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!

New Unpublished Excerpt from The Mermaid’s Curse

by Kristina Ludwig
Oct 9
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: October 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I’m currently in the midst of revisions of my latest eBook, The Mermaid’s Curse, coming to Amazon Kindle in mid-October. I don’t know whether it’s Baby C’s impending due date or the mixture of So-Cal sun and my frequent trips to the ocean, but I’ve been so inspired to write this beachy paranormal/historical romance. So far, the writing process has been flowing like water. ;)

I included an excerpt of Chapter One at the end of my latest eBook, Amish Awakening: Rebekah and Braeden’s Bookand I’m psyched to share Chapter Two with you today. This is told from the point of view of Xavier, the hero of the story. Happy reading!

Here's a picture of the ocean and rocks from a trip to Monterey, where The Mermaid's Curse is set.

Here’s a picture of the ocean and rocks in Monterey, where The Mermaid’s Curse is set.

Chapter Two: Xavier

I close my eyes and sit back on the smooth-topped boulder by the ocean’s edge. The rocks here at Point Joe are my favorite spot of Monterey’s 17-mile drive; they’re the perfect place to come when I’m feeling moody. Every so often, a particularly vicious wave crashes against the rocks like a train wreck, splashing me from head to toe with salt spray. I don’t worry about it, though. I have always felt a deep and passionate affinity toward the sea, and I don’t mind the clammy feeling of my damp trousers or the way the tangy breeze whips pieces of my hair across my forehead.

My favorite moments are ones like these, when I’m alone and listening to the symphony of nature. The ocean has all the elements of a great musical masterpiece: gentle, rolling melodies when the water is calm, and the jarring, cacophonous roar of the high tide on nights like tonight, embellished by the raucous caws of the sea gulls. I can see why Debussy, one of my favorite composers, wrote La Mer, an entire piece of music, about it.

But now, there’s another sound, something different. Somewhere from the depths of the ocean comes a soft, sweet tune, like a siren’s song.

I force my eyes open and shake my head back and forth. Of course, this is only my imagination. It has been a long day, and I’ve only just escaped the dinner party with my father, mother, and all their friends. The mysterious strains of the siren’s song are most likely the fanciful product of the wine, whisky, and brandy that were flowing plentifully during our seven-course meal.

Yet, still, there is something odd tonight, something more than the pull of the full moon, more than the general vacation feeling that I’ve had ever since my family and I came to our summer house here in Monterey. I watch the water, the waves glittering like living things under the white light of the moon, the sea foam hissing over the rocks.

A particularly turbulent wave rumbles in; in its wake, I hear the song again and just barely discern a faint glimmer of aquamarine beneath the water’s surface.

The stunning light grows and the melody amplifies, rising to a fantastic crescendo that sends shivers up my spine. Then, the surface of the water breaks and the head of a beautiful woman emerges in a halo of silver and blue light.

I blink hard, rubbing my bleary eyes with the back of my hand. I’ve been able to make it twenty-one years without spectacles, but perhaps my vision is going. Or, more likely, it’s the alcohol I consumed earlier, playing tricks on me.

But all my blinking, squinting, and eye rubbing do me no good. This really is a woman, with fine, high cheekbones and cornsilk hair that shines as brightly as the moon itself. Her white skin glistens with water droplets, and seems almost incandescent.

My mouth drops open in disbelief as she glances over at me. She continues her song completely uninhibited, gliding toward me so fluidly that I wonder how she could possibly be kicking her legs under the water. Perhaps she’s not. She could be a mermaid.

Of course, I’ve heard tales of mermaids, luring sailors to their deaths with their lovely forms and dulcet songs. I’ve even heard that many sailors, practically delirious after months at sea, have mistaken manatees for mermaids—an error that I can’t fathom. This magnificent female is certainly no sea cow.

She continues her song until she has reached my side. Then, with a soft grunt of exertion, she hoists herself up onto the rock beside me. She smells of salt and sand, and her waist-length hair feels like seaweed as it brushes my arm.

I open my mouth to speak, but no words emerge. She is a mermaid, wearing some kind of crude brassiere fashioned of a mosaic of colorful seashells. Her long tail glimmers gold, silver, and blue in the moonlight.

“Hello,” she says, as calmly as if she were a friend of the family, coming over for a mid-afternoon luncheon and perhaps a round of golf. She smiles, her teeth as white and shiny as a strand of pearls.

“Hello,” I croak, clearing my throat. Suddenly, my whole mouth has gone dry. The mermaid and I stare at each other for what seems like eternity, and her dazzling aquamarine eyes search my face.

“That song—your voice—it’s so beautiful,” I stammer.

The mermaid giggles. “Really? Thanks. Maybe that’s my special talent. We all have one, you know, but I have no idea what mine is.”

“I would say it’s a special talent,” I say, nodding. “Not often do I get chills from hearing someone sing. A voice like yours belongs in the finest opera houses. I can’t believe that you’ve gone through life without knowing how incredible your voice is. You’re—how old?”

“I just turned eighteen. But all of us mermaids sing, so I didn’t think my voice was anything special. I’m Oceania, by the way.”

“Oceania,” I repeat, smiling. “It suits you.” I stare at her, suddenly feeling an almost elemental pull to both the ocean and her, but a moment later I mentally scold myself for forgetting my manners. Quickly, I hold out my hand, hoping desperately to redeem myself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Oceania. I’m Xavier Rose, visiting for the summer from San Francisco.”

A small wrinkle forms on the delicate skin between her eyebrows as she stares at my outstretched hand, but a moment later, she takes her cue and shakes it. “It is a pleasure to meet you too, Mr. Xavier Rose. You are the first human I’ve ever met.” Then, grinning at me, she says, “I have come from the sea to celebrate my birthday under the full moon. Perhaps you can show me around?”

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!

Kindle Unlimited and Indie Authors: A Mixed Bag

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Earlier this week, Amazon leaked its intentions to start a new program called Kindle Unlimited, which they touted as a kind of Netflix for eBooks. Today, the program has launched. In case you don’t know all the details, the program is available for $9.99 per month to U.S. customers only, and over 600,000 eBooks and 2,000 audiobooks are available to subscribers. The cheap price, combined with the 30-day free trial, makes it a no-brainer for voracious readers. In fact, I just signed up today!

Kindle Unlimited: good or bad? I think that, like most things in life, it's probably a mixture of both.

Kindle Unlimited: good or bad? I think that, like most things in life, it’s probably a mixture of both.

It truly seems that Amazon has a monopoly on eBooks. Here’s an interesting blog post with more facts about Kindle Unlimited, as well as reflections on the monopoly.

But what does this mean for authors, especially indies? Any books enrolled in KDP Select are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. I checked my book listings for confirmation, and found that this had indeed gone into effect this morning. However, authors are not forced into Kindle Unlimited; we have the option of contacting Amazon to remove our book(s) from the listings. Many books from large, traditional publishers are not available on the service, so any authors who decide to yank their books out of the program would be in good company.

Naturally, one wonders how this will affect authors’ royalties and payments. Amazon does a decent job of answering the question, stating that, “Once a customer reads more than 10% of your book, or a Kindle Owners’ Lending Library customer downloads your book, you’ll receive a share of the KDP Select Global Fund.” This, of course, raises the question of exactly how much of this fluctuating global fund we’ll actually be paid, and I suppose that remains to be seen. Here’s an awesome blog post that describes the global fund, and even includes some mathematical calculations.

I am excited to experience Amazon’s new experiment firsthand, and am curious whether Amazon’s algorithm will recommend Kindle Unlimited books more often than others. Although author payment is still a weird, gray area, the increased exposure could be an amazing benefit of the service. I’m also wondering how the availability of the service will affect eBooks’ success in the KDP Select free days. Free days have been invaluable for my books, increasing my readership and driving up sales of my paid books, and I’m hoping that they will still remain lucrative.

Readers and indie authors, what do you think about Kindle Unlimited? I’d love to hear your opinions!

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!

They’re Here: A Kindle Countdown Deal and a Brand-New Box Set!

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 19
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I’m excited to announce that I will be running a Kindle Countdown Deal on my Amish Hearts Box Set: Books 1-4. The deal will run from today until Saturday June 21st at 9 AM PST. Download the entire collection of 4 best selling YA Amish Romance novellas for only $1.99–that’s nearly 50% off the regular price! So, if you’re a fan of Amish fiction, YA romance, or you’re just looking for a fresh new genre to read, be sure to check out the box set while prices are low. And writers, if you’re wondering how effective Kindle Countdown Deals are and how to stage a successful one, we’ll find out together–I’ll post next week about my experiences with the promotion, and steps I took to get the word out about my Kindle Countdown Deal.

In other news, I’ve just released a new box set, the Amish in College Box Set: Books 1-3. In this dramatic series, Rebekah and friends face the challenges of growing up, and must answer difficult questions of faith, love, and career. I think you’ll love having Rebekah’s Book, Hannah’s Book, and Samuel’s Book all in one place–and you’ll be ready for Book 4, Amish Baker: Mercy’s Book, coming soon to Kindle! Check out the cover of the box set, designed by Antonio Challita. What do you think?

Amish in College Box Set 1-3 Cover

 

Finally, this Friday and Saturday, June 20th and 21st, my first-ever teen short story, A First Time for Everything, will be free! If you’re looking for a fun and quick beach read, this is it. Until next time, happy reading and/or writing. I’ll talk to you next week!

New Book Release: Book 3 of Amish Hearts is Here!

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 14
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

I’m excited to announce that my new Amish YA Romance novella, Mercy’s Fall, is now live on Amazon! Mercy’s Fall is Book 3 of the Amish Hearts series. To celebrate, I’m giving away Book 2, Amish Summer, for free today and tomorrow (1/14/14 and 1/15/14)!

Mercy's Fall, Book 3 of Amish Hearts, is now live on Amazon!

Mercy’s Fall, Book 3 of Amish Hearts, is now live on Amazon!

I wrote Mercy’s Fall after my “educational field trip” to two Amish communities in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania: Volant and New Wilmington. There, I admired the simple way of life and spoke to some Amish and “English” who had business dealings with the Amish. I noticed the relatively close proximity of several colleges to the Amish communities, which led me to devise the character of Chase, Mercy’s college-student crush. I also observed the Amish people’s avoidance of cameras and all things media and/or worldly, and incorporated these themes into Mercy’s dealings with Chase and the other Englischers who frequent the bakery where she works. Mercy’s Fall is equal parts love story, character study, and culture clash, so check it out if you’re looking for a romance eBook with some drama.

During my visit, the weather in Lawrence County was, in a word, snowy. This “winter wonderland” look continues to inspire me as I write the fourth and final book of the Amish Hearts series, Amish Valentine, due out next month. If you enjoy the Amish Hearts books, look for updates coming to this blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter, in the coming weeks!

Winner of the Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway Announced!

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 7
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 7, 2014 at 10:16 am

Today, I’m excited to announce the lucky winner of my first-ever reader giveaway, the “Buy Winner & Win” Contest!

But I don’t want to ruin the surprise here. Tune in to my YouTube channel for a short video where I randomly select and announce the winner of the brand-new Kindle Paperwhite!

Kristina Ludwig Contest