Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Experience With Kindle Scout

Phase Two – The Campaign  (If you haven't read the first post, you can scroll down to find it.)

When I clicked on the link to my campaign, I spotted my cover with the blurb next to it. Below was an excerpt of the book, plus my photo, bio, and social media links. There was a button for readers to nominate the book. They could also go to the main page of Kindle Scout to search for other books to nominate. I don’t believe I received many more followers to my social media sites during the campaign, but others may find different results.

I wish I had read a blog like this one before I began promoting my campaign. I believe I rushed out of the gate too fast. My husband I both spread the word on our Facebook pages the first day. I posted on my writers’ loops, as well as on Twitter. I was excited to see my book cover on the Hot and Trending section of Kindle Scout’s main page, along with the mystery and romance sections. I stayed in Hot and Trending for about a week and then, to my dismay, fell off. That hurt.

I reached out to one of my bigger Romance Writers of America loops called Pro and I was soon back in Hot and Trending. Then I fell off again. Sigh. I had never posted on Facebook groups before and decided to do so. I had already been placed in over a dozen groups and I joined more. I believe I am member of about 33 groups now. I read their rules carefully and began posting. I made sure to focus on the reader’s chance to earn a free book if they nominated my book and it is published. Free always catches my attention. I continued to do the same on Twitter, which feeds into my Facebook. I posted in Twitter about every other day unless I fell out of Hot and Trending, then I increased to daily. I may have posted twice on the same day once.

I was in and out of Hot and Trending until near the end. I started posting on Twitter/Facebook/Facebook groups the number of days left in my campaign to vote and possibly receive a free book. I posted in about 6-10 Facebook groups a day to make sure I didn’t repost in the same group for another three days. I stayed in Hot and Trending near the end of my campaign.

Looking back, I would have staggered out my original postings to increase my chance of staying in Hot and Trending. For example, my husband’s Facebook friends were wonderful. Many of them voted/nominated my book. If we had posted in his account later the first week, I might have stayed in Hot and Trending the second week.

Yesterday, I received an email from Kindle Scout that says they now track the number of hours in Hot and Trending for you, along with where your votes are coming from. You can read those when you log into your Amazon account and click on My Campaign. Even though my campaign was over, I could still see my results. I was in Hot and Trending 460 of the 720 hours of my campaign. I could see where voters came from my blog and Facebook posts. I couldn’t tell when they came from Twitter, but I know at least a couple did because they told me. According to one of their graphs, many votes came from readers who were on the site nominating books. One graph tells you the number of votes received each day. The days I received zero votes were the ones I didn’t promote due to other commitments.

The scariest part of the campaign was the moment I realized everyone who nominated my book would receive an email telling them whether or not Amazon chose to publish my book. I kept telling myself it was in their best interest to publish Euphoria Lane since I had been in Hot and Trending for so many hours. I didn’t want to face the embarrassment if they chose not to publish my book.

During this time, I discovered I could call Euphoria Lane a cozy mystery. I have the nice ladies on Goodreads for that information. I wasn’t sure before because the story is also a romance and in two points of view. I also decided during this campaign that I was going to write romantic cozy mysteries from now on. This is a combination of two genres I love. Romantic Cozy Mysteries is not a genre recognized by publishing companies, but I have read the title once online and decided I can self-publish my books so it doesn’t matter what publishers recognize. I feel good about my decision and can thank this campaign for allowing me to find my way.

The end of my campaign was a comedy of errors. I was exhausted from returning back to teaching and thought my campaign ended Saturday night. I stopped promoting after Saturday morning. It turned out, it ended Sunday night. I was still in Hot and Trending. I checked my email before going to bed. No news. I hoped to hear from Amazon the next day. Minutes after the campaign ended EST on Sunday evening, I received an email telling me the readers had voted and my book was selected for publication. At almost the same time, everyone who had nominated the book received the email with my thank you note. My daughter read her email and called to wake me up. Many friends knew the book was chosen before I did. The congratulations were rolling in.

My email notified me that the thank you notes were being emailed and that the terms of the contract were in effect. They gave me thirty days to update the cover, manuscript, and book details if I wanted. I chose to make the title larger. I soon received an email saying the changes were approved and my manuscript was going to their editor. They asked me to respond with my name and address. I opened a bank account for my writing and soon received their email to open my Payee Account in their secure website. They needed my name, address, phone number, email, bank account number, routing number, and social security number. I then filled out a W-9 online. The account is on hold until the IRS verifies my information.

I have been impressed with how organized this campaign has been. Also with the timeliness of each step.
No more than a few days passes before I hear from them again. They also give you a contact for asking questions and they are quick to reply.

What now? I am waiting to hear back from the editor. Once we make the changes needed, they will email the people who nominated the book to let them know the book is ready for them to read and review. During this time, my book will be available for preorders. They want to give readers time to review the book. They will also give me a publication date.

I would recommend this program to anyone who can reach a large number of possible voters and won’t mind the heavy promoting for that month. Also, to anyone who can handle the possibility that their book might not be published after you have put it out there to the world. I would have cried, but I would have survived. I call this my exciting adventure.

I will update you again after my book receives its first set of royalties.


Tina Swayzee McCright

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Musical Journey through THE ASSASSIN’S LOVER, By Kathryne Kennedy

When I first started writing THE ASSASSIN’S LOVER I knew I had a difficult task. The world of THE ELVEN LORDS is a magical land, and because of this my characters find themselves in an unusual situation, but the feelings had to be real. The heart and soul of my two characters had to be exposed in just one night, and the blossoming of love had to be felt.

In just one night.
In most of my books love grows over time, through a sharing of thoughts and actions; that tell my two characters they are meant for each other. But this story was different…I had to somehow take my characters through situations that could reveal their hearts and souls enough to fall in love in just one night.

I have written several blog posts where I go on a musical journey, by finding songs that portray scenes from my books, and so I go to Youtube and search for lyrics with the key words I am looking for, and to my surprise (although I guess I shouldn’t have been) I found many songs that talk about falling in love in just one night. Or at least, the blossoming of true love.

These songs cover many genres (much like my reading habits) and I hope you find one you enjoy, especially one that captures the feelings evoked in you by reading THE ASSASSIN’S LOVER.

I think both my hero and heroine would feel this song in each of their hearts. 

It’s what I tried to capture in THE ASSASSIN’S LOVER.

This song I think would apply more to how my bemused hero was feeling.

First time I’ve heard this song, and its theme fits my story so well!

This one gave me goosebumps, and I think reflects more on how my heroine would be feeling in my story. He sings opera-style…and check out his cravat!

This is one of my favorite songs, his voice is whiskey soft, and his loneliness echoes in this contemporary setting.

There are many more songs along the theme of falling in love in just one night, but I will have to limit it to these six, as it would take forever to post them all! But you’re welcome to mention any that you feel may also capture the heart-rending story of THE ASSASSIN’S LOVER.






Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter WriteNow! 2015 Writers Conference





“LOCKED AND LOADED: Set Your Sights on Writing Success”

August 14
5:00-10:00 pm
Gala Cocktail Reception
(*must be 21 to attend)
August 15
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(registration opens at 7:30 am)



Sarah Paretsky




Hilary Davidson
Simon Wood-WN 2015






Christina Cox - Cropped
Deb Headshot-Cropped


Carol Test-Preferred Photo-DS  2015


SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY: award winning author JENNY MILCHMAN  and NY Times bestselling author MICHAEL KORYTA

Jenny is the author of Cover of Snow, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her novel, As Night Falls, was released in June. Michael  is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 suspense novels. His recent thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead was named the summer’s best thriller by Amazon.

SARA PARETSKY is the author of twenty books, including the renowned V. I. Warshawski novels. She was named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and is also the recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement given by the British Crime Writers’ Association. Not only has Paretsky’s own work broken barriers, she has also helped open doors for other women. In 1986 she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization to support women crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year award. More accolades followed: Blacklist won the Gold Dagger from the British Crime Writers for best novel of 2004; her 2007 memoir, Writing in an Age of Silence, was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and she has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from several different universities. The actress Kathleen Turner played V. I. Warshawski in the movie of that name and Paretsky’s work is celebrated in Pamela Beere Briggs’s documentary, Women of Mystery. Today, Sara Paretsky’s books are published in 30 countries.

SIMON WOOD is a California transplant from England. He’s a former racecar driver, a pilot, an endurance cyclist and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie, and way too many pets and livestock. He’s the Anthony Award winning author of over a dozen books. His titles include Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, the Aidy Westlake series. His latest thriller is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. He also writes horror under the pseudonym of Simon Janus.

HILARY DAVIDSON has won the Anthony Award, the Derringer Award, the Crimespree Award, and two Ellery Queen Reader’s Choice Awards. Her life of crime started in 2007, when she published her first short story in Thuglit. Toronto-born and NYC-based, Hilary uses her background as a travel journalist in her Lily Moore mystery series, setting stories in places such as Peru and Mexico. Her latest book is the hardboiled BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS, her first non-series novel. She is also the author of 18 nonfiction books.

TERRI BISCHOFF joined Midnight Ink as Acquiring Editor in October 2009. She leads all editorial directions and creates the seasonal lists. She has dramatically increased the number of titles per season, publishing 36 titles per year, as well as expanded the type of multiple Award-Winning and Award-Nominated crime fiction Midnight Ink has published.

Screenwriter and Producer, CHRISTINA COX, is best known as the star of Blood Ties for Lifetime, and Defying Gravity for ABC. Internationally recognized for her guest-starring roles on Arrow, Dexter, NCIS, 24, NCIS: LA, 24, and numerous other appearances, Christina also appears in The Chronicles of Riddick and Better Than Chocolate. As Lead Producer for Roving Spoke Productions and Fancypants Pictures, she is currently involved in developing feature films for her original screenplays.

Screenwriter and Producer, DEBORAH J LEDFORD, is the award-winning author of the Inola Walela/Steven Hawk suspense series, including: CAUSING CHAOS, STACCATO, and the Hillerman Sky Award Finalist and NM-AZ Book Awards Finalist, SNARE. Book three of her series, CRESCENDO, is the Anthony Award Nominee for Best Audiobook. Narrated by Christina Cox, the recording is presented by Deborah’s production company, IOF Productions Ltd. She is also a Lead Producer for Fancypants Pictures.

*Professional Content Editor, CAROL TEST, is an award-winning short story writer and former editor-in-chief of Sonora Review. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and taught fiction workshops at the college level for a decade. She currently empowers authors to get works-in-progress publication-ready.

YOUTH PROGRAM – SinC Desert Sleuths is implementing a Youth Program designed to encourage and develop tomorrow’s top writers and devoted readers. Those participating in the Youth Program will attend the conference, Saturday, August 15th at a discounted price. Youth program attendees must be 14 to 20 years of age and provide verification of student status. [Youth Program does not include attendance at August 14th cocktail reception.]

The event will be held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho ~ 6850 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ
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REGISTER FOR CONTENT EDITING SESSION WITH CAROL TEST [*full registration payment required be to receive this opportunity. One session per attendee]

REQUIRED Form for Individual DS Member Book Sales