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The Quickest Amazon Giveaway on the Planet….

giveawaySo, Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter series launched. Right before this I decided to try out the new Amazon giveaway for Book #2. I’ll be honest, most times trying to get people to enter giveaways is so hard, that I wonder if it’s even worth it to do them.

I’ve done Goodreads giveaways and gotten possibly 600 people to enter. I’ve done FB, instagram and twitter giveaways and maybe 20 come in. This give-away you can pick how you want it to run. I gave away five books with a one in ten chance. I thought it would take all day for this to go. I put it out on twitter, Facebook, google+ and by the time it hit my newsletter folks, the giveaway was already over!

Yes, over. And here’s what’s weird. Four of the people that won were “A” names, the last name I couldn’t even pronounce, and I knew none of them. You’d think if I were first promoting to my own people, I’d know at least one of the winners, but I didn’t.

Next time I do this I’ll do a 1 in 100 chance to win. (or 1 in 300) As of now, I basically only engaged 50 people in this. Not efficient at all, and I had to pay for five ebooks, full price. (yes, I’ll get the royalties, and yes, it helped in my rankings for a spell, but it was roughly $20 for what seemed like a five minute giveaway and not even one review from it.)

I just thought I’d share my experience. Definitely something I’d do again, but I’d up the amount of people that need to enter to win the books, and play around with how many books to give away. I think the sweet spot is at least 500 entrants. Worst thing that happens is people don’t enter and you have a few books leftover you simply can gift to other people. They’re ebooks, so it’s not like the outlay is that huge.

Have you done one to great success? Love to hear.

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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.

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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!

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!

How many social media sites can I possibly be on? No… really, how many?

social mediaOk, let’s talk social media and how many platforms should we be on? I have read so much about this and the consensus is you can’t be effective on every single one if you are on too many at once. (unless you have no life, never sleep and work them 24/7, which is unrealistic) I do Twitter, FB (communities and groups), Goodreads and Google+ (communities and groups), Pinterest regularly (and my blog) and built up, through hard work and sweat, excellent followings. I’m even on Linkedin but I do this strictly for work and my day job. But being active on all of these outlets is very time-consuming and frankly, I’m seeing some sales, but not as much as I’d expect with the amount of followers I have on some of these platforms (I mean, I have over 150K on google+ so what’s the point?). Now, there are some authors that say I should also be on Tumblr and Tsu and others as well. I guess at the end of the day I just want to know “Where Are My Readers?”

The other day I chatted with a woman who does promotions for authors. We were discussing her services, I explained what I do and she took a peek at my activity and she said “you actually do more than I do for my own clients.” Okay, then what does that mean? I’m active on so many social media sites, and I get tons of conversations, but how do I translate that to consistent sales? I honestly don’t know.

She suggested I start looking at bloggers. I said “but “I’ve been on a ton of blogs.” She said, “no, get on the RIGHT blogs. The fandoms, the biggies.” So, now I’m thinking about how to find book bloggers, and will start spending some of my social media efforts on finding these people.

Where’s the easiest place for me to find book bloggers? Turns out on Instagram. I’ve done some small little things are Instagram, but true to form, now I want to conquer it. So, I updated my profile, started following book bloggers and started to learn how this works. The ins and outs, the hashtags, the little nuances that Instagram offers that are different than FB, Twitter, and all the other sites. The first thing I can tell you is that younger people are on there. The teens and twenty year olds. People in their 30’s, definitely 40’s and 50’s, are on Facebook. I hardly see the kids on there unless they’re following adults who only put information on FB and that’s the only way they can reach them.

So, how many social media sites can I possibly be on? Apparently a lot. So how about following me on them? I love to interact with people and I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me on any of them here:

Instagram user name: elysesalpeter
Twitter: @elysesalpeter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115455594389801672671/posts?tab=XX
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3054679.Elyse_Salpeter
Blog: http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elysesalpeter/elyse-salpeter-author/

And lastly, want to know about new releases? Come on over and sign up for my newsletter: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact-me.html

As for tumblr (sorry, ain’t happening yet – I can’t even figure out how to get off the first page), tsu (sort of like FB but I’m too invested in FB to worry about this yet), Stumble Upon (I’ve got an account and never used it) Reddit (not quite sure what this is), flickr (completely not sure what this is), myspace (is that even still around?), youtube (yeah, I’ve put some book trailers up there) and the others? I think I’m maxed out for now, thank you very much.

Of course, if there is something new and BIG, something that will help me reach readers better – please let me know. I do love to hear about the newest stuff out there.

The Allure of the Give-away…

Come enter to win...

Come enter to win…

I love contests. As a kid, I was the one that got suckered and would send out money (my meager dollars) to those bogus contests where “just send $5 and you get an extra twenty chances to win $10,000!” And then the next letter would come, telling me that I’d “progressed and to send more money and I’d be up to win the $1,000,000 grand prize!” I believed all of it. When my father found out what I’d been doing, he freaked and sat me down and explained to me that these contests were complete shams. (not to mention how illegal it must have been to take money from a kid)

But the allure of contests never left me. I used to enter them all the time. I got the free cans of food, a few watches, some pens, once tickets to a basketball game, and my biggest haul was a Weber Charcoal Grill that sat under my kitchen table in NYC for three years since we didn’t have a balcony to use it (thankfully we eventually moved and were finally able to break that baby open).

So, now I like to actually DO giveaways and have one going on Goodreads for my novel THE MANNEQUINS. Until December 24th, people can enter to win a free hardcopy of the book here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/119558-the-mannequins

In the deep woods of California, there’s an old decaying mansion with a terrible secret. When any enter its doors, the house claims them, propelling them to a land in a different reality, run by a man who calls himself, the Preacher. If you play by his rules, you live a life of luxury, but if you displease him? With a flick of his wrist, you are transformed into a living doll, a mannequin, and there is no escape… until the madman is done playing with you.

Sorry that it’s only open to US Peeps – the next give-away I’ll open up to folks overseas. If you enter, or for those who can’t, please consider also putting it on your shelf. If you don’t win, you can always check it out another time. If you just can’t wait and the book sounds SO GREAT that you just have to have it right now, well, by all means, click here for it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/12YQVwR

So tell me, do you love to enter contests? What’s the biggest thing you’ve won so far?