Book #1 in the Songstress Trilogy
The Story...

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Abby Carson thought she had her secret under control. Who cares if after “the change” took place, she became so beautiful that all the girls at school hated her. And the boys, well, when they look at her, hate isn't exactly what's going through their minds.

But when Abby witnesses a teenage girl's murder by a preternatural creature off the coast of Cape Cod, her carefully controlled life slips into chaos. Hiding in the water until the killer's gone is a must. Getting spotted by Brian Baker, a boy from school, isn't. Neither is falling in love with him. That definitely wasn't part of the plan.

Combine all this with the mysterious mermaid box Abby receives as a postmortem birthday gift from her dad, and she's pulled even deeper into the world of shades and monsters. Once the full force of Abby's deadly siren powers are revealed, the only one she can hurt more than herself is the boy she loves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I'm Giving My Book Away On Smashwords

If you're reading this blog then you probably know that I recently put Black Waters up on Smashwords as a free download. This was a tough decision for me because, in reality, I'd like to get paid for my writing. But since I'm a new and virtually unknown writer, free seemed like the way to go.

In July, when I first published Black Waters on Amazon, I listed it at $.99. (Note: I know the publication date says May, but that's actually the date I loaded the book up onto Amazon's website. It took me two frustrating months to get the formatting right, so July was when it was actually available for sale.) Now, of course I think the book's worth more than that. Much more. I mean, it took me a couple of years to write the thing. And then I had to edit it, get beta readers, rewrite it again, and again and again.... And after all that, I still had to figure out a way to get an inexpensive yet professional looking cover. (I tried making one myself, but the outcome was pathetic.) All in all, it was a lot of work. Fun yes--but still work. But, and this is a problem for me as well as gazillions of other new authors out there, nobody knows who I am. I am anonymous...and also possibly a little naive. You see, I didn't have much a a marketing plan going into all this. “Hey,” I thought. “ I'm just a writer... what do I know about marketing?” And so, unfortunately, at least on Amazon, it's been really hard for me to make sales. I was hoping that pricing Black Waters at $.99 would encourage readers to take a chance on me. And that plan is working... sort of. I've gotten some good review, and I have sold some books, but, let's face it, I haven't sold that many. As of today, I've sold approximately fifty books on Amazon. That's it. Obviously I'm not making a living. But, in all honesty, I'm not even aiming for that right now. I just want people to read my book. That's it.

So...I decided to publish it on Smashwords. Of course, I was always planning on putting Black Waters up there, I just dreaded the awful formatting process. It took me such a long time to get it right on Amazon, and now that I'm working on my next book, I didn't want to format it all over again. So I procrastinated, and procrastinated, then procrastinated some more. Then I found someone to do it for me. It only cost me fifty bucks, and it was TOTALLY worth it. Only that's when I thought, “Hey, I need more readers; I need more people to review my book. Free, yes, that's what I'll do. Because who doesn't like free stuff? I know I do.”

As I mentioned previously, if you asked me how much I really think my book is worth, then free would definitely not be my answer. No way! In the best of all worlds, I'd price Black Waters at about $3.00. I think that's a fair price because there really are no upfront costs for me when I sell my ebook on Amazon of Smashwords. Also, I personally believe that ebooks should cost less than physical books. Holding an actual book in your hand means something, at least to me. Unfortunately, it seems that even $.99 is a lot on Amazon when there are thousands and thousands of books for sale. So for the next month (through Dec. 18th), Black Waters is free. At least it is on Smashwords. I can't sell it for anything less than $ .99 on Amazon. Trust me, I would if I could.

Lately, I've been reading that a lot of authors are unhappy about other authors offering books for free. And I understand that. I really do. When you put your book up for free, you depreciate the value of everyone else's work. Plus, if readers get accustomed to getting free books, they may feel that they shouldn't have to pay for books at all. Then how will authors make a living? But the problem is that when you're unknown, free might actually help you build a fan base. And that's something every author needs.

Since Black Waters debuted on Smashwords last Thursday, I've had a large number of books downloaded for free. A lot more than fifty, anyway. I do have one concern; however, and that is whether the people who downloaded my book are actually going to read it. I know how it is because I do this myself. You download a free ebook because you think you might like it, but then you never bother to read the thing. Maybe it's because you weren't really a hundred percent interested in it in the first place, and you only took it because it was free. My hunch is that if you had to take out your credit card and type those numbers in to get the thing, then you're more likely to invest the time it takes to read it. I know I'm like that. I've downloaded a countless number of books that I haven't read. I'm planning on reading them; I really am. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. And, do you know what? I think that's okay. It's the territory that comes along with free. But as a writer, I only ask that if you've enjoyed my book for free, please think about leaving a review on either Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads or, preferably, all three. For an unknown like me, reviews are better than money. And yes, dear reader, I'd love to hear what you thought. It's so cool to think that somewhere, someone I don't even know might be curled in a corner reading my book. Well, I hope that someone is you and that you enjoy it!


  1. Hi my name is Kyndal. I loved Black Waters and I couldn't put it down for anything.... Your a really great writer and I can't wait till you finish the second. The ending is really good. You left me wanting to read more :) and yes I was curled up reading it! Very very good!!

  2. Thanks so much Kyndal. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. The next book in the series should be out in December. Thanks for reading!:)