4 Ways to Stay Connected With Your Fans When You Write Multiple Genres

by Kristina Ludwig
Nov 6
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: November 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Writing is a life of evolution, and authors seldom stay pigeon-holed in one genre. After all, we must write about what inspires us, and staying in one genre for too long can lead to stagnant works, tired story lines, and overall boredom during our writing sessions. No one wants that!

Want to show the fans of both of your genres some love? Read on!

Want to show the fans of both of your genres some love? Read on!

However, authors who want to plunge into a new genre face a massive obstacle: How can they stay connected with the dedicated fan base of their first genre, while writing a project in a totally different second genre?

I faced this problem when the muse prompted me to try my hand at YA mermaid fiction after a whole year of focusing on YA Amish romances. I’d built up a dedicated fan base in the YA Amish fiction genre, and didn’t want to lose contact with them. Yet, The Mermaid’s Curse was just begging to be written.

Luckily, there are some easy ways for us writers to remain connected to our old fans while reaching out to new ones, and I’m pumped to share four tips that have worked for me so far. I hope they help you!

  1. Release a box set - If you’re giving one genre a break for some time but still want to stay on the best seller lists, releasing old material in a new form is the perfect way to stay relevant. Readers adore box sets because there’s something magical about having all the books of a series in one place. Capitalize on this by releasing box sets of the books in genre number one while concentrating on writing new material in genre number 2.
  2. Work your KDP Select free days - Offer your books of genre number one for free, and your fans will be psyched. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of jumping your ranks on Amazon and reaching more new fans!
  3. Become active on Wattpad - Connect with the fans from both of your genres on Wattpad. I love this form of social media, because it allows writers to post segments of any of their books and reach new fans. Wattpad is also the optimal place to pilot a new series or genre, since followers are likely to give you their feedback, votes, and comments. I just joined Wattpad last week and really like it so far. As I familiarize myself with Wattpad, I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with my reflections and tips for success!
  4. Have a plan to return to genre #1 - Make sure that the fans of genre #1 know that you won’t be leaving them forever. I made sure to tell my Amish fans, via blog posts, emails, and Facebook statuses, that I’m not leaving Amish fiction for gut–it’s more of a temporary hiatus. This gives them something to look forward to, and I’m hoping that it will jump-start the sales of my next Amish book.

So there you have it–4 ways to stay connected with fans of multiple genres. Authors out there, have you tried writing in multiple genres, and if so, how did you stay in touch with your previous fan base while building a new one? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Tips to Switching Genres Seamlessly

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 22
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

As much as I’ve loved writing my Amish books, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from the YA Amish Romance genre, mostly because my imagination called me in another direction. I’ve always been intrigued by mermaids, and even dressed up as one last Halloween! During a trip up the coast of California a few months ago, I admired the deep blue waters and the jagged rocks of Monterey, and thought, “Wow, this place looks like there should be mermaids.” Add in the appeal of Monterey’s history as a vacation and fishing town starting in the 1880s, and I had all the inspiration I needed to create a series about generations of mermaids with a peculiar curse, starting in Victorian times!

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

One reason that many authors find themselves pigeon-holed into one genre (besides sales and fan base, of course) is because it’s difficult to transition from one genre to another. I’ve taken several steps to prepare myself to write YA Mermaid fiction–mindset really is everything. And guess what? I’m already eight chapters into my new mermaid book!

Here are 5 tips to switching genre.

  1. Read at least 20 books in the new genre - Market research not only helps you to generate ideas, it’s essential in order to create a book that fits into the overall market, yet still has enough individuality to stand out. During your market research, pay close attention to the length of the books, the pricing, the covers, and the descriptions. Finally, checking out the reviews will show you what your new target audience likes and dislikes.
  2. Watch TV shows and movies about your new genre - This can be anything from documentaries to movies to TV series. I happened to stumble upon a Netflix original series called Mako Mermaids, geared toward tweens, and Antonio and I started watching it. Although it appeals to a younger audience, watching the series has spurred my creativity and exposed me to mermaid myths. It’s so important to really saturate yourself in your new genre, during your work and play hours! Which leads me to my next tip…
  3. Quest for inspiration constantly - Do activities that bring you closer to your characters. For example, take “educational field trips,” like I did when I was writing my Amish series. Lately, I have been doing mermaid-like activities–not difficult for me, because I tend to do these things anyway. For example, I’ll take a break from writing to swim in the  pool–great exercise, and I’m often inspired during this time. I also go to the beach with Antonio at least twice a week, usually around sunset, and some of my greatest ideas come to me there. And inspiration can strike when you least expect it. This weekend, after lunch in Old Town, I saw a store called Mermaid’s Cove, which is full of mermaid memorabilia, books, and other curiosities.
  4. Do your research - Check out non-fiction sources on your new topic. I’ve learned a lot about mermaid mythology just by Googling the subject–isn’t the information age great?! However, I’ve also read some books about mermaid legends and lore, such as “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” by Varla Ventura.
  5. Follow blogs - These are one of the most often overlooked resources when writing in a new genre. While writing Amish fiction, I followed various blogs written by ex-Amish, and lately, I’ve begun following blogs by fans of mermaids. Not only are blogs an awesome place to find facts, opinions, and discussions about your subject, they also bring you closer to your target audience!
A golden-hour beach picture  from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

A golden-hour beach picture from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

Authors out there, do you write in more than one genre? If so, what tips do you have for a smooth transition? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Ways to Become a KDP Select All-Star

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 18, 2014 at 11:44 am

A few days ago, I was blessed and humbled to receive an email proclaiming that I had been chosen as a KDP Select All-Star for the month of August. This is a brand-new incentive offered by Amazon “to reward the books that are most popular with our customers.” Amazon determines ‘most-read’ rankings by combining the number of books sold with the number of qualified borrows from Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. My book, Amish Baby, was ranked #95 on this list, so I will be receiving an All-Star bonus.

Want to be the writing equivalent of All-Stars Kobe and Lebron? Check out these tips below! ;)

Want to be the writing equivalent of basketball All-Stars Kobe and Lebron? Check out these tips below! ;) Image courtesy of 5thquartermag.com

This honor made me think of all the steps I’ve taken to reach “All-Star” status, and of course, I want to share them with you! So, here they are:

  1. Know Your Numbers – We’re well aware of how important it is to track the sales of our eBooks. By noticing which of our titles sell well and which don’t, we can determine the direction of future projects and tailor our marketing efforts. But now, there’s another reason as well–to land on the KDP Select All-Star list, there are certain sales quotas. I can’t tell you how many sales and borrows the #1 book on the list had, but I can tell you how many mine had. Amish Baby, the book that landed me on the list, sold  3,782 net units in August, and 853 units were borrowed under Kindle Unlimited. As Kindle Unlimited continues to gain popularity, I expect that we will need a higher number of borrows in the future to make this list. My estimate is 50% more for the month of September, based on the fact that the number of borrows is rapidly increasing. It will be interesting to note how the trends change over time–as Kindle Unlimited continues to pick up momentum, we may need less sales to land on the list, as long as the number of borrows balances it out.
  2. Choose non-DRM versus DRM – When you publish on Amazon, you’re always asked whether or not you want to “enable DRM.” DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a feature designed to inhibit the unauthorized distribution of your book. Basically, it prevents your work from being shared with people who are not buying it. Amish Baby was the first of my books in which I chose the non-DRM option, since I’d heard that encouraging your work to be shared can actually increase sales. And I couldn’t have been more right. Amish Baby has been my best selling book so far.
  3. Try, Try Again - We’ve all heard this many times: It’s super rare to break out and be recognized on Amazon (or any other platform) with your first book. This means that, unless you’re an exceptional case, you’ll probably have to release many eBooks before Amazon will choose you as an All-Star. For example, Amish Baby was my fifteenth eBook!
  4. Have a Catchy Cover - I theorize that one of the reasons Amish Baby is selling so well is because of its cover. Before releasing the book, I did a split test with two different cover concepts, and the one I chose received the overwhelming majority of votes from my Facebook fans. Since readers really do judge a book by its cover, it pays to have a well-designed, appealing book cover.
  5. Use Your Free Days - KDP Select free days are an amazing way to jack up book sales. This is especially true when you have more than one book published on Amazon. I make it a point to schedule two KDP Select free days–and promote them heavily–every week. I have never offered Amish Baby for free, but sales of this book and my other books always increase on my KDP Select free days.

So there you have it, indie authors: 5 ways to become a KDP Select All-Star. I hope that these tips help you. If you landed on the list and have any additional feedback, please let me know. I always love comparing notes!

Productive Writing: 5 Tips to Write 1 Novella per Month

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 15
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Woohoo! Last Friday, I finished writing my last Amish ebook (for a while, anyway), Amish Awakening (The Finale): Rebekah and Braeden’s Book. With a word count hovering around 23,000, this novella is approaching novel territory, in keeping with my trend toward longer ebooks as I’ve advanced through my three Amish series. The Amish Hearts books were short novellas (60-70 pages on Amazon) as I introduced the twins at the beginning of their Rumspringa. In the Amish in College series, the twins and their friends Hannah and Samuel explored deeper growing-up issues, and the length of the novellas grew accordingly–up to 80-90 pages on Amazon. And finally, the books of the Amish Couples series range from 102-121 pages on Amazon.

The funny thing is, I’ve stuck to my one book a month release quota for an entire year, but the books have grown in length. Much of this might be due to practice and increased efficiency as I’ve transitioned from my life of pharmacist to full-time writer, and I’m excited to share my experiences with you!

books

Here are 5 foolproof tips to writing 1 novella per month, brought to you by someone who knows ;)

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice - The best way to increase your efficiency as a writer is by practicing every day. As we become acclimated to the routine of writing regularly, the words just seem to flow more easily.
  2. Have a Standing Appointment With Your Editor -As soon as I submit my manuscript to my editor, I schedule the date to submit my next one–in exactly one month. This deadline keeps me on track and creates a sense of accountability. Regardless of how busy my month is with travel and other engagements, I’ve never missed a deadline, and sometimes I even finish early. The key is piecing the writing into your month as a whole, and if you must skip a few of your normal work days, you must create the time to make them up later.
  3. Know Your Best Writing Time - Are you a morning, afternoon, evening, or late-night writer? This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself, because your writing “golden hour” (or hours) will be the time at which you’re most productive and inspired. I happen to write best in the mid to late morning and early afternoon, and this is the time when I write the bulk of my novellas.
  4. Set Up Daily and Weekly Writing Quotas - I find it helpful to target a number of chapters that I would like to complete per day and per week. My minimum quota is 10 chapters per week, but when I’m feeling really creative or in the zone, I’ll sometimes write 4 or 5 chapters per day. Bonus!
  5. Take Break Days - Mental health breaks are crucial to stay productive on your on-days and to find inspiration. Make sure you fit them in!

Writers out there, what tips help you to be more productive? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Writing Lessons Learned from Watching the VMAs

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 25
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

Last night, Antonio and I watched the VMAs. I adore these awards shows, not only for the elaborate performances and the glamour, but, of course, for the intrigues, conflicts, and awesome surprises!

vmas

This year’s VMAs were fun to watch, and, naturally, they inspired me to write this blog post. I believe that the various forms of the arts (music, drama, literature, and visual arts) influence each other, and there are many lessons we writers can learn from the VMAs. Here are five:

  1. Sex Sells - Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” performance raised some eyebrows, with the steamy twerking and blatantly sexual costumes. In fact, parts of the routine were totally inappropriate for the large population of pre-teen viewers. But let’s face it: There’s no denying the fact that sex sells. This is the same reason that, in literature, erotica books are best sellers. I’m not advocating switching your genre to erotica if you normally write clean romances, but I’m also not judging the artists who inject a healthy dose of sex into their books or music. As a YA writer, I like to keep my books clean and uplifting, but sexy art makes the world go round. ;)
  2. Conflict Equals Drama -  Speaking of Nicki Minaj, according to several articles, the “beef” between Nicki and Iggy Azalea is over. Last night, Iggy reportedly told Nicki backstage that she did great, and Nicki said “Thank you, baby.” But Iggy’s face during Nicki’s performances seemed to tell a different story. I don’t know about anyone else, but I saw a little conflict there, and I felt like the camera people were honing in on it. And why not? After all, conflict equals drama. It hooks viewers, and in literature, it keeps readers entertained and drives the story until the end. Creating rivalries and conflicts is so essential to writing that the great teachers continually emphasize the importance of “torturing the characters.” So don’t be afraid to torture yours!
  3. When in Doubt, Add a Little Humor - The announcers at the VMAs were so funny; I found myself giggling on and off the entire time. Just as the humor balanced out the performances, wardrobe malfunctions, and little dramas, adding some “comic relief” to our writing can provide readers with much-needed reprieves from the heavier stuff.
  4. A Lot of Work Goes into a Polished Product - The VMA performers had months of rehearsals, not to mention hours of prep-time to look and feel their best on the actual day. Just as they had to work hard to make it look easy, so must we writers. Multiple drafts, professional editing, beta readers, and constant practice allow us to present our most polished products every time!
  5. Don’t be Afraid to Deviate from Your Genre–But Know When to Stick to It - I was a bit underwhelmed by Taylor Swift’s performance last night, in part because she has deviated so far from her original image as country-inspired girl with guitar. True, the artistic process is all about evolution, but fans expect some consistency as well. Taylor did not seem entirely confident with her overblown routine, and looked fairly awkward during some of the more demanding dance moves. While I give her props for evolving, I also feel as though she may have deviated too far from her genre for comfort. The same is true in writing. Many times, we find ourselves pigeon-holed into a genre that we may never have expected. I, for example, would never have guessed that I would write eleven Amazon best sellers–and counting–in the YA Amish Romance genre! And while I’m excited to try out a new genre, YA Mermaid Romances, I will continue to keep the Amish writing alive, since that is what many of my fans have come to expect and anticipate.

Writers out there, did you watch the VMAs last night? If so, did you learn any interesting lessons? I’d love to hear your random reflections!

Overcoming Fear: Unleash Your Inner Lion or Lioness

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 11
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

One of my favorite Sunday pastimes is attending church with Antonio, where we recharge our spirituality and find inspiration for the coming week. Yesterday, the priest’s sermon was particularly touching–he talked about fear: the way it can hold us back, and how so many people are motivated by it, when instead we should be driven by love and faith.

This really struck a chord with me. Fear impedes so many of us in our quest for self-actualization, and if left unchecked, it can prevent us from ever reaching our full potential. And fear affects even the bravest among us. In fact, it’s so sneaky that we may not realize it has caused us to fail until it’s too late.

I consider myself a pretty brave person–unless there are spiders or mold around. Then, all bets are off. But seriously, I have never been one to shy away from challenges, “scary” amusement park rides, weird new foods, or relatively adventurous activities. However, career-wise, I was always a play-it-safe kind of girl. I followed the prescribed path of academic success: high grades and a loaded extracurricular resume in middle school and high school, the accelerated and demanding Doctor of Pharmacy program in college, and, finally, the lucrative job as a pharmacist. I felt stifled in the box of the pharmacy, and felt that my very active creative side was begging to be unleashed. As a result, I packed my time outside of work with artsy activities like writing, piano, chorus, drawing, and various dance and fitness classes, but felt as though there was a schism between my real interests and my full-time career. I dreamed of becoming a successful published author, but fear of never being “discovered,” as well as fear of giving up my secure, well-paying job, prevented me from taking the risks I’d need to succeed.

I was forced to face my fears when Antonio, who was then my fiance, was offered a great new job in San Diego. I knew in my heart that San Diego would be the best choice for us long-term, with its near-perfect weather and healthy lifestyle, as well as the lucrative and personally fulfilling position Antonio was being offered. Yet, I was incapacitated by fear. I was deathly afraid of venturing into the unfamiliar territory of California. I wanted to launch a new career as a YA author, but I was secretly afraid that I’d fail and be just another “starving artist.” Finally, I was afraid of leaving all the friends we’d made in Chicago, and of being so far from my family in Pittsburgh. The list went on and on.

At this point, I knew that it was time to manage my fear, not the other way around. So after my several-month-long period of incapacitation, Antonio and I finally arrived at a brave solution. We maintained a long-distance relationship for a year before our wedding, during which time we attended writing conferences together and focused fully on launching my career as an indie author. I continued to work full-time as a pharmacist, and the year was incredibly busy. But by our wedding last September, I had learned enough about the publishing process to feel as though my career leap was warranted.

I am so glad that I faced my fear, because now I’m happier than I ever thought possible. There is no longer a schism between my career and my innermost desires. I determine my own schedule, and the pace at which I release my new eBooks. I can work from home, which is ideal because we’re expecting our first child in October. And, for the first time in my life since teenagerhood, I feel creatively fulfilled.

This period of struggle taught me so much about facing my fears and unleashing my inner lioness. As the week begins, I urge you to examine your life and identify your greatest fears, and perhaps how they’ve held you back from your dreams. Like me, many people let their fears stand in the way of realizing their full potential and achieving their career goals–no matter how nonsensical those goals may seem to those around them. Morphing from pharmacist to writer seemed weird to some people, but it was the best decision I could’ve made!

An unwavering support system is essential in unleashing your inner lion or lioness.

An unwavering support system is essential in unleashing your inner lion or lioness.

So, here are some ways to overcome fear and unleash your inner lion or lioness. After reading this, I hope you want to ROAR!

  • Identify your greatest fears - Sometimes, fear is so sneaky that you might not even realize it’s holding you back. Identifying it is the first step to overcoming it.
  • Visualize your ideal life – Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then, visualize a day in your ideal life. Are you working in the same career, or a totally different one? Do you live in the same city and have the same relationships? When you open your eyes, compare your vision with the reality of your life. Maybe your dream career is the exact opposite of the one you’re doing, or you’re in some pretty toxic relationships. Identify the elements that differ from your ideal life, and pinpoint why they differ. Is it because you’re working toward change, but it just hasn’t happened yet? Or is it because fear of failure or change is preventing you from even trying to turn your life around? If this is true, then you’ll have to…
  • Set goals - Write down the goals that will transport you from your real life to your vision. This will make your goals more real and plausible.
  • Have a support system - Once you’ve identified your goals for change, share them with your significant other and trusted friends or family. This increases accountability and helps to alleviate your fears about making the change. Antonio was my biggest supporter as I launched my new career. Not only did he believe in me, he’s been with me every step of the way, helping me to build my platform, attending conferences and networking events with me, helping me to learn about marketing, and even designing book covers. In the end, I had to overcome my own fear, but his unwavering and loving support was instrumental in the process, as well as in my success.
  • Become comfortable with the unfamiliar - As you’re working toward facing your fears and achieving your goals, try other things outside your comfort zone, like unfamiliar vacation spots, new sports, and exotic foods. The stimulation and newness will increase your fearless factor, guaranteed!
  • Make the change - Change is slow, and it can only be achieved with hard work every day. Armed with your goals and support system, you can face your fear of change head-on. Change gradually. Just as I didn’t launch a new career overnight, you shouldn’t expect your change to occur instantaneously. Be patient, but work constantly.
  • ROAR - Soon, you will begin to see the fruits of your labor. And when that happens, make sure to celebrate! Maintain a balance between hard work and celebration. There’s nothing more exhilarating than facing your fears head-on and conquering them. Now, go forth and ROAR!

5 Tips to Write Awesome Romantic Conflict Scenes

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 7
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

Conflict is the essence of fiction–it drives stories forward and keeps readers turning the pages and coming back for more. When I took an advanced level writing course a few years ago, I was told to really torture my characters by using internal and external conflict; to this day, I torture my characters as much as possible, infusing my books with tension and drama. Of course, conflict is a balance like anything else, and no author wants his or her book to read like one big brawl…but some artfully-placed conflict interspersed with moments of calmness is a good thing.

Romantic conflict is my favorite kind to write. When passions are high, discussions become heated. Romantic conflict is especially fun in YA fiction, since the emotions and thoughts of teens are so amplified and volatile anyway. I usually write romantic conflict from the point of view of one character, but in my new series, “Amish Couples,” I’ve been showing both sides of the argument as I alternate chapters between the male and female point of view. This has been an amazing exercise, and I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet!

Romantic conflict is so much fun to write! Image courtesy of changeagentcareers.com

Romantic conflict is so much fun to write! Image courtesy of changeagentcareers.com

Here are some tips to write scintillating romantic conflict. I hope they help you next time you need to write an awesome scene!

  1. Know the stakes - In order to create believable romantic conflict, you must be aware of what’s at stake for each character. Why is this conflict so important to each character, and what does he or she have to lose that makes the cause worth fighting for?
  2. Understand what motivates each character - Character motivation goes hand-in-hand with knowing the stakes. In order to write a believable argument scene, you need to know the driving force behind a character’s (strongly held) opinion. Is the character motivated by ambition, pride, love, fear, or money? Ask yourself these questions about each character involved in the dispute, and the scene will flow smoothly and believably.
  3. Use dialogue - Dialogue is the perfect literary device to convey romantic conflict, since there’s just so much you can do with it. For example, if a character is agitated, increase the tempo of his or her speech. Dialogue is also a great way to convey each character’s personality quirks. Does a character morph back into the accent of his / her homeland when angry? Does a character stutter and stammer? Or does a character seem to turn to ice, shutting down his / her emotions and using cool or even sarcastic retorts? Infuse these elements into your dialogue, and you’ll have a sizzling “fight scene” that seems to jump off the page.
  4. Body language says so much - Just like dialogue, body language and physical description can bring a romantic conflict scene to life. How does each character physically respond to the conflict? Strive to exceed the usual red face or crossed arms and go a step further. Oddly enough, I found myself inspired to incorporate more animated body language into my romantic conflict scenes after I read a pop-psychology book about analyzing people’s body language in the workplace and at networking events.
  5. Lighten it up with humor - One thing you don’t want is for your romantic conflict scene to morph into pure emo, becoming dark and even hateful. To prevent this, sprinkle in some humor. One of my favorite characters to include in fight scenes is Mercy, because she’s often so selfish that it’s funny. Create a character like that, and romantic conflict scenes will never get so heavy that they weigh down your book, dragging it into a pit of despair. Readers should always have hope that everything will pan out in the end. :)

Writers out there, how do you write awesome romantic conflict scenes? I’d love to hear your techniques and feedback!

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #8

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 28
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

This weekend, Antonio and I shot another short and sweet episode of Business, Publishing, and Life. Be sure to check out the YouTube video, where you’ll find tips for success in business and publishing, as well as the #1 way to optimize your physical and mental performance, keeping your energy level strong throughout the week!

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 8.43.02 AM

Also, I’m pleased to announce that I will be launching my latest Amish ebook, Amish Baby: Hannah and Jakob’s Book, tomorrow, July 29, 2014! I’ll post links here on the blog, as well as in my newsletter and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

What tips did you enjoy most from BPL? Anything to add? As always, I love to hear what you think!

4 Tips to Write from Multiple Viewpoints

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 14
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

I’m currently immersed in writing Book 5 of the Amish in College series, “Amish Baby: Jakob and Hannah’s Book.” As the name implies, this novella will be told from the viewpoints of both Hannah and her husband Jakob.

I chose to write this book from multiple viewpoints for several reasons. First of all, I figured that it would be a fun challenge to examine a pregnancy–and many of the dramas that can go along with it–through the eyes of both members of a couple. Additionally, I’ve never written an Amish Hearts or Amish in College novella from Jakob’s perspective, and only one other book is told from a male perspective (Amish Scholar: Samuel’s Book). So, I was definitely ready for another male protagonist. However, Jakob is not a super popular character, so I decided to combine his viewpoint with Hannah’s to keep readers interested and allow Jakob’s personality room to reveal itself and shine throughout the course of the book.

Telling a story from multiple viewpoints can be an awesome literary device, opening the reader’s mind to the thoughts of two main characters. It’s often used in romances to show the falling in love process through both characters’ eyes. However, if done sloppily, multiple viewpoints can spell out disaster. Not only might the reader lose track of the narrator, he or she might also become frustrated by constantly hopping from one character’s head to another.

With that in mind, here are 4 quick tips to write your next story from multiple viewpoints.

  1. Use No More than Two Viewpoints - If  you’re jumping into too many different heads, your story can easily become disjointed and convoluted. It’s possible for very experienced authors to pull off storytelling with more than two viewpoints–just look at Mary Higgins Clark. However, it you’re just beginning to experiment with this technique, start with 2 viewpoints and hone your skills before attempting more.
  2. Alternate Chapters - Telling one chapter from one character’s viewpoint and the next from the other character’s is the perfect way to keep your story fresh and hold readers’ attention. To make the readers’ lives even easier, you can tell them which character will be narrating at the beginning of each chapter. For example, in “Amish Baby,” I labeled the chapters “Chapter One: Hannah,” “Chapter Two: Jakob,” etc.
  3. Watch for Point of View Slips - The trap of POV slips is easy enough to fall into any time, but especially when you’re telling a story from multiple viewpoints. As you write, self-edit every few chapters to watch for POV slips, and make sure to have your manuscript professionally edited after you’ve completed it. Sometimes, writing from multiple viewpoints can be confusing to the writer as well as the reader.
  4. Read Examples - Reading often is one of the best ways to become a better writer. Now that you’ve thought of writing from multiple viewpoints, revisit your favorite books and note which ones are written from multiple viewpoints. Read critically, and learn as much as you can from the examples of the masters.

Writers, have you ever told a story from more than one viewpoint? If so, what techniques did you find helpful during the writing process. I’d love to hear your ideas!

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Kindle Countdown Deals Count!

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 26
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 26, 2014 at 9:00 am

Last week, I ran a 48-hour Kindle Countdown Deal on my Amish Hearts Box Set: Books 1-4. This is the complete collection of all my Amish Hearts novellas, and is normally priced at $3.79. It’s always been one of my slow sellers, hovering around a rank of 100,000 on Amazon; I’ve theorized that it’s probably because the $3.79 price point is a little odd, and might seem expensive to some. However, this box set offers a cheaper price per novella than buying the books separately at 99 cents apiece or purchasing the infinitely more popular Amish Hearts Box Set: Books 1-3 for $2.99 and picking up Book 4 separately. Weird, huh? But let’s save the topic of buyer psychology for a later blog post. ;)

Kindle Countdown Deals are a relatively new addition to the KDP Select family of promotions. With Kindle Countdown Deals, authors can offer their books at a temporary discount. Because the books are cheaper and are listed on the website http://www.amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals, they become more discoverable. Another benefit of Kindle Countdown Deals is that they allow authors to retain their usual royalty even if the price of the book is below $2.99 (the minimum price for a 70% royalty) during the promotion.

Kindle Countdown Deals sound great in theory, but even so, they’re kind of like the awkward adolescent cousin of KDP Select Free Days. They’re younger and newer, and no one seems to understand them very well yet. Before I set up my Kindle Countdown Deal, I combed other blogs to research the best ways to promote it, and I found very little–quite the contrast to the wealth of blogs about KDP Select Free Days, as well as the scores of websites and Facebook pages dedicated to advertising temporary or perma-free eBooks.

So, I devised my own promotion plan, and it worked well. I didn’t experience the runaway success of my first KDP Select Free Day promotion, but the box set did peak in the high 20,000s on Amazon–and that’s definitely a step up from 100,000. The report from Amazon showed that during the promotion, my royalty per hour on the box set rose by 240%, while my revenue per hour was hiked up by 257% since the previous week. In addition, sales on the books in my Amish Hearts spinoff series, Amish in College, rose during the promotion.

Kindle countdown deal image

So, here’s how I ran my Kindle Countdown Deal. As always, it’s a learning curve, and I’ll keep you posted as I become more successful and better acquainted with these beasts. :)

  1. I listed my book on select websites. Many websites that list “deals” (as opposed to freebies) charge for their services, but I didn’t want to use those. Instead, I promoted on a handful of websites that listed Kindle Countdown Deals for free. Some examples are eReader Utopia, Kindle Books & Tips, and  Goodreads groups like the UK Amazon Kindle Forum. I let the sites know about the deal 4 days before it started, since many websites need a little time to compile their list of featured books.
  2. I promoted the book to Facebook groups. On the first day of the Kindle Countdown Deal, I posted links to the book on several Facebook groups geared toward Kindle deals and author promotion. Here are a few that I used: Indie Author Book Promotion, Authors and Book Lovers Discussion Group, Kindle Freebies, New Authors, and other eBook Info, Book Promotion, Online Book Publicity Group, Books, Books, and More Books, There’s an eBook in the Room, and Books Gone Viral.
  3. I spread the word on social media. On the day the promotion began, I posted links to the book on my own Facebook author page, Google+, and Twitter. I also continued to post tweets throughout the promotion.
  4. I blogged about it. On the day the promotion started, I wrote a blog post about it. Blogging about your promotions is essential because it increases your searchability–it’s just one more place that your promotion can be found on the internet. Also, it allows you to reach an audience that already finds your work useful, and gives you fun new material for your blog!
  5. I sent out a newsletter. On the day the promotion began, I sent out my kristinaludwig.com newsletter. I was due to send one out anyway, and realized that this would be the perfect day for it. I kept my email conversational and non-spammy, and discussed other content that readers might find useful, such as my latest BPL episode on YouTube and the next book I’d be offering for free on Kindle. Then, after the free info, I pitched the Kindle Countdown Deal.

Other authors out there, have you tried Kindle Countdown Deals for your books? If so, did you find them useful, and what promotion techniques did you use? I’d love to hear your experiences!