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Why I Wrote a Horror Anthology

Coming Summer 2015

Coming Summer 2015

Do you ever feel like you have a thousand things going on at once? I’ve got a full-time job, a pretty demanding family and I have all these side things I love to do. I know people who devote their efforts to one book at a time. When I’m in the zone I can do that, but right now I’m sort out there doing a ton of things instead. I’ve started both Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter Series, Book #3 in the FLYING series and I edited a romantic supernatural thriller I’ve for some insane reason been sending out to agents. (who, by the way 18 out of 25 of them have not responded after 3+ months). So, while I’ve been working on committing to something, I thought about all of the horror short stories I have in my computer, just sitting there. Most I’ve sent out to magazines for consideration. Many got very nice responses, but weren’t picked up. I then said, “why don’t I compile them all together into a book?”

And that’s how RICKET ROW came to be. I took all my horror, vampire, zombie and just plain creepy short stories from 2K – 5K words in length, and the shorter flash fiction pieces that are about 1500 words max, then added the micro flash fiction of 100 words each and then for fun, threw in my 140 character horror twitter tweets. And that’s how I got the anthology together.

It’s at its second beta reader right now, then it is off to a final proofer and formatter and hopefully will be out into the world early summer. My feeling was, I wrote a horror tale called THE MANNEQUINS and it’s a creepy little book that’s getting some really nice responses. So, if folks enjoyed my horror novel, they’ll be sure to like this. Not to mention, now I’ll have another book in my inventory.

If you’d like to check out my horror tale THE MANNEQUINS and get a taste for how I write, feel free to check it out here: http://amzn.to/1DV9Z9V

And if you love the cover for Ricket Row, check out THE COVER COLLECTION. I was simply surfing through the web one day and came across this site and saw their pre-made horror covers, saw how reasonable they were and it was like an epiphany went off to get this book done. They were SUPER NICE and SUPER easy to work with. Seriously, the process with them was painless. I wrote them with three covers I liked, and the copy I wanted the cover to have and asked them for their advice. They responded with which ones they felt would work best. I chose this image and then they sent back 8 different designs with different fonts. I ended up with “design #7.” After I told them I loved it, within about 10 minutes I had the final JPEG version in my hands to use for promotion. Once the book is formatted and I know the page count and get the back blurb together, they will also work on the create space cover for me. All paid through paypal.

So, stay tuned for release news and feel free to check out my other works at my newly revamped web page at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

The Stress of Writing Book #3 in a Series

Porter Montage (1)So, here you are. You wrote your first book in a series and put it out to the world. It’s something you’re excited about, you have a new main hero you think people will love and you have all these characters you want to bring to the world. When I wrote THE HUNT FOR XANADU, I was so nervous. I felt like this was my standout novel. Something I wanted to be smart, interesting and mainstream. I had the same self doubts like everyone else. Was it any good? Would people buy into this fantastical thriller steeped in Buddhist Spiritual mysteries or would I thoroughly embarrass myself?

Thankfully, it was well received. People liked my super smart and fearless Kelsey Porter, her cop boyfriend Desmond and wanted to see more of her brother, Ari. So when I wrote Book #2 in the series, I wanted to up the ante on all of them. But I had some doubts. Would it be as well received as book #1? Did I totally mess up the series with all my fantastical ideas? Was my premise just too crazy? With all the twists, was I trying to be too smart? I didn’t know, but I got the guts and put THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB out to the world just two months ago and people are starting to read it and react to it. Thankfully, they like it so far, (SQUEE!) reviews are coming in and fingers crossed I get more in soon.

So now I’ve started Book #3 in the series and suddenly I realize this is serious. People who have bought into Book #1 and Book #2 are people LIKE ME, who want to read the next book in the series NOW! I’ve already had multiple people ask me when the next book is being released! (gulp) I know what it means to get involved in a favorite series. I can’t get enough of them and wait with bated breath for the next one to come out.

So is this what’s happening now with my books? Can I say I’m getting fans? That is suddenly a lot of pressure and I’m stuck on chapter 5, hoping that I don’t screw this up. I have a wonderful book development editor I work with named Denise Vitola, and I throw things her way all the time. She listened to my ideas and the vague outline for the book and thought they were sound, but had a sage piece of advice that was so important it made me take a step back. You see, this Kelsey Porter series is a “thriller with fantastical aspects,” but I’m a writer who tends to “write fantasy with thriller aspects.” I need to make sure that I soundly keep this book thriller so that I don’t lose my thriller fans, while still being true to the story’s fantastical aspects. But she had another wise piece of advice to help allay my fears. You see, if I’ve gotten readers through Book #1 and Book #2, and they want to read book #3, then it’s pretty certain they’ve already bought into my premise. I just need to keep it real and deliver with the next book.

So for everyone that has read Book #1 and Book #2 of the Kelsey Porter series, thank you so much. I love hearing from you and I love seeing the reviews more than you know. Those reviews help me in so many ways, (even if they are only a line or two). They help with ads and promotions for some sites that won’t let you advertise until you have a certain amount of reviews. Not to mention, it’s great for me to actually hear from readers what they think.

So, Book #3 is 27 pages along so far. I have an idea of what I want to happen and where I want it to go, but no idea how I’m getting there yet. But I’m working on it. When I get immersed in writing a book, the story lives with me and now this one is always in the back of my mind. I may not be physically writing at times, but little scenarios constantly play in my head and I roleplay if scenes work or not. So don’t worry, I’m thinking about Kelsey all the time. I think about Ari, Josh and some other characters that will be new to the series. And yes, you’ll find out what Ari is up to… and I assure you, it’s no good. Well, I guess that depends on what you consider “no good.” 😉

On a final note, while I plow away on Book #3 I’ve also been working on other things. If you were fans of my horror tale, THE MANNEQUINS, I’ve just completed a horror anthology and it is at a beta reader right now. It’s going to be called RICKET ROW and is a collection of creepy psychological horror tales I’ve written over the years. Look for that in early June if all goes well. And lastly, I updated my web page, again. Love to hear what you think of it, so please check it out at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

My BookBub Results… the Good, the Bad and the Not So Ugly…

bookbub Let’s talk about BookBub: This site offers a free daily email that notifies readers about free and discounted novels. Readers choose the types of books they’d like to get notified about — all across a host of different genres and categories. For an author, you WANT to be on that email list, and you pay through the nose to get on it. They’re very selective and only take about 10%-15% of the submissions because they are too booked to run everyone. Not to mention they are sticklers about quality – your cover has to be strong and you have to have a certain amount of good reviews.

Now, every author I know touts BookBub. Everyone said I’d make my money back and thousands upon thousands more if I got in. I was very apprehensive about placing hundreds of dollars down for an ad. I’d done a lot of advertising on various sites over the past three years and I never made my money back on any of them. Not a one. I did free book promotions, too, on KDP Select, thinking it would spur sales of other books. That didn’t happen either.

So I tried BookBub. Authors assured me I would make back my investment, and more. So I applied, and applied, and applied again, and I finally got accepted for THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The promotion was March 6th for 99 cents.

Things were different about my specific promotion than others successful ones I’ve read about. First, my offer was not free. I was doing the promotion for a discounted book at 99 cents. Second, I didn’t have it on KDP select for the borrows, because I had just uploaded it to ibooks. Third, it was in “supernatural suspense,” a smaller category than say, thriller or romance. Fourth, I only gave links to Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon Canada.

According to BookBub, Supernatural Suspense downloads for 99 cents range from 110 – 3050, with average downloads of 1300. The good news is I did hit the lower end of that range, but I didn’t even come close to that average download number, at least not yet, and I’m not sure I will. I paid $230 for this promotion and I haven’t made my money back yet. At this time I’m about $10.45 short. (I’m confidant I’ll make that and a wee bit more before the next few days are out)

So let’s talk sales. Day One I had 492 sales. They didn’t start coming in until after 12:00 noon when the email went out. I was told to sit tight from other authors because over the next two days more will come in. Day two, by 9:00 pm, brought 80 sales. These are not the stellar sales figures many other authors touted, but I’m not unhappy. While I didn’t yet make my money back yet, I’m close and very excited that this many people BOUGHT the novel and I did not have to give it away for free. Does that mean they are more qualified readers? Let’s hope so. And, the really great part is I hit some nice Amazon sales rankings. Here are some highlights:

Sales Rankings Amazon US. #5 in Supernatural Suspense

Sales Rankings Amazon US. #5 in Supernatural Suspense

Sales Rankings Amazon US:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #447 Paid in Kindle Store
#5 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Supernatural
#51 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense
#53 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Suspense

Sales Rankings Amazon Canada:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #220 Paid in Kindle Store
#23 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Suspense
#31 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Suspense

Sales Rankings Amazon UK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #705 Paid in Kindle Store
(would have loved for them to have broken this out by categories)

Some would think not making a killing after two days would make this endeavor a failure. It really isn’t. I have to say to myself, “You know what? 572 people PAID for my book so far. And even if I’m out $10 from this promotion (which I won’t be), I have my book in the hands of people that could very well be return customers. If someone told me “Elyse, pay me $10 and I’ll make sure 572 people buy your book,” would I do it? Heck, yes, of course I would. For the exposure to new readers, for the cool screen shots, for the experience. If I’m fortunate, I’ll get reviews and sales of the sequel and maybe they’ll check out my other books. Right now I see 12 sales of the sequel and one or two sales of other books in my inventory. And I finally broke the UK market. I averaged 1-2 sales a month in the UK normally and with this effort I had over 80 so far. That is pretty cool.

I’ll watch the download figures over the next few days, and weeks, as people suggest. I’m certain that I’ll break even, though the thousands of dollars I was hoping to see was obviously crazy wishful thinking on my part. I won’t lie, this wasn’t as stellar as I thought it would be and I wanted to share my experience so other authors can manage expectations. Everyone touts the successes, but sometimes you just need to read about the mediocre. Still, part of me knows I’d try this again. I have a YA series I’d like to push and guess what? I still won’t do Book #1 for free. I’m tired of the perception that authors need to give their books away. I spent hundreds of hours working on these books and hundreds of dollars producing them. I just don’t have the stamina to give them away. If, and when, I do get accepted to Bookbub again, I’ll do a few things differently. And since I really didn’t lose any money, and hopefully will break even and make a little profit, it really is a win. (except for the two returns that already came in. Who returns a 99 cent book?)

THE HUNT FOR XANADU will remain at 99 cents through 3/9. I’ll continue this exposure with a social media effort, touting the 99 cent sale to all the boards, google+, twitter – the whole enchilada. Then I’ll also grab the screen shots in Canada and the UK and promote on those specific areas. My hope is I can grab a few more sales. I wanted to hit 700… I still have a ways to go.

Feel free to grab THE HUNT FOR XANADU for just 99 cents until 3/9. If you like sequels, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB is out as well.

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

If you do read the novels – please consider leaving a review. I’d truly appreciate it.

A few side notes: The people at Bookbub are nice, efficient and prompt. I had some questions about the promotion, changed some ending dates, etc. They were extremely helpful, clear and accommodating. My e-mail communications with them were a pleasure.

Consider signing up with BookBub for their emails – they really are a great service. Love to hear your experiences with them and if you’ve ever done a paid promotion with them, as well.

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.

How would you like to win one of 5 signed copies of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB?

The Hunt for Xanadu - Book #1 in the Kelsey Porter Series

The Hunt for Xanadu – Book #1 in the Kelsey Porter Series

Hello lovely readers,

Here’s something totally fun! How would you like to be one of five lucky winners to win a signed hard copy of Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter series? I’m launching THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB on February 28th and doing my first Instagram/Twitter contest to kick it off. All 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 and/or Twitter 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. Contest ends on 2/21/15.

Don’t have an instagram or twitter acct? Then feel free to flood my Facebook author page at http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor with the photo and hashtag and TAG me! Good Luck! (and yes, I’ll ship to any winner, wherever they live throughout the world)

Want your photo up on my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com? Check out my “FAN SHOUT OUT” of folks who have already given me their approval to put their photos up. Let me know if it’s cool for you and you, too, can be on my webpage.

Don’t have a hard copy or ebook yet of THE HUNT FOR XANADU? Come on over and grab one here on amazon at:

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

Twenty-two year old Kelsey Porter has dedicated her life to avenging the death of her parents, murdered in their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. Before she can locate the murderers, she has to discover their motives for the brutal crime and finds herself at the epicenter of a Buddhist mystery as old as time. With the help of her companion, Detective Desmond Gisborne, she hunts the killers across the globe and discovers a darkness in her spiritual past that tests the very limits of her soul. Soon she realizes that it is not she who is doing the hunting, but the one being hunted. Kelsey must find a way to survive, while ancient demons attempt to destroy her.

Come join the fun, I’d love to see you and feel free to follow me here:

Twitter: @elysesalpeter

Instagram: elysesalpeter

http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor (give a like to the page)

http://www.elysesalpeter.com for more details.

Soooo, want to hear what THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB is about? Where XANADU took you to Tibet, QUEST is taking you to…. EGYPT!

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.

See you all on social media!

It’s Taken Me Seven Books to Finally Call Myself a Writer

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but when I started writing and publishing my novels, I kept expecting people to “discover what a fake” I was. I mean, I couldn’t wrap my head around calling myself a writer, even though I had a book out.

Then, I published a second one and most people still thought it was a cute little hobby. A cute little hobby I sweated and slaved over, got edited, beta’d, proofed, worked on covers, formatting, advertised, etc. Then, came numbers three and four and people thought, “wow, how adorable, she’s really trying to do this.”

I wondered when the day would come when someone said, “Hey, what do you do?” and I’d say “Oh, I’m a writer.” (without being embarrassed) Is it because I still don’t bring in enough money to actually write full time? Or something else? All I know is that publishing is vastly different than it was twenty years ago. I swear if I had done this back then, I may have been more successful. Well, maybe. For me, now, I’ve accepted that it’s going to be a slow and steady process. My goal has always been to get the books out and THEN to get the series out for each one. I was told I actually did it backwards, that I should have concentrated on one series at a time, but that wasn’t how life worked out. I had single books written, so I put them in market, and as the muse hit me, I wrote the sequels.

And that’s where I am today with the Kelsey Porter Series. I wrote THE HUNT FOR XANADU, which is book #1 in the series and next month I’m publishing THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, book #2 in the series. I have high hopes for this series and my desire is that it continues for many books to come. So, to wrap up this entire post, I guess after this novel finally launches, and I officially have seven books in market, I can officially answer the question, “What do you do?” with “I’m a writer.” (hey, I didn’t even cringe too much writing that!)

FB cover all books

Interested in learning more about this series? I just got a fantastic review from a Top 500 Amazon Reviewer just a few days ago. Feel free to read it here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2LKVFHKRYK06C/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00H6TM1MI

For any writers out there – how many books did it take for YOU to consider yourself a writer? Love to hear!