Why buy it if you can get if for free?

cow and book

You’ve heard the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Generally, it’s used as a metaphor to argue for abstinence before marriage–something along the lines of, “if a boy is getting sex from you, then why would he marry you?” If that’s the subject you’re interested in, then you need to join the thousands of people who read Beth Steury’s blog about abstinence and renewed abstinence because sex is not what I’m here to talk about today. Nor cows. Nor milk.

I’m talking about books.

So far in 2015, I have “bought” 80 free books. Seriously. I went through my Amazon account and counted. I have so many unread books on my kindle (321), that I just dump them in my cloud reader for a rainy day. Or a day when people actually start making me buy books.

Ebooks are either free or so cheap that we all have huge TBR (to be read) piles. What started as a promotional tool has become common place. It’s gotten so bad that we can’t even give books away for free anymore. It’s no wonder that when I host giveaways on my blog, I get so few responses. What is the enticement? And yet authors are still doing it…

If this is you, if you’re giving away your books for free and hoping for readership or reviews, then stop the madness. Or at least market responsibly. Here are my suggestions:

  1. It’s okay to give away the first book in a series (and two books does NOT count as a series). This makes sense. If I read your first book and like it, I’ll buy the rest and read them too.
  2. Instead of offering your book for free, offer it for a discount. That way you still make money. And, to be honest, I’m more likely to read something I’ve purchased than something I’ve gotten for free. It has more perceived value.
  3. If you want to spark interest in your book, do a Goodreads giveaway. Go ahead and give your book away…to 1 or 2 people at a time. Let people put it on their wish lists. Let them see if over and over again and be interested in it. They’ll eventually purchase it. And they’re more likely to read a book that they’ve purchased. (See #2).
  4. If you want to get more reviews, create a street team/reader group. Make those free copies count. Invest in people. Connect with readers who will actually read your book. Connect with other authors that write similar things. Don’t blast the masses. And when you do give that book away, ask for a review in exchange.
  5. And don’t make every one of your tweets be about you or your book. That’s just plain annoying. This suggestion has nothing to do with our topic, but my advice is also free. 😉

Supply and demand, folks. It’s simple economics.

HERE’S WHAT I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU: How many books are in your TBR pile? How much do you spend on books each month? Are you more likely to read something that you purchased or got for free? What would you add or take away from my list?

Lisa Godfrees

Lisa Godfrees

A Chat with Fabulous Fay Lamb

A DOZEN APOLOGIES 2Vanessa Morton writes:   Thank you for coming back for Part Two of my interview with the Fabulous Fay Lamb, contributing author of the new Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies. If you missed Part One of Fay’s interview about this innovative chapter book, you can read it here.

Before we begin, I want to tell you more about Fay. Many of us first met Fay through ACFW where she moderated the Scribes Loop with an abundance of organizational skills and grace. But, did you know…?

Fay Lamb’s emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse the first release in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series has been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Fay LambFuture Write Integrity Press releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Libby, Hope and Delilah, Books 2 through 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.

Today, Fay bravely agreed to answer our probing questions. Here goes!

VM: What other projects are you working on right now?

Fay: Oh, boy. That’s a loaded question. I’m currently awaiting the release of my second novel in The Ties that Bind series. Libby. I’m currently working on edits for the story that is the story of my lifetime, meaning, I’ve been working on it for thirty-five years. I had given up on publication. The story was a monumental undertaking with fourteen characters, two main plots, and several other subplots that provide a Biblical modern-day retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

I’m also working on the third release in the Amazing Grace series, Everybody’s Broken. I do have a book trailer for Better than Revenge the second novel in the series. It can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Yu0L5rWpA

You’re a successful, multi-published author. Do you write by hand or on the keyboard?

When I was a teenager, I would spend every night in my room writing by hand. Even when my working-class mother surprised me with a typewriter—a Selectric, at that, which dates me—I preferred to write by hand. That would be anywhere from twenty-five to fifty front and back pages nightly. Recently, when my computer cord needed replacement, I found myself writing by hand until the replacement arrived. The process was useless. I couldn’t read my own writing, and I found it hazardous to the story. When I type, my fingers can keep up with my brain. Writing doesn’t allow me to keep that pace.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

That’s easy. I knew I wanted to be a writer before I could even write. I remember that the first two words I learned to spell were General  and Electric as in the old black and white television that was most often my babysitter. I begin reading at age four, and words captivated me. Then you add in my grandmother’s love for soap operas … I don’t recommend soap operas. I swore off of them about four years ago now, but the complex plots and continuing storylines absorbed in my child’s brain taught me how to build a story, again, even before I could write them down. I told stories. I directed plays for the neighborhood kids. I truly feel I was born to be a writer. In high school, the aptitude tests always said I would be one of two things: a librarian or an author. And being a librarian was out of the question.

Who’s your favorite author?

I am eclectic in my reading tastes. My favorite author of all time is James A. Michener. I have read every one of his tomes. That love affair started in high school when a history teacher assigned me his novel Centennial to read. He provided everyone else with an easy biography, as I remember. I went to the library, checked out the book and lugged it—have you seen the size of his stories—to the checkout counter. I read it half the way through, did a report, and got an “A.” After I graduated, I couldn’t let the story go. I needed to see how it ended. I went to the bookstore, lugged the book to the counter, and I purchased it and read it through. Then I bought another and another and another of his works. My library has each of his first editions, tomes and not-so-tomes.

Another secular author that I follow is Sharyn McCrumb and her Appalachian Ballard series. She leaves her readers spellbound by stories that weave folklore into the present. And if you want to read a story that will leave you laughing, Faster Pastor, is hilarious and unique.

Christian authors that I enjoy are young adult novels by authors like John Otte and his young adult Failstate series, Cynthia Toney, and her soon-to-be released coming-of-age novel, Bird Face, and Therese M. Travis’s coming-of-age novel, A Fistful of God.  Adult novels: Tracy Bowen and Jenness Walker’s novel Bliss is one I will never forget because I laughed from page one until the last line. I’m noted as being their #1 fan.

I have recently discovered Ann H. Gabhart and her fantastic low-key, tough issue, writing in her Hollyhill series. I plan to read more of her works as well.

I’m a James Michener fan, too. I still remember reading The Source–Wow. What are you reading right now?

I’m actually re-reading the newest novel, Ryan’s Father, by June Foster. This is a tremendous story that centers on a tough issue, which truthfully was not handled well in at least one other book I’ve read. June provides the truth in love. I met June’s hero in critique, and I have never been able to forget him. This is one dynamic novel.

I’m going to add that to my TBR list. What’s your favorite food?

Hmm. Let me think … Only kidding. Vanilla ice cream.

Mmm, one of my favorites, too! When you’re not writing (hopefully with a bowl of vanilla ice cream at your side), what do you do for fun?

Goodness. It’s been so long since I haven’t been buried with work that I truly don’t remember. Well, I love to tat—you know—making lace and collecting salt and pepper shakers. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, Marc. We both work at home, but since our home is also an office for both of us, we’re working diligently each day. Sometimes we work sixteen hours a day with a break only for dinner. So when we get to leave the house and relax, we just enjoy spending quiet time together.

Thank you Fay for sharing with us again today.  I hope you come back soon!

Write Integrity Press (http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/)  is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. ****Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.

Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!

Fay Lamb takes us behind the scenes of the new Valentine Novella, A Dozen Apologies

A DOZEN APOLOGIES 2Vanessa Morton writes:   I am thrilled to present Part One of my interview with the Fabulous Fay Lamb, contributing author of the new Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies.

(Come back on Friday (1/31/14) when Fay talks to us about her writing life and recent projects.)

Today, Fay is taking us behind the scenes of A Dozen Apologies, a fascinating chapter book about Mara and twelve men (heroes) in her life.

Fay, thanks for visiting our site today and staying with us to answer readers’ questions after the interview. Let’s get started!

VM: You collaborated with eleven authors to write A Dozen Apologies. Each week day, Write Integrity is releasing a new chapter by a different author. How did you come up with this concept?

Fay: I share a little about this on my blog, but I have had the pleasure of being a part of three of the four Write Integrity Press collaborative novella projects, and I believe our editor, Tracy Ruckman, has found a niche. After the first project, Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt in 2012 and as we were working on the 2013 project, A Ruby Christmas, I wanted to provide Tracy with an idea for Valentine’s Day. I kept imagining that old board game, The Mystery Date Game. I envisioned a heroine with all of the guys and she needed to choose from them. I have to confess, I also thought of a calendar of heroes. The problem was, a gal with twelve guys usually doesn’t a heroine make. I had to give her a reason for finding each of these guys. Then I realized that Mara had to have a past, and well, her past wasn’t too pretty. She was a terror to these men, and when God allows Mara to reap what she’d sown, she realizes that each of these men deserve an in-person, heart-felt apology, and well, if she fell in love with one of them in the process—that a love story makes.

Mystery Date Game–you’re so clever! How does a diverse group of talented writers give Mara–the main character–a consistent voice and work together toward the ending?

This is something that Tracy and each author who have worked on the three of the four projects centering around a single heroine have wondered. I believe that it starts first with the God-centered message. Each of the Write Integrity Press novellas present a very Biblical message. We also wrap the story in prayer. Then it starts with a very clear heroine and what her journey is about. For Mara, I saw her as out of her element when she hits a low point in her life. She’s a klutz, always running into problems either through her own ineptness or with the help of others, and as Mara grows, you see that through her bumbling and fumbling, God has given her a heart of mercy and grace—the same mercy and grace that she is seeking. As the authors began to work on the stories, just about all of them seemed to come to the conclusion that the problem with Mara, the reason she behaved so atrociously, was due to the fact that she had always been out of her element, not just after her downfall, but maybe even her entire life. With that in mind, Mara seemed to gel for each of us, and as I read chapter after chapter, I was again amazed at how God blended the story together, this time using twelve different pens (or computers).

Tell us more about Mara and what happens to her in your chapter.

Oh, I can’t share about my hero chapter because that’s top secret. You see, after the readers meet each of the heroes from the story (and from interviews posted on my blog On the Ledge), they will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite hero. That hero is the one who will win Mara’s heart and get the last chapter. Voting begins February 5 and ends February 8. On February 9, On the Ledge will begin to spotlight some or all of the authors with their heroes. From the very start of this concept, the authors agreed that the voting should be about the heroes. We also didn’t want to make it a “political” campaign or a popularity contest among the writers. We felt that this would lessen the impact of the story. When one of our authors (wave to Deb Ullrick) suggested the chapter authors remain anonymous, we felt that was a stroke of genius. On February 14 the readers can read the winning heroes chapter because the novella will be offered for free on Kindle through February 16.

I can tell you that Mara stays mainly in the South. Her longest journey takes her to Colorado, but she meets twelve interesting fellows from diverse backgrounds with compelling stories of their own, and well, she makes a mess of most jobs she works. I promise laughter and quite possibly some tears … Our editor told us she cried. We love to make Tracy cry … and laugh. That means we’ve done our job.

Fay, we appreciate you visiting our blog today and look forward to meeting again this Friday.

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Dear readers, before we tell you how to vote for your favorite hero and get a free copy of A Dozen Apologies, we wanted to share Fay’s contact information:

Fay LambFay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Write Integrity Press (http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/)  is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.

Fay will be standing by to answer your questions today. Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!

Thanksgiving, Romance, and a Book Giveaway

At my house, Thanksgiving includes a remembrance of my husband’s Mayflower ancestors, Priscilla Mullins and John Alden. The venerable Myles Standish also tried to court Priscilla, but I’d like to think she chose love over status when she married John, the Mayflower’s cooper. If I found myself in Priscilla’s rustic kitchen sipping hot tea, I’d ask her to tell me the real reason.

 

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1620 is not that long ago, and I can easily empathize with Priscilla. 

For those romantic couples who lived two thousand years ago, however, I’ll need a little help, like several candid photographs (in living color thank you very much).

In the absence of photos, I rely on authors who write fiction that breathes, such as Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti:A Novel. See my complete review
here.

 

Equal part passion and tragedy describes the marriage of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. Nefertiti’s museum bust is beautiful, but I yearn to see her gown ripple in the evening breeze, as she and her husband stroll the gardens and plot to undermine the priesthood. If you found yourself on the royal barge sailing the Nile, what would you ask her?

 

These are more of my faves, but feel free to add any others who pre-date the Middle Ages:


Antony and Cleopatra (Roman/Egyptian)

Emperor Justinian and his former-courtesan wife, Theodora (Greek)

Abraham and his childless wife, Sarah (Jewish)

Comment and tell me your favorite ancient romance. You can also send me those burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask one of these ladies!                                .

We may find they are not much different from us after all!

Vote and/or submit your questions through November 18th, and I’ll put your name in the hat to win Nefertiti: A Novel. If you share or tweet this blog, your name goes in twice.

One lucky winner will be drawn from the hat on November 18th and will receive a digital copy of Nefertiti: A Novel.

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(If you cannot see the comments field below, click on the title of this blog and scroll down again.)

Favorite Opening Lines plus a chance to win Lauren Oliver’s Delirium!

Vanessa Morton writes:

My favorite books are those with a stunning opening line. I want the words to grab me by the shoulders and pull me into an engrossing story, like these from Alexa Privet’s The Ophaedron.

When Septimus Mawbry was a very young lad among the living, his parents were stolen through an ancient mirror by a woman who wore a gown of woven emeralds.

Privet’s opening line raises several delicious questions: if Septimus is no longer among the living, what happened? And who is that woman wearing a gown of woven emeralds? And why did she steal his parents? I need to know more.

Then there’s this opening from Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

Delirium copy

It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.

Love is now a disease to be eradicated? Really? And what is this “cure?” Tell me more!

A clever opening lets you know you’re in good hands, so sit down and strap in for a great ride. Lauren Oliver’s book delivered with pages of beautiful language and world-building. See my complete review here.
What’s your favorite opening line and why? Share it with us by leaving a comment below, and your name will be put in a hat. If you sign up to follow this blog or share this post on Facebook, your name will be put in twice. One lucky winner will be drawn from the hat on November 1st, and will receive a digital copy of Delirium.

If you want to leave a comment, click on the title of this post, then scroll to the bottom for the comment box!