Archive | February 2015

Book Launch: THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, #2 in the Kelsey Porter Series

Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter series

Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter series

Launching 2/28/15!
Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter Series
THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB

On the heels of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, Kelsey returns from Tibet with Desmond to begin a new life in New York City. But peace is not to come to her. One night, a stranger appears at her door with a note from a man from her past, begging for her aid. It involves her parents and Kelsey leaves for Egypt to learn the truth. But the truth is more than she bargained for. What secrets did her parents hide? Why is she now plagued with odd aches and pains and why is she having nightmares again? Kelsey must find answers and the only way to get them is to confront her demons and solve the ultimate mystery: The Quest of the Empty Tomb.

Kelsey Porter

Kelsey Porter

Book #1, THE HUNT FOR XANADU introduced us to Kelsey Porter who was on a mission to hunt down her parent’s killers. That novel was steeped in Tibetan spiritual mysteries and took us from New York to the monasteries of Tibet. Book #2 starts with Kelsey getting a letter from an Egyptian archaeologist who needs her help, and she believes it stems from a visit she took to see him when she was six. We leave New York and travel to Egypt. This novel is steeped in the lore of the Egyptian sky gods and again, Kelsey learns that everything is not what it appears to be.

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU can be purchased here: Porter Montage (1)

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB can be purchased here:

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

My thanks to everyone that has supported me for these novels. I appreciate you so much. If you can, I’d love for you to consider leaving a review for either novel – it helps more than you know.

Happy Reading and if you ever want to chat about the books, please feel free to email me and sign up for my newsletter here: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact-me.html

And the Winners of my Social Media Contest Are…

What a fun contest that was! For the past month, I asked readers to upload a photo of themselves with my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU and put it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the Hashtag #xanaduquest. Then, on 2/21 I randomly chose five winners to receive a signed hardcopy of the sequel, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, which is launching next week on 2/28. For just a bit more fun, I uploaded a bunch of the contestant’s photos to my webpage for a super cool “Fan Shout-Out.” I won’t lie… I clicked on my own webpage a few times a week just to look at it. 🙂 I still have it up, so feel free to check it out here at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

So, the winners, chosen by a third-party, and in no particular order are….

collageinstagram

Congratulations! If the lovely winners will please contact me via my contact page here: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact-me.html and give me your address, I will mail you a copy of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. Anyone else that wants to get on my newsletter for new releases can fill out their information here as well.

kelsey covers

If you’d like to purchase THE HUNT FOR XANADU, I’ve dropped the price to $2.99 and you can get it here:

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

The book is also available around the globe and in ibooks, too.

Thanks to everyone that entered – it was so much fun and I really appreciate all of you. Catch you next week at the launch and happy reading!

Querying Agents… yet again…

dream bigI think I might be a masochist. The definition is “someone who receives gratification through humiliation and physical pain.” I mean, here I am, I have seven books I’ve indie published and now I’m attempting to get back into the hybrid mix and see if my new fantastical thriller, THE EXPERIMENT, could get picked up by an agent.

You see, all along, I’ve always wanted to have an agent and a publisher behind me. And I did at one point. But life happens, companies fold, agents can’t sell your work and you are left with your polished babies that need to get out into the world.

But, there’s this little part of me that still wants that “space on the bookshelf” or that “acceptability, or cool factor to say I have an agent.” I know, it’s crazy. Is it a validation of my worth? That someone “likes me enough to represent me?” I can make more selling ebooks (though I’m not there yet), but I keep thinking that having an agent and a publishing house behind me will help push me into a situation where the other books might also gain some traction and get better exposure. There’s that added little carrot of “Hollywood TV and Movie dreams” that keeps sitting in the back of my mind, as well.

Maybe I’m a dreamer. I think all of us need to dream to some extent, because if you didn’t dream, how could you ever get the guts to do this in the first place, right?

Which brings me back to THE EXPERIMENT. Starting in 2007, for five years I tried to get this book published. Over those five years I sent the books to twenty-three agents. I did the requisite waiting around for months at a time, giving exclusive reads to those that wanted… waiting two, three, six months at a time for a reply. But no agent picked it up. Then, three years ago I decided to ditch the process and work on getting my other books to market. I’ve done that and now, well, I’m back with this little tale sitting in front of me.

So, I’ve written a synopsis and I’ve started the query rounds again. I forgot how defeating this is. So far I’ve sent out thirteen queries and four responded no. I forgot how much I dislike waiting for people to respond to me. These days a “no” from an agent is not even a “no thanks” but a complete “ignore.” Gosh, I hope that doesn’t happen again. I really hate being ignored. Just tell me it’s not for you and I can deal with that, please. But, being the optimist I am, I’ve decided to answer every single no with another query.

Look, maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I’m not, but if you don’t dream big, you might as well go home.

*********************************************************************************************************

Now, there are just a few more days to enter my contest to win one of five signed copies of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, launching 2/28.

fanshoutoutAll you have to do is upload a snapshot of yourself holding a copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, or of you with the cover showing on your iPad or Phone and UPLOAD it to Instagram, Twitter or my FB author page, with the Hashtag #xanaduquest – Don’t forget the hashtag #xanaduquest as that’s how I’ll find you. I’ll keep a record of all the names and FIVE people will win a signed hard copy of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB in a random drawing. You could even get on my fan shout-out on my webpage! Here’s what it looks like right now!

Contest ends on 2/21/15. Want to grab a copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU? Grab it here:

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

And the best news? I’ve reduced the price of THE HUNT FOR XANADU down to $2.99 where it will now live for its lifetime. Happy reading!

You Found an Error in your Manuscript… and it’s been LIVE for a Year…

I’m going to tell you a little story. Last Friday I had a mini-meltdown. No, seriously. There was ranting and raving. I think I may have thrown something… there were even a few tears. I questioned why I even bother trying to write and publish and the sheer impossibility of ever being able to put something out that’s error-free.

You see, when you’re indie-published, you have this overwhelming need to make sure everything you do is “perfect.” We don’t have the resources of a huge publishing house, their personnel list of umpteen copy editors, proofers, etc… we must do everything ourselves, we must hire our own editors and proofers, then work with beta readers, then possibly even beg and plead with friends, to help proof our books. I sometimes feel like it’s all just too overwhelming, to be honest.

So, back to the meltdown… It all started with me trying to figure out what makes people want to buy my novels. I’m on a lot of social media outlets and trying different things on different sites. I tackled instagram this month and started a hashtag contest for readers to upload my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU with the hashtag #xanaduquest, and they will be entered to win one of five signed hard covers of the next novel in the series, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. It’s been going well so far and I made a “Fan Shout-Out” page on my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com if you’d like to check it out.

So, on Friday, I copy/pasted the first two paragraphs of Chapter One of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, loaded it to Paint, adjusted it and put it on instagram. I was thinking it would be a cool way to entice people to read the first part of the novel and maybe interest them enough to want to read more. Here’s what I posted:

xanaduinstagram

I then promoted it on twitter, google+ and then to my author groups on FB. Well, lo and behold “eagle-eye” editing/proofer friend, Bob Nailor, side emailed me and told me laughingly that I had a few edit problems with this paragraph. I went “stone cold.” Edit problems? How can there possibly be any edit problems? I’ve had this book out for over a year and it’s been scanned through meticulously. He HAD TO BE WRONG.

But he wasn’t. Can you see the errors above? I couldn’t. It actually took me THREE reads to find what Bob was talking about – and he even told me what they were. Apparently there should be a comma after the word “drugged” but more importantly, there should be the word “be” after “reckoning it would” – which I obviously missed. Not to mention I see a spacing issue, too, between “an impressive.” But you know what kills me? What made me have my mini-meltdown? I published this book December of 2013. I had an editor, a proofer and six people sifted through it before it went live. I read it myself easily fifteen times. I had six updates I put on both Kindle and Createspace because people kept finding errors. But no one found this… until Friday. No one found this error IN THE FIRST CHAPTER, until Friday. The mini-meltdown happened for about twenty-five minutes where I decided I was going to quit writing, that I was an utter hack and maybe the books hadn’t gotten traction because they are “riddled” with mistakes.

And then my writing friends talked me down. My book isn’t RIDDLED with mistakes. It’s missing a “be” and it’s one of those words the mind actually adds as you’re reading the copy. Most people probably never even noticed. (well, unless you’re Bob Nailor). I’ve calmed down, fixed the document and re-uploaded the fixed document to both kindle and createspace – I’ll have to figure out how to fix the copy on ibooks.

What I learned? You can’t be perfect. I can’t tell you how many errors I find in mainstream published books coming out of big publishing houses, but yet as Indie Authors, we feel this need for perfection and I wonder if I simply have to stop expecting myself to be perfect, because I obviously am not. I may be putting too much stress on myself. Mistakes happen, and we are all human. The good news is since I am indie-published, I have the control to be able to fix these errors when I find them. If I had a mainstream published book, it would not be as easy. In less than 25 minutes I re-uploaded the novel without these mistakes and I moved on with my life… (of course, I try not to cringe, knowing how many people purchased my novel with this mistake, and the hard copies sitting in my closet that I use for book signings have this mistake, but what’s done is done)

FYI – Do you need another pair of eyeballs to proof your work? Maybe give Bob a call – he’s also a proof-reader, author and editor by trade, and obviously a good one. You can reach him here and he’s very reasonable: http://www.bobnailor.com/index_b.php?type=b

And, if you’d like a copy of the novel WITHOUT THESE ERRORS, (sigh), feel free to get it here: http://amzn.to/1JXHtul and hey, come join the contest – I’m giving away five signed hard copies of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. It’s at the formatter right now. Launch date: 2/28. I’m trying not to obsess what mistakes I possibly missed in THAT. Sigh…

Why run a #Hashtag Contest on Social Media

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

There is so much noise in social media that sometimes it’s hard to be heard. A hashtag (used with the # symbol) is a great way to “target” a particular topic so that you and your fans can search for it easily. I’ve used hashtags regularly for Twitter events, such as #FP for Friday Phrases – which is a weekly micro-fiction game on Fridays, #mondayblogs where people search for blogs to read each week on Mondays, or #writerskaboodle, where readers can see interviews with Sezoni Whitfield on twitter and facebook. Authors, definitely check out her Writer’s Kaboodle blog. She does author Q&A’s on twitter and FB you can have your own live event – fastest 30 minutes OF MY LIFE! You can also use a hashtag to find things that you’re interested in. #thrillers, #free, #gardening, #cooking, #recipes – you get the idea. To add a hashtag to a post, all you do is write the post and then add the hashtag to it. Then, if you ever wish to search this particular hashtag and anything related to it, you go into ANY search area on any medium, type it in and you can see all the related posts to that particular hashtag. If you don’t like posting, but reading particular topics, just type it in and find what you’re looking for.

I decided to run an instagram and twitter hashtag contest for the launch of my next book. I wanted to generate some excitement (and, truth be told, I wanted to learn instagram and this seemed to be a great way to quickly jump into it). Each person that uploads a photo of them holding my book THE HUNT FOR XANADU (either hard copy, on their phone or iPad) and in comments includes the hashtag #xanaduquest is entered to win one of five, signed copies of the next book in my series, launching 2/28. I’ve then asked for permission to put their image on my web-page and now I have a whole “Fan Shout-Out” on the front page of my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com (and to the fans who have so far participated and those that allowed me to put up your photos – you have no idea how thankful I am, nor any idea how unbelievably cool it is for me to simply stare at that page)

I also announced the contest to my Facebook author page and boosted that post $15 so far – I plan to do a few dollars every week until I hit $20 and have had over 2200 people see it now, gotten over 70 likes and lots of comments. BUT, what I can tell you is that many of my readers have uploaded their photos on the Facebook stream with the #xanaduquest hashtag. What I’m finding is that many of my readers are ONLY on FB and not on twitter or instagram. As a result, I’m allowing those people to be part of the contest as well, and their photos are up on my webpage, too. By doing this contest I’ve now learned where a lot of my readers are coming from and that is extremely helpful to know.

It’s hard enough to get people to actively do things – but to get them to actually upload a photo? I’ve had about 10 people upload photos right now and I’ve had a bunch of sales of THE HUNT FOR XANADU since I started this. I even got a review in, so I have to think this is a successful contest so far. It’s going to run until 2/21, so my hope is that I get double the amount of people and simply fill the webpage and possibly even be lucky enough for my hashtage #xanaduquest (a mix of The Hunt for Xanadu and The Quest of the Empty Tomb) to “trend.” Trending is when a hashtag gets a lot of play and people start using it. If you go to twitter, instagram or Facebook right now and plug that hashtag in the search area, in you’ll see a bunch of entries across the board.

Other ways I’ve promoted this contest:
It’s now on my profile on my instagram acct, I promote on twitter, directing to my webpage, google+, FB author page, here on wordpress, and created a goodreads event about this (though I can tell you only 4 people out of nearly 4000 at this point have even responded – goodreads is better with free books, giveaways, listopia lists and launch event information in my opinion). I may use my regular FB page mid February for one last push for folks who might not have remembered to enter.

If you’ve read The Hunt for Xanadu, please consider entering the contest. I’m giving away randomly one of five signed copies of book #2 in the series – and this is open worldwide – I will ship to wherever a winner resides. You can grab your copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU here: http://amzn.to/1JXHtul

I’m always looking for new ways to interact with readers – so if anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to share. I’m all ears.