Hopping with Authors in Bloom

Hey gang, PJ Sharon here on this second Tuesday in April. I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday weekend with lots of good food and time with family. After such a “hoppy” weekend, it seems only reasonable to suggest that April is the best time of year for a spring blog hop. For those of you who have only heard the term Blog Hop, and have wondered, ummm…what the heck is a blog hop? Well, I’m here to fill you in.

A blog hop is a way for many authors to join together to cross promote. Some dedicated and organized soul (thank you Dianne Venetta), sets up the main landing page with all of the instructions, rules, and links to all of the participating author’s blogs/websites. There is usually a grand prize, (Kindles, Nooks, and I-pads are popular), with a set of rules as to how to enter for the grand prize. For instance, the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop requires that entrants go to each of the participating author’s sites and “collect” phrases that add up to a complete story. If they collect all the phrases and go to the AIB landing page they can enter to win the grand prize.

Of course, as they stop at each participating site, they can also enter to win prizes from each author as well. I added this Authors in Bloom icon to my home page of my website with a link to my promotional blog where I’m giving away a prize pack that includes signed copies of my books, tee shirt, mug, pen, book marks, World Wildlife Fund water bottle, national Wildlife Fund tote and stuffed polar bear. In other words, SWAG. Since we are trying to draw in the largest crowd of our target audience, who are mostly Romance readers and adult YA readers, we added a favorite recipe (a yummy and super easy Sunny Delight pie) and/or a gardening tip (Manure tea, anyone?) for all of our readers.  As a way to increase my visibility and reach, I gave lots of opportunities to stack up entries by leaving a comment, “liking’ my FaceBook page, following me on Twitter, tweeting about the blog hop, or signing up for my mailing list. For each effort, I add another entry into the drawing for that person. Isn’t it great how everybody wins here?

The general idea is to give folks incentive for visiting each authors site. There are seventy-four authors participating for a ten day blog hop, so there are literally hundreds of prizes to be won and tons of wonderful recipes and gardening tips to be had. There’s lots of interactive fun and  a blog hop is a great way to connect to readers.

The cost to each author was $5.50 which we voluntarily pitched in to buy an e-reader. The winner will have a choice of which type they’d like. The grand prize also comes with a $25 Amazon gift card.

The idea is to get people to visit your website or blog, help you grow your reader base and spread the word via FB, Twitter, or signing up for your mailing list. I’ve hear that increasing your visibility and extending your sphere of influence are the keys to a good marketing plan and this way, you have a whole team of authors working on it together. EVERYBODY WINS! I’m excited to see what the results will be! I’ll keep you posted.

Any questions about Blog Hops?