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The Anatomy of a pre-order Incentive

Happy Monday!

I have revisions and outlines and freelance work (and let’s face it, household chores) to do, so of course I thought it would be the perfect time for a blog post so that I can procrastinate all of that. (If you’d like me to be your role model, applications are on that desk over there.)

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade releases in 43 days (EEK!) and I’m deep in the middle of my own pre-order incentive, and I thought I’d share a bit about the whys and hows and whats of pre-order incentives. (I’m going to call it POI from now on since I’m lazy.) If you’re an author, you’ve probably done something similar yourself, or you might be considering it, and I’m here to share my experiences with you.

What is a POI?

It’s a campaign that gives you free stuff if you pre-order a book. Usually bookish swag, bookmarks, book plates, stickers, etc. Sometimes there’s a grand prize so that one of the people who pre-order will get an extra prize at the end of the campaign. It usually runs a few months before the book releases and ends on release day.

There are 2 types of POIs – one that’s publisher sponsored and one that’s author sponsored. Publisher sponsored POIs are pretty rare and you’ve probably seen them for huge books that have big name authors and big budgets. This would obviously be the ultimate POI because the publisher foots the bill and the author benefits. I’m not that lucky. I fall into the category of author sponsored POIs, so I’m sharing my experiences and insight with hosting a POI myself.

Why do a POI?

Pre-orders are VITAL to a book’s success. Sure, a book can succeed without high pre-order numbers, but authors want to give their book the best launch possible. Pre-orders count toward first week sales to get a book on the NYT list or other best seller lists. The main benefit of pre-orders is that it tells the publisher this book is worth it. Publishers might determine how many books to print based on how much buzz the book gets before release day. If you can get a good number of pre-orders, it makes the book more valuable to the publisher’s eyes.

And it’s not just about money. Seriously. I don’t ask people to pre-order my book because I’m foaming at the mouth to get the small percentage of royalties. 99% of authors aren’t rich, myself included. It’s a sad fact that most books don’t even earn out their advance, so getting a bunch of pre-orders could still mean you never see another dime from that book again. So, it’s not about money. It’s about author longevity. The simple and terrifying fact of publishing is that if I don’t sell enough copies of this book, no publisher will want to publish me again.

Authors have a lot of books in us. We don’t want to be one hit wonders. We want to keep publishing year after year, getting our stories out into the world. Publishing has become so much more competitive in the last decade, especially in YA, and authors have to bust their butt to stand out and be noticed. I’m one of those small fish in a huge pond, and even after getting my dream agent and book deal, I have never felt like I wasn’t swimming upstream, nearly out of breath, close to drowning. But if anyone can do it, we can, because authors are a stubborn bunch.

How do I set it up?

Make a dedicated page on your website. Post pictures of your incentive gifts, list out the rules, and include a link to claim the swag. Link it on the home page. Pin it to your Twitter profile. Make it as noticeable and accessible as possible! You want people to see it! I used a Google Form to collect people’s information to send them the swag. (It’s free to set this up through Google.) I also have Google set up to email me every time the form is filled out, that way I can mail it out the same day. If you don’t have that much time, or expect a lot of pre-orders, you can turn this feature off and just check it once a week or so. I encourage you to check out other POI pages to get a feel for how to set yours up. Make sure you include an official cut off date (mine is the day before my book releases).

I also allow people to claim my POI if they request my book from their local library. I think it’s important to include people who can’t afford to buy the book, especially since my target audience is teens and teens don’t have much money. I give all the same pre-order gifts except the signed book plate to people who request it from the library. Libraries are an excellent resource and a huge benefit to authors. Utilize them!

Should I do a POI?

Firstly, it’s going to cost a lot of money.

Secondly, I think it’s worth it. So yes. If you can, do it.

So what’s my POI?

Here’s my POI swag:

  • Signed Bookplate
  • Bookmark
  • Wish Bracelet (that I made myself. I even designed the card myself!)
  • Sticker
  • Postcard

For my POI, I ordered enough swag to make 100 packages:

  • Postcards $32.99
  • Bookplates $54.49
  • Bookmarks $40.72 (had to order twice since my PO lost the first order, but I won’t include that)
  • Bracelet cards $20.63
  • Bracelet cord $7
  • Bracelet charms $12
  • Stickers $48.46
  • Envelopes $5.99
  • Stamps $49
  • International Stamps (x10) $11

GRAND TOTAL: $282.28 for 100 POI packages. (Technically $40.72 more because my post office SUCKS but I digress..)

That’s $2.82 spent per POI that I mail out. This doesn’t count the fee I paid to a graphic designer to design the print files for my swag, but I would have paid that regardless of doing a POI.

It costs more money to send out a pre-order gift than I earn in royalties for a book sale. (It’s 3x more than the royalties for a paperback). Again, I’m not doing this for the money! I’m doing it to boost my book in any way possible. I want SASHA to succeed so badly. I’ve worked for ten years to see my name on the cover of a hardback book in a book store and come October 2, it’ll finally happen!

Maybe I’m selfish, but I want to do it again. So I’m pouring everything I have into promoting this book in the hopes that I’ll be able to sell another book down the road.

If you are an author, I definitely encourage you to host your own POI. Do it within your budget and chose swag that relates well to your book. I get so excited every time my Google form emails me to say someone has filled it out. That’s one more sale! That’s one more chance at continuing my dream! It’s definitely worth it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on POIs in the comments, or if you’re an author with questions, shoot me a message. I’m happy to help!

Novel Aesthetics for The Last Wish of Sasha Cade

Now that my book releases in 74 days (eek!) I’ll be attempting to blog every Friday leading up to it. Giving my track record with blogging, I probably won’t be successful, but I’ll try. Today I’m sharing some Novel Aesthetics of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade with some photos I found on Pinterest. To see the full inspiration board click here.

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I am also completely in love with the aesthetics from abookin6pictures on Instagram! I was so excited to see her interpretation of the book because it’s so spot on. I really love the pool, the coffee, and the sunset. They illustrate such important parts of the book! Check out her post here:

abookin6pictures

The Last Wish Of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A post shared by YAPictureBook (@abookin6pictures) on

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The Last Wish of Sasha Cade releases on October 2, 2018. It’s up for preorder now, and you can get special swag if you preorder! Click here for details.

Interview with Marci Lyn Curtis + ARC Giveaway!

I have been terrible at blogging this year, but I am excellent at giveaways! My imprint sister, Marci Lyn Curtis, has an outstanding novel releasing on September 4th. Trust me, you’re going to want to read this book. And if you’re lucky, you might win it in my ARC giveaway below! Check out this interview with Marci, and then find the giveaway link below.

 

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor. 

Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. 

People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most? 

Marci Lyn Curtis, the critically acclaimed author of The One Thing, has crafted an honest and emotional story that will resonate with the wide range of readers impacted by sexual assault. 

Sexual assault does not define this story, however, just as it does not define Grace. Wry humor and true love emerge as Grace, like many in the #MeToo era, seeks to find her truth, face her truth, and speak her truth.

 

Your new novel, THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW, releases on September 4th from KCP
Loft. Tell me how you first got the idea for the book.

The basic idea for THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW came to me like all of my ideas do—it
just landed in my head and invaded my thoughts until I finally broke down and started
making notes. Eventually those notes grew into a folder, which grew into a clumsy first
draft, which grew into a story that has become extremely close to my heart.

This book deals with powerful subjects and is heartbreaking and yet empowering. How
did you handle writing such tough topics?

Not going to lie, this was a tough book to write. But I found that if I let the story slide
between heartbreak, humor, and heart, it helped take the edge off.
(And when that didn’t work, there was always wine.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft? Are you an outliner or a wing-it kind of
writer?

Oh God. I’m a total failure at outlining. I never actually know how a storyline will jive
until I start writing it. So I definitely wing it, at least at first, so I can play with the plot
and the characters to see how everything comes together. It’s totally inefficient—it takes
me a full year, sometimes longer, to produce a first draft—but it’s the only system that
works for me.

How long have you been writing, and when did you first know you wanted to be a
writer?

While I’d played around with some poetry and short stories just for fun, I didn’t really
start writing until 2012, when I wrote my first book, The One Thing. The premise for
that story had been bugging me for years, and I just couldn’t shake it, so I started
making notes, just to get it out of my head. Once I was finished, though, I was surprised
that it actually resembled a book, so I showed it to a few friends and some family
members, who encouraged me to try to find an agent. So I never actually set out to be a
writer in the beginning—I just sort of fell into it. I consider myself very fortunate.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

At my kitchen island, because it allows me to vary between sitting and standing when
I’m writing for long periods of time. (Also—hello—my M&Ms are always within reach.)

If you could steal a fictional character and put them in one of your novels, who would it
be?

Oh man, I would love to steal Luna Lovegood. Because, honestly. I adore that girl.

What’s next for you?

I’m knee-deep in this truly fantastic project right now. I can’t say much about it, except
that it’s totally (terrifyingly) different from anything I’ve ever written.

 

I want to thank Marci for giving me this interview! Make sure you add The Leading Edge of Now to your Goodreads TBR list!

About the author

Marci Lyn Curtis is a critically acclaimed author of young adult dramedies THE ONE THING and THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW. She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband. You can find out more about Marci on her website (marcilyncurtis.com), on Twitter (@Marci_Curtis), on Instagram (@marcilyncurtis), or on Facebook (marcilyncurtis).

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

 

Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter to win an ARC of The Leading Edge of Now plus a signed bookmark! Open until June 30, 2018. Open internationally!

Enter here

Pre-order The Last Wish of Sasha Cade and receive exclusive gifts!

I am so excited for my first hardcover book! This is also my first agented book, which makes it very special to me. To celebrate, I’m giving away exclusive swag to everyone who pre-orders The Last Wish of Sasha Cade. You can pre-order the hardback or paperback (both release on the same day) before October 1st, 2018, and fill out the form to receive the gifts.

Here’s what you get:

  • A signed bookmark
  • A sticker (it’s super cute)
  • A signed bookplate (personalized, if you want)
  • A wish bracelet.

I also have a grand prize that will be given to one winner chosen at random from all of the people who pre-order. Woot!

To find out more info, or to request your gifts, head over to my Pre-order page.

Why should you pre-order?

A high number of pre-orders tells bookstores that this book is in demand, and they’re more likely to order it for their store. Libraries (including schools) are more likely to order a copy, and most of all, it tells my publisher that they should take a chance on me with a second book deal. 🙂

Plus, you get all this cute swag!

And did you know that if you pre-order on Amazon, they will only charge you the lowest price? For example, books are priced at $17.99, but Amazon always discounts them (usually to around $12) when the book goes on sale. So, if you pre-order at $17.99, Amazon won’t charge your credit card until the book releases, and you’ll get the cheapest price they’re offering it for. It’s called the Pre-order Guarantee. Win win!

Interview with Alisha Sevigny, Author of Summer Constellations

 

I recently read an ARC of Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny and I loved it so much I had to make sure as many people as possible know about this young adult novel. So I reached out to her and got an interview.

Your new novel, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS, releases on May 1st from KCP Loft. Tell me how you first got the idea for the book.

As a writer we are always pulling bits and pieces from our lives and this book is very close to home. I grew up in a large family in a pretty remote part of Canadian wilderness.  My parents couldn’t afford to fly us all out for family vacations every year so we did a lot of camping. I remember lots of road trips all over the countryside, alternately reading books in the back seat (didn’t get car sick back then) and scrapping with my sisters and brother in our massive suburban. “She’s on my side of the seat!” 😉

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

I’m a pretty slow writer and the first draft took a while. It’s hard to say because I’m one of those people who goes back and fixes things up as they write so by the time they’re done they have a pretty polished first draft (the con side being that it takes FOREVER). Maybe a year or two?

I absolutely love the campground setting. Where did you get the inspiration for it?

The campground is based on one just outside my hometown. The Pacific West Coast is magical and something everyone should check out once in their lives. The trees there are enormous old growth temperate rainforest and it’s very wild and rugged, but stunning.

Do you have any songs or playlists that remind you of the book?

I actually made a playlist for this book which I am putting on Spotify (once I figure out how). I tried to include songs that bring back those warm summer nights, swimming under the stars and first love…

How long have you been writing, and when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I used to write poetry then stopped once I got to university and learned how bad it was. I started up again after I had my first baby. I wrote my first book, KISSING FROGS, on paternity leave which we took in Panama (where the book is set) where I was inspired by local culture and myths. Canadians get one year off and my husband’s work topped up his salary so we were very lucky to do that. SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS was started after we took our second paternity leave in San Jose Del Cabo (we only have children so we can travel ;). There will be no more babies but hopefully lots more books!

If you could only take three books with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

Hmmm. Probably the first three of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager). I’ve read it over and over and find something new in it each time. She’s one of the best writers out there.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

I write anywhere, usually in the middle of chaos, but my favourite place is preferably on a balcony in a tropical country, where I can see or hear the ocean. We are an urban family in a big city and don’t own a house OR car which we make up for by trying to travel a bit more. I grew up surrounded by ocean and mountains and I really miss it and find nature stimulates my creativity.

If you could steal a fictional character and put them in one of your novels, who would it be?

Hmm, this is tough. I do have a MG series set in Ancient Egypt I’m working on and the main character Sesha, daughter to the Pharaoh’s royal physician, is a bit how I’d imagine Claire from Outlander would be (if she were a young girl who growing up in Ancient Egypt).

What’s next for you?

I’m also trying to finish my next YA contemporary called Palm of My Hand, about an intuitive palm reader and her mother, who’s a tarot-reading fortune teller. I’m pitching it as a pinch of Jane the Virgin meets Practical Magic.

 

Thanks, Alisha!

Want to know more about Summer Constellations? You can find it on Goodreads, or pre-order it on Amazon. I’m also giving away an advanced reading copy! Use the link below to enter by April 29th. Open internationally!

Giveaway

Enter to win an ARC of Summer Constellations. 

2018 Spring YASH is here!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 8th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting Steven Dos Santos on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Steven dos Santos is author of THE TORCH KEEPER novels, a Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic series. Book One, THE CULLING, was released by FLUX Books in March of 2013, and named an American Library Association 2014 Rainbow List Top Ten Selection. His novel, DAGGER, a Young Adult Paranormal Espionage Adventure, was released by Evernight Teen in September 2015! He is a passionate advocate of LGBT rights.
 
Find out more information on Steven’s website here!
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
 

This is a deleted/alternate scene in The Culling, when malevolent Slade plunges the Recruits into the Sea, shortly after their first meeting. Originally, the entire second act of the novel depicted Lucian and the gang battling the elements, trying to reach the main compound as one big survival test. During revisions, the middle of the novel evolved into more of a training segment, which made greater sense, given the Recruits lack of military skills. Unfortunately, this little hallucinatory snippet, which highlights Lucian’s love for his mother and brother, Cole, as well as his fears, was lost on the cutting room floor.

 

I somersault through the air. My stomach roils as it struggles to keep up with the rest of me. Then I plunge down the same endless tunnel my mind’s been tumbling through ever since the last time I saw Cole on Recruitment Day, his face growing further and further away the more I reach out to him. Icy needles rip through my skin. Something punches the breath from my lungs. I try to gasp, but my mouth fills with salty ice.

So this is what it feels like to drown. Many times I thought death was a visitor to be welcomed, but now that it’s knocking at my door, I want to bolt the lock shut, run away, cower in some dark place where it won’t find me.  My body convulses.  Each jerk pumps fear into my veins. As the darkness envelops me, my last thought is that I’ve failed my little brother before I’ve even begun.

The blackness turns to a murky gray, growing lighter and lighter until my eyes squint

against bright sunshine.  I’m in a lush field, painted in the most vivid green I’ve ever seen.  Standing as tall as my eyes can see is The Lady from Cole’s story, her torch burning brightly, book clutched to her bosom.  She’s staring off at her gleaming city, a skyline of the tallest structures I’ve ever seen.

Then she turns her gaze on me. Huge eyes pierce my flesh.  I bow my head.

Shame washes over me. I’m unworthy to meet the benevolence seeking me out.

“Lucian,” her voice calls, and I shrink from its power. But I’m drawn to it like a tired sun

to the western sky.

When I gather enough courage to meet her eyes, she smiles at me. I gasp. It’s no longer

the Lady’s face. It’s my own mother’s. And nestled in her arm is a baby instead of a book.

A baby I know better than I know myself.

Cole.

My mother continues to beam. Though she’s no longer the size of a statue, she’s grander

than a thousand Ladies. Gliding toward me, she looks more beautiful and alive than I’ve ever seen. Her hair is long and full. Each strand imprisons the sun’s rays, unlike the scraggly gray patches that came away with each caress as she lay dying on that weathered cot.  Her cheeks swell with pink, not sunken and pasty.  But it’s her eyes that touch me the most. They’re vibrant and warm, filled with traces of something I’ve barely glimpsed in my sixteen years, let alone on my mother’s face.

Is that hope she’s looking at me with?

I want to throw my arms around her, ask her to forgive me for failing her and Dad and

losing Cole, let her know I can’t go on without her.

I can’t go on alone.

But she continues to beam at me, holding out the baby.

I take the infant from her and stare down at his face.  He’s so tiny, so helpless. He needs

When I look back up at my mother, she’s gone, as are The Lady, the City. Everything.  In panic, I turn back to the bundle in my arms, and find only an empty blanket.

He’s gone.  Cole’s gone and I’ll never see him again. The bright day surrenders to dusk, then night.

 

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And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me and several more authors! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 19Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the green team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
GIVEAWAY
I’m also hosting a giveaway on my blog! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win a $10 Starbucks gift card, Swag from my new book, and a bookish decal from my Etsy shop!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! >> Austin Aslan

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade ARCs are here!

I can’t describe the feeling of getting a box of advanced copies of my book in the mail. If you don’t know what ARCs are, they’re “Advanced Review Copies” of a book, books printed and given out to marketing professionals, booksellers, librarians, bloggers — basically anyone who can help build early buzz for a book before its release day. Not every book gets physical ARCs. Some are digital ebooks only, posted to Netgalley or emailed to reviewers. Some books don’t get advance copies at all. That was the case with my first 4 book deals.

It might be silly, but getting a physical ARC of my book has been on my author bucket list for over a decade.  It’s something I’ve wanted for at least 13 years. For the last 10 years I’ve been actively pursuing it, writing bad novel after bad novel until they finally started to get a little good. I’ve seen countless authors post photos of their own ARCs over the years and I always wondered, will it ever happen to me? Will I ever get that book deal? Will I see my book in a bookstore? Do I have what it takes?

Honestly more often than not, I thought it was a hopeless dream, but I kept writing. I almost gave up, and then I got a digital book deal. Then a small publisher book deal. Then I got an agent, and now I’ll have hardback books in the bookstore this October.

I wasn’t one of those overnight successes, with debut novel fame, but I’m all the more grateful for this book because of it. There’s something so special about working hard for something and then finally getting it. Sometimes I can’t believe it actually happened, and then I think back to 10 years ago and the person I was, who also thought it would never happen. But I’m so glad the past me kept trying. If you had told me 10 years ago that it would take this long, I’d have probably quit. But that’s the great part about having a dream… every day you have just enough hope that it’ll come true, so you keep working for it. If this is you now, don’t give up. It might take a while, but that time is going to pass anyway, so keep dreaming. Keep working. You’ll be glad you did.

 

PS- Enter to win a copy before you can buy the book! I’m giving away a signed ARC on May 1st, 2018 to one person who signs up to my newsletter through this form. < Click this link and enter to win!