Wednesday 26 July 2017

Book Babies - Seen and Heard

by Jeanette O'Hagan

July has been a busy month as I've released, launched and toured Blood Crystal, the sequel to Heart of the Mountain.

Unlikely heroes, thrilling adventure, clash of cultures and an unthinkable choice – Blood Crystal is the second novella in the Under the Mountain series.

The underground realm is under attack from mad Overseer Uzza and the Crystal Heart is failing. Twins Delvina and Retza brave a treacherous journey to seek help from Zadeki and his people. What are the twins prepared to do to save their realm and those they love from certain destruction?

With over a million new releases each year, it is easy to be invisible. When readers have towering to-read piles, they can feel overwhelmed by choice and disinclined to try new authors or titles. The problem as an indie author, without the backing of a traditional publisher's promotional muscle or distribution networks, is how to get your book baby seen and heard.

So this is the bit where I tell you the magical formula and we all become overnight successes.

And I would, I promise, if I had all the answers. Truth to tell, I'm still working them out, though I know I get increased sales when I launch a new book and sometimes with book tours or author take-overs, yet it often seems hard to sustain the momentum.

However, here are some things that I think can help:

  • Engaging Book Cover and Blurb
  • Street Team ready and willing to promote your books
  • Book Reviews and plenty of them.
  • Book Launch - either physical and/or an e-launch
  • Blog Tours, competitions and giveaways
  • Media exposure & Social Media
  • Catalogues
  • Distributors, including Library
  • Reduced price sales
  • Conventions, Fairs, Markets
  • Word of Mouth

I often have the best intentions but, as an Indie author, juggling all the different hats can make it difficult to do it all. So I do what I can.

Book Reviews

I've garnered some great reviews for Blood Crystal and I'm thankful for every single one, yet I'm not close to the 10 let alone the 50 that helps with Amazon visibility. If you are interested in reviewing Heart of the Mountain and/or Blood Crystal please request a review copy :)


On Saturday, 8 July we had a fast-paced, exciting Facebook e-launch with my guests participating enthusiastically, many winning prizes and a good number buying Blood Crystal. This time I sole-hosted the event with information about Blood Crystal and my other stories, competitions and activities. My aim was to encourage participation and to pique interest and sales.

In the past, I've also shared the launch-event with other authors. This can be an effective way of widening the audience and generally adds the scope of competitions and prizes. It may take the focus away from the book being launched (though not necessarily) and it may not work as well if the guest authors write in a vastly different genre or have a different audience. I've participated in author take-overs where most of the books tended to erotica or focused on demons and I felt out of place amid all the bare male chests, suggestive poses and red, glowing eyes. It makes sense to invite authors that will complement your book and brand. I've also found in some author-takeovers, that fans don't always stick around for the other authors' slots - especially if the event is long- perhaps over the whole day or even a week. So these are all things to consider.

Both sole hosting and author take-overs are great ways of meeting fans and raising the profile of your book.

Friends of Nardva

Having a group of people who are prepared to advocate for your book can make a big difference.

I've started a ongoing street team/Facebook group - Friends of Nardva - for readers and supporters who enjoy reading my work and wish to be proactive about promoting it - in terms of beta-reading, reviews, sharing links, participation in blog tours and other events etc. I'm thankful for a great group of people who support me in different ways (and enjoy returning the favour).

Blog Tour

Another effective way of finding new readers is through a blog tour.  For Blood Crystal I'm currently running a blog tour with prize for commenting on each individual blog stop and prizes for the first two people that complete the scavenger hunt running across the blogs.

In part, the idea is to gain interest of the readers of the different blogs and to encourage interaction and participation. The Scavenger Hunt - apart from being fun & have a $50 Amazon voucher for first prize - hopefully encourages readers like you :) to stop by at each blog, providing perhaps some cross-fertilisation. I'm hoping too that it piques your interest in both Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal (perhaps even enough to buy and read and even review).

As we are featuring the same book at each of the 9 stops - we worked at making each stop different. In my first stop, I talked of unlikely heroes; Paula Vince gave a thoughtful review of Blood Crystal, Lynne Stringer, Cindy Tomamichel and David Rawlings all gave different slants on an author review (with me), at the Write Flourish I discussed the influence of setting on writing point of view using Blood Crystal as an example; Adele Jones interviewed one of the secondary characters, Lady Zara; Adam Collings has a video interview today, and I'll wrap it all on Friday, announce the winners for each blog spot and provide a place for Scavenger Hunt answers.

Reduced Price

For the month of July I've reduced the prince of Heart of the Mountain, the first novella in the series - to basically a gold coin (99c US - about $1.30 AUD). Hopefully to encourage purchases.

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm deep under the mountain.
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape home to his kin. Peril awaits all three youngsters. Will they pull apart or work together to save the underground realm?

How successful has all this been - I guess I won't know the full impact until the end of the month. It has increased sales (nothing to break the bank by any means) and I have connected with new readers - which is just as, if not more important. I am curious to see if there are ongoing effects after July. Like most authors, I get a special buzz when someone enjoys my stories and even more when they feel inspired by them. It would be exciting to see that buzz communicate from one enthusiastic reader to another.

So - what would you do with a $50 Amazon voucher?
For the opportunity to participate in the Scavenger hunt, you can find the stops of the blog tour here.

And why not -
Request a review copy of Heart of the Mountain or Blood Crystal in the comments below or message me here
Join Friends of Nardva
Purchase a copy of Heart of the Mountain, to read and review.

What about you, what has helped your book baby be seen and heard?

Jeanette O’Hagan first spun tales in the world of Nardva at the age of nine. She enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. Her Nardva stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and fantasy.

Jeanette has just released Blood Crystal, sequel to Heart of the Mountain with four short stories coming out this year. She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy Series—a Young Adult fantasy adventure with courtly intrigue and romantic elements. 

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life and communicating God’s great love. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.


  1. Congratulations Jenny on your recent release! Some great ideas here. I think the street team is a great way to help promote books, although it can be hard to ensure they do what they say! The discount price can be good too - although sometimes I wonder about the impact of 'free' promos. Hmmm, food for thought...

    1. Thanks Carolyn. Yes, I sometimes wonder about free - I've heard it takes 100 free downloads to get the same ranking as one purchase on Amazon - that is a lot of downloads. And a lot of times free downloads sit on the Kindle unread. On the other hand, I know I download books for free or for 99c that I might not otherwise buy and if I do read and enjoy them then I've discovered an author and will read more of their work. Still, the main reason I'm relunctant to use free except as review copies and prizes is because I think it conditions the market to expect free, which makes it harder for all of us. Thanks for your thoughts 😊

  2. Congrats on all your visibility, Jenny, I'm inspired. Was going to request a review copy of Heart of the Mountain, but hey, I can afford $1.30 and I'd rather give your another modest sale!

    1. Thanks Ruth - double thanks in fact. Love it :)

  3. Keep going, Jenny. You are inspiring us ��

    1. Bother - in the preview it kept the emoji at the end.

    2. Thanks Sue :) I so appreciate the support :)

    3. No worries re emojis - they can be fickle :)


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