Archive for the Amazon Category

Launch-Day Contest (& giveaway)

The Gender Experiment releases Tuesday, May 24!gender exp

I’m excited about this book and eager to get it into the hands of readers. Sometimes I think of it just as “The Experiment” because it’s different from anything I’ve written. Yet, Agent Bailey, the high-functioning sociopath from Point of Control, is back. And The Gender Experiment is a fast-paced, crime-fiction thriller with multiple points of view, so the focus, structure, and writing will be very familiar to readers.

I hope you’ll give it a try. Beta readers say it’s the best novel I’ve written, and bestselling author J Carson Black says it’s the best book she’s read this year. She calls it “riveting and original” and says she fell in love with the characters.

I could really use your help promoting the book, so I’m hosting a launch-day contest. Anyone who posts a review or social media link to the book will be entered to win a Kindle Paperwhite. I’m also giving away three Amazon gift certificates and a signed print copy. Here’s the universal link: http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

To enter, after you’ve posted, just contact me at lj@ljsellers.com. You can send a screenshot, but I’ll probably go on the honor system. If your email shows up at my other address, that’s okay too. Or if you copy/tag/@ me on the tweet or post, I’ll see it and enter your name.

If you’re willing to read the story and post a review on launch day or soon after (if you like it!), contact me and I’ll send you an ebook. ljsellers.novelist@gmail.com

I’m trying to make the launch support easy, so here are a few posts you can copy and paste on Tuesday.

“Riveting and original” is how readers describe THE GENDER EXPERIMENT, a new thriller by L.J. Sellers. Get one now! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

Check out THE GENDER EXPERIMENT, a new thriller by @LJSellers. “Riveting and original.” Get one now! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC #thriller

A young morgue intern goes after a ruthless military researcher. THE GENDER EXPERIMENT is “riveting and original.” http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

The author of the bestselling Jackson series releases THE GENDER EXPERIMENT. “Riveting and original.” Check it out! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

Thanks for all your support! I love what I do, and I write for my readers, but I couldn’t do this without you.

The Target Launches!

target-cover-v2Finally, the new agent Dallas book is available. I’m excited about this one, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. The print and ebook versions are available now from Amazon, and the audiobook is in production and will release next month. You can also order the book through local bookstores via Ingram.

Here’s the short blurb:
A ruthless corporate war leaves a trail of dead bodies and endangers millions more—can Agent Dallas stop the carnage?

First published review:
“With her latest Agent Dallas outing, Ms. Sellers has once again hit it out of the park.”—Bookbitch.com

Opening paragraph:
Jamie Dallas sat in the open doorway of the plane, resisting the urge to grip the sides. The wind roared like a freight train as she glanced down at the earth ten thousand feet below. A dark shape plummeted under her, about twenty yards behind the plane. She could catch him, but she had to go now. Fear, queasiness, and excitement rolled up into her throat. She crossed her arms and leaned forward, letting herself fall into space.

Order it here.
Thanks for your support!

Jackson Goes International

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

The most exciting thing in publishing now is the ability to easily reach readers around the world. My royalty statements from Thomas & Mercer include payments from the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia. The statement also has label-lines for China, Japan, Brazil, India, and Mexico. These are all places where Amazon has launched online Kindle stores, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I start seeing sales in those markets too. The numbers are small, but I love that people in Brazil may soon be reading my Detective Jackson series.

Even more exciting, the series will launch in the German language next month. The first book, The Sex Club, has been retitled Gefahrliche Tugend, which translates to Dangerous Virtue, and will be released March 4. I have a friend who reads in German and will let me know what she thinks of the translation.

My German editor is very excited about the series and thinks it will be a bestseller. I already belong to the International Association of Crime Writers (just because I like the way it sounds), but how fun it will be to someday add “international bestseller” to my bio.

I’m happy to report that Amazon Crossing decided to keep all the original covers—with slight modifications to comply with local marketing regulations. Which tells me that we did a good job with the covers and that they have a universal appeal.

On a similar note, I recently heard from a reader who asked when my series would be available in Spanish. That seems like an even bigger market, and I plan to suggest to my publisher that they consider more translations. For now though, Secrets to Die For (Jackson #2) is currently being translated into German and will likely release in that language this summer.

As long as I’m spending the blog blatantly talking about my books, I might as well share that my publisher recently sent me a plaque and encased copy of Secrets to Die For—for passing 100,000 copies sold. They had it on sale for $.99 in both the US and UK for a long time!

In other news, the second agent Dallas book will be out May 13, and the ninth Detective Jackson story, Deadly Bonds, will release August 26. If all goes according to plan, the third Dallas book will release around Christmas. But what are the chances of all going according to plan?

Readers: Do you ever read books in another language?
Writers: Have you released books in the German market? Or considered a Spanish version?

It’s Good to Be an Amazon Author

Last weekend I was in Seattle for a conference hosted by Thomas & Mercer that may be the first of its kind. Amazon paid for everything, including meals, leisure activities, and a schwag bag with a Paper White Kindle. (Nice suprise!)

But what was unique was the purpose: to simply say thank you to its authors. It wasn’t a reader convention to build sales, and it wasn’t a writing workshop to develop its authors. The event was simply a gathering of T&M authors so we could meet the Amazon team and socialize with each other. But more important, I heard over and over that the company appreciated me.

There were panels on Saturday, which were open to the public and attended by some local writers, but they were mostly about T&M authors sharing their publishing expertise and getting to know each other. The program started with a great panel about writing for television and movies with Lee Goldberg, Marcus Sakey, Greg Widen, and Johnny Shaw competing to tell the funniest stories. A hard act to follow!

But we did our best on the branding panel that came next with me, Barry Eisler, and Max Collins. That was another unique feature: more men than women. Most reader conventions I’ve attended are predominately female. But Saturday night, I had dinner with eight male authors (and Larry Kirshbaum, the president of Amazon Publishing). I’m sure other women writers had similar experiences of being outnumbered. Overall, Amazon made a great effort to ensure that we all met new people. I chatted with so many authors, it would be weird to name them all here.

Friday was the best day though. After a presentation at Amazon headquarters, we had lunch on the Argosy, then embarked on a cruise of Lake Washington. A beautiful day with perfect 75 degree weather. I got to hang out with J Carson Black, an online buddy I’d never met in person, as well as good friends Andrew Kaufman and Michelle Scott.

Then Friday night we had dinner at the Chihuly Garden and Glass, which had the most stunning display of blown glass I’ve ever seen. The meal itself was in a room made entirely of glass with a hanging glass sculpture running the length. A very special evening that I’m glad I dressed up for.

As an author, this weekend was the first time I ever felt like I was “somebody.” Yet that’s just ego, and it doesn’t really matter. What’s most important is what signing with T&M did for my career this year—introduce me to more readers than I ever dreamed of.

Crimes of Memory (Coming Soon!)

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 8.19.10 PMI got some very good news recently. Crimes of Memory (Jackson #8) will be released October 15 instead of next February. Woohoo! I’m working on copyedits now, the cover is almost done, and I expect to see it listed for preorder on Amazon soon.

I don’t have official back cover copy, but here’s my rough version.

After a leave of absence, Detective Jackson is assigned to investigate the homicide of a man found near a storage unit. Another homeless man is on the scene, his face covered in blood.

In another part of town, a group of eco-terrorists set off a firebomb at a bottled water factory, drawing investigators from the FBI, the ATF, and the Eugene Police Department—who fear another attack is eminent.

Without a full taskforce, Jackson must work the homicide round the clock, and his troubled daughter takes the opportunity to run away. Distracted with worry, Jackson seeks to bring justice for a man who robbed a bank, and in doing so, discovers a shocking connection between the murder and the eco-terrorist crimes.

No Longer Indie

Transition day is here. Before it’s over, I’ll take down all my self-published books, so Amazon can launch its new versions tomorrow. Clicking those “unpublish” buttons will be scary and difficult. For two-plus years, this is how I’ve lived my life. Writing like mad, getting the books ready for publication, uploading them to KDP, and watching over them 24/7 as they compete in a crowded ruthless market.

Thomas & MercerI’ll still be writing like mad and watching my books on the market, but I’ve already stopped doing the production aspect. The other major thing that will change is that I’ll lose control of the pricing and promotion. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, it’s a relief. Watching the rankings—which equal visibility—and constantly adjusting pricing and promotional time & money is a lot pressure.

Not to mention exhausting.

But knowing me, I’ll still be monitoring the ranking/visibility/sales, but I’ll be powerless to do anything. Except email my team at Thomas & Mercer and offer suggestions (or pleas). Which they are very responsive to. But they’ll also be marketing my books and gauging the results, and I trust them to do a great job.

My hope is that I’ll be so pleased with my growing readership that I’ll be able to let go of the daily worry about marketing/sales and focus more on writing. And living. There’s so much I want to do this year. Like take hand-drumming lessons and dance classes. And go on a real vacation.

Most important though is that my books will reach new readers. Amazon can, and will, contact readers who’ve never heard of me. And because I’ll have the credibility of a respectable publisher, many more readers will try my work. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’m also happy to report that Amazon is keeping the prices low.

I’m thrilled with the new covers too. It was a long process, but T&M included me in every step, and I’m happy with the new branded look for both the Jackson stories and the standalone thrillers. I think the branded aspect adds professionalism that readers will be drawn to.

You can see the new covers on my website already, and starting tomorrow, the new T&M versions will be selling on Amazon, B&N (print), and other retailers. It’s another major transition in my eventful writing career, and hopefully, one that will bring me respectability and peace of mind.

What do you think? Do you like the covers? Will Amazon help my books perform better? Readers, are you still on board?

To Serial… or Not?

My eighth Jackson novel is completed, except for the Thomas & Mercer editing process. When I submitted it in early December, I expected it to be released in the fall of this year (2013). But the T&M schedule is full, and Jackson #8 isn’t slotted until next February (2014)—a full year after Jackson #7 releases next month.

Waiting makes me (and most of my readers) crazy, so this schedule isn’t good for me. My editor offered me an alternative: release the book as as a Kindle Serial this spring and summer, which means it will be on the market, in full, by this fall.

But the serial aspect makes me nervous. Even though serial books are clearly labeled—so readers should realize they’re only getting chunks of the story at a time—the books often get bad reviews. Many readers hate waiting for the next “episode” and give the novels one-star ratings. They also use much of their review space to criticize the format.

My editor thinks it’s an opportunity to take advantage of advertising avenues that aren’t offered to traditional books. He thinks it could expand my readership. I like both of those ideas. And I love my editor. He’s been right about many things. But I’m worried about my current readership. They like to read my books in a couple of big gulps. And I like them to rave about “not being able to put it down.”

Of course, readers don’t have to buy it as a serial. They can wait until all the episodes are released and buy the whole book in the fall. But that means waiting three months to buy the book, knowing that some, or most, of it is already available. If you buy it as a serial, it’s only $1.99. I think you pay full price ($4.99) if you wait.

But my biggest concern is that many readers will not understand the serial process. Because I’ve never released a Jackson book that way, they might just see the new story and buy it—without reading all the disclaimers. Lovely, loyal people that they are. But two or three chapters in, the book will stop, and they’ll have to wait a week or so for more.

I don’t like to read that way, and I suspect my Jackson fans don’t either. So I’m leaning toward saying no. What do you think, readers? Does the serial idea appeal to you, especially if you’ll get the story sooner? Or would you rather wait and get the book all at once early next year?

Putting Sex Back in the Series

After all the trouble of taking Sex out of the Jackson series, I’m about to put it back. Some of you may be thinking, It’s about time. But those of you who know the series, know that I was talking about The Sex Club, the first book to feature Detective Wade Jackson.

Late last year, I pulled it as the lead Jackson story and moved it into my standalone thriller category, mostly for political reasons (see blog). The book features a Planned Parenthood nurse and crazy anti-abortionist (protagonist and antagonist, respectively), and I made the change so the first book in the series would be more palatable to all readers.

I worried that some readers would simply be turned off by the title. Many other readers bought the book for the title. Either way, at this point Amazon Publishing/Thomas & Mercer owns the rights, and they plan to market it as part of the series. By the time their version comes out in January with all the other Jackson books—including the new one, Rules of Crime—I’ll have modified my website, bio, and book listings to match up with Amazon’s marketing.

Once again, The Sex Club will be the first title many readers see when they visit my website or see a list of my books. I have mixed feelings about this. I love the story, and I’m proud to be its author. But it’s the only title I have that doesn’t really reflect the crime-fiction genre that I write in. Hopefully readers will look beyond that book and see that I’m really about crime, violence, and death. 🙂

When my kids were growing up, I used to say I’d rather they watched sex scenes in movies than violence, but that’s another subject.

For the record, I could have objected to the strategy to market The Sex Club as a Jackson story. Amazon is very concerned with my input and involves me in all decisions. But I trust them to know what they’re doing. And I’ve felt guilty about moving the book since I made the change.

The Sex Club is different from the others. I wrote it as a standalone with two main characters, one a nurse and the other a homicide detective. So it’s little different from my other police procedurals. But I knew I might bring Jackson back. And for readers who like to start at the beginning of a character’s development, it’s only fair they know about the first book. (Which I’ve tried to do anyway by including phrases like “featuring Detective Jackson” in my marketing text.)

So Sex is back. And it’s a good thing. 🙂

 

Amazon and Amelia

The last six months have been quite busy! In addition to writing a new Jackson story—which seemed to take forever—we’ve been doing our usual daycare for two little nieces, and loads of daycare for our new baby granddaughter, Amelia. She’s a joyful child and I feel blessed to have her in my life. But I’m definitely not writing as much or as fast as I used to. I hope we can all learn to live with that.

The good news is that I have a solid first draft of my next Jackson story! And I’ll send the final version to my editor within the month. The other good news is that my editor works for Amazon Publishing, which bought my entire backlist and my next two stories. For me, this means security, and my readers will benefit too, because I’ll be able to keep writing instead of going back out and getting an office job when book sales get weak. Which they do every summer/fall.

And I’ll have some help with marketing, which will free up writing time for me. I’m very excited to have a publishing partner. It’s been a lot of work and stress making all this happen on my own.

The only sort-of bad news is that this new Jackson book won’t be published until the end of the year. Amazon plans to release their versions of all the Jackson stories at the same time, and they need a few months to produce them. So I appreciate your patience!

Meanwhile, here’s a video of our granddaughter Amelia. She’s the giggliest baby ever, and you can see what I’m don’t get much done when she’s here.

Amelia Hides the Remote

Amelia Likes to Bounce and Laugh

Signing with Amazon

I’ve been sitting on this news for two weeks, and I’m ready to explode. Amazon just offered me an 11-book contract! They’re planning foreign translations, audio books, digital editions etc. It’s so amazing, it’s still not real to me. I was quite happy being a mid-list successful indie author, but this will definitely take my career to the next level. It’s exciting to realize my work will be translated into foreign languages and reach readers I never thought possible.

The only disappointing thing for my readers is that my next Jackson book, which I had planned to release in early July, won’t be published until the end of the year. Amazon wants time to produce new versions of all six of the Jackson novels and release them at the same time the seventh story comes out. It’ll be a grand debut!

They also bought the first book in a new series I plan to start after I finish this Jackson story, and they acquired it on the strength of a one-paragraph description. Which gives me more confidence that the new series is a solid idea.

Even though this sounds like a sudden and unexpected offer, in reality, I submitted two of my standalone thrillers to Amazon last November. I didn’t hear much except to get an occasional email from the editor apologizing for the delay and promising that he still planned to read my work. Then the week before last he emailed to say he was turning me over to a new editor.

Four days later, the new guy called to say he’d read several of my novels and loved them. He also asked a bunch of questions about the Jackson series. That was when it occurred to me that they might be looking at all my work and not just the two standalones. Considering the near misses I’ve had in my writing career, I shouldn’t have let myself think it was possible. But this was Amazon—not Big 6—and Amazon had already changed my life twice. So why not believe it could happen a third time?

The next day my editor—and new best friend☺—took my “project” to an editorial board meeting and it was approved. He called me afterward and made a wonderful offer. I was sitting in my car after dropping off my son, and I managed to stay calm and professional during the conversation. When I hung up, I had to fight the urge to cry.

My greatest feeling now is one of relief—like the pressure is off me for the first time in years. I’m no longer alone in this endeavor, scrambling and writing as fast as I can to stay on top of the competition. I have a supportive and generous partner.

I expect some writers to blast my decision to give up my indie status. Others will accuse me of making a pact with the devil. But I left my small publisher two years ago because I knew I could go farther and make more money if I were self-published. Now I’m making a similar decision. Amazon will take my career to a level I couldn’t reach on my own.

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LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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