Tag Archive | The Hunt for Xanadu

The Day my Novel Got on Jeopardy!

jeopardy-full“I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex…”

So, on October 25th I get an IM out of the blue, from a friend. It goes something like this (shortened it a bit – but you’ll get the point):

Jen: Umm were you a question just now on Jeopardy???? A woman hunts for the murderer of her parents… in the mythical home of Kubla Khan…answer what is The Hunt for Xanadu !!!!
Me: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? That’s impossible… You’re joking with me…
Seriously, stop. There’s no way, they are supposed to be questions that are mainstream.

Jen: I recorded it. I will try to show you give me a few
Me: How is that possible?! You’re pulling my leg. (I completely don’t believe her. Thinking she is entirely joking with me)

Jen: I Googled The Hunt For Xanadu and yours is only one I saw! I don’t care I’m telling all my friends that I have a friend whose book was the answer/question on Jeopardy just like Lincoln Child. Lol you are mainstream now!
Me: Hmmmmmm, I’ll believe it when I see it (this conversation went on in this vein for a while – still not buying it, but man that is a great joke)

But then, I sort of freaked out. Could this be possible? So I start searching and then contacting friends who are good at finding things. Frank Tuttle (a genius at stuff like this), found a fan site that keeps track of every answer and clue. And guess what? IT WAS THERE. Not a little there. Not “could it be my book?” It WAS my book. After I caught my breath, I had to track down my California friends and family to see if they could tape it for me, since Jen’s tape didn’t work, and sure enough, it was the first question of the night. The icing on the cake would have been if Alex Trebek had additionally said my name, but it’s still okay. I mean, MY NOVEL WAS ON JEOPARDY! Here’s the video clip. Thank you Lisa Jey Davis!

So folks, “I’ll take Thrillers & Mysteries for $200, Alex.” And they got it right.

I’ve been wanting to get my books to Hollywood, so I guess you can say, I made it! 🙂

Feel like grabbing the book for yourself? It’s part of a series if you love spiritual thrillers.

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Amazingly, many of my friends watched the show, saw the question, but didn’t immediately connect it was my book. It was a “why do I know this answer?” sort of thing. Though my lovely Aunt Trudy told me she knew the answer right away!

So, Enjoy! (and Jennifer – you are the bomb! Thank you for catching this for me, or I never would have known!)

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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

I Got a 2 Star Review… and Didn’t Even Flinch.

2 starsAuthors seem to live and die by reviews. That moment you check your amazon author page and see that a new review has come in is both thrilling and terrifying. At least it WAS to me. Now… not so much.

You see, two weeks ago, out of the blue, I landed in the hospital for a full week with a severe pan colitis attack. One moment I was running around NYC without a care in the world, and the next, well, I wasn’t. The scary thing is that there is still no real diagnosis, except that I couldn’t eat or drink and the only thing keeping me going for days on end was IV fluids. It was one of the most disgusting, painful, and frankly, frightening experiences I ever endured and needless to say, there were some pretty dark times. I watched my skin dry up before my eyes, my weight plummet, and now even a full week out of the hospital, I’m not back to where I was and the doctor said it could take two to three weeks more to feel like my old self and stop holding my stomach when I walk. Sigh… (I am getting better every day though, so there is light at the end of this tunnel). But, back to the topic of this blog.

You see, right before I was admitted to the hospital, I’d just completed a Book Bub promotion for my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The promotion went well and I sold a nice amount of books, so I was expecting some reviews to come in for that, along with the sequel.

Well, when I got out of the hospital and finally had the energy to turn on my computer, I decided to pull up my amazon page, and, lo and behold there was a new review for The Hunt for Xanadu. A brand new spanking 2 star. Here it is if you’d like to read it: “This is one of those rare instances where they probably need to make a movie to appreciate this book more poo. Unfortunately the descriptions were hard for me to imagine and found myself glazing over certain areas of the book. This seems like a movie that turned into a book.” Yes, it actually says the word “poo.” I wish they were able to edit themselves so I actually could find out what they really meant to say.

Now, in my previous, “un-fighting for my life author brain” I would have freaked out and been so upset by this two star review. Now? I looked at it, and still look at it, and it’s like it has absolutely no impact. I sort of shrug and say, “Meh, sorry you didn’t like it…” and move on. Truth be told, I kind of like the review – the book should be a movie and I’m still happy the person bought it and took the time to read and review it. Come on, not every book has all 5 Star reviews… it also gives my novel some sort of weird validation. Still, the hope is that people will take the time to write a review, even if it is only a few lines.

So what I want to leave you with is this. Yes, bad reviews hurt your feelings and impact your rankings, but they mean nothing. Not in the scheme of life. It’s someone else’s perception of a personalized piece of your work, just like artwork, choice of clothing, food, home decoration, anything subjective. Let it go. Read the good reviews. Relish in them. Maybe find something relevant in the bad review to take away, but don’t dwell. At the end of our days no one is going to be bringing up our two star reviews at our eulogies. They’re going to bring up all the wonderful glories we brought to the world. I promise you that.

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.

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!

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!