I’m looking for new members to add to my virtual street team, Barbara's Angels. Though my book has been out exclusively on Kindle since it's debut, I'm gearing up to release it to other markets. And I need your help! Who will be among the few, the brave, the generous to take up their review pens and help an author out?
About the Book
THE NEXIS SECRET: A YA Novel
Angels. A Seer. A secret struggle.
Lucy McAllen was your typical snarky teen, until she got shipped off to boarding school in New York City. Now she's unraveling the mystery of two secret societies hidden behind the scenes. And discovering powers she never knew she had. Why are two Romeos battling for Lucy's heart and allegiance?
Because she's having strange visions of a supernatural variety. Shadows. Prophetic scenes. Angels of pure light. Not your garden-variety daydreams. Maybe she's The Seer, with a gift both societies have waited 100 years to find.
Can a girl who sees the supernatural stop one society's twisted plan?
Will You Join the Team?
If you choose to join my read to review team there’s only a few requirements, and some great benefits.
Subscribe Here to Join the Team!
I’m taking reader applications now and there’s limited availability, so if you’re interested subscribe here: http://www.barbarahartzler.com/barbaras-angels.html
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN for a limited time. Thanks for considering my request. I look forward to having you on my team.
Special props to Nadine Brandes for letting me rip book launch team ideas from her blog: Will You Be On My Book Launch Team?
Being an indie author is like standing in line for the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios. At first it's exciting. The line looks like the movie set and you think, “I’m here! I’m actually here.” Then an hour rolls by and you think, “I’m here … I’m still here?” As hour two approaches you wonder if you’ve wasted your time. Was it really worth it?
When you finally make hop on that ride it’s AWESOME! Better than you could’ve ever imagined. It was SO amazing you think, “I’ve gotta do this again!” When you walk back to the end of the line it hits you. Is it worth another wait?
Unfortunately, this scenario is all-too-similar to my experience in indie publishing. Because it’s hard. It’s immensely harder than I ever realized—doing everything on my own and feeling like a failure sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, there were times I’ve been successful. Like when I launched my first novel, I sold almost 50 copies in 1 week. Or when I did a free promo for my devotional. After almost 90 days on the market it finally got some notice—shooting from #1758 in paid devotionals to #1 free devotional overnight.
Yet those were only fleeting successes, 4-7 days max. So far, there’s no afterboom. Not even a tiny little aftershock, just a sliver of a residue from the two perks I’ve experienced as an indie author. The devotional is down, but my glorious debut novel is consistently in the top 100 - 200 in its category, Christian Fantasy, thanks to Kindle Unlimited borrows. And hopefully they will only build from there.
After 9 months of indie authorship I still have times where I feel like throwing in the towel. But I know I can’t. Because indie publishing is the opposite of traditional publishing.
The Slow Build
Traditional publishing, the kind that gets you in brick-and-mortar stores or on NYT bestseller lists, is all about the first 90 days. They do everything they can to prepare for a big flashy book launch to sell as many copies in the first three months as possible. Why? Because that’s the best way to hit the bestseller lists, and then the book will sell itself. That’s why it takes 1-2 years to get a traditional book ready for market.
Indie publishing is the exact opposite. It takes time to build your audience, and there’s no one right way to do that. Many indies espouse writing more books, that 5-10 books on the market will up your readership. But I’ve seen tons of good reviews and endorsements do the same thing for a really good book. There’s also tons of theories out there about marketing your indie book that in my experience are simply trial-and-error. One strategy that works for a certain author may not work for my book.
The Tailor-made Path
Where does that leave someone like me, a debut indie author just trying to make her way? When it comes to my dreams, I don’t like wasting my time. I’ve discovered that I have to find my own path—one that I have to tailor-make for myself.
If something everyone does, like free FB marketing, doesn’t work for me, I research other avenues and move on. I don’t have the energy to keep beating my head against a wall hoping someone else’s “successful” method will eventually work for me. So how much time to I spend trying new methods? At least a month, as much time as I feel it takes to fully vet that marketing strategy.
Keep an Open Mind
Keep your options open, evaluate the results, and be honest with yourself. Truthfully, I really love the idea of free FB marketing to book groups. It’s easy and cheap. But I’ve tracked the clicks using booklinker.net, and found that at first I sold 2-3 books a week, but now get no traction. None. Will I still use the FB method? Yes, I’ll still experiment with different memes just to see if a new format makes the difference. But there’s no point spending hours a day on something that doesn’t work.
I like to say, “Don’t knock it till you try it,” but that doesn’t mean try everything. In the end, I think the best strategy is to keep an open mind, and do your research. Keep telling yourself, “Don’t give up,” even when you feel like throwing in the towel. It’s what we do when things get difficult that shows who we are really are on the inside.
Have you overcome something difficult recently? Do tell! We could use some inspiration over here.
Psalm 139 is one of my absolute favorite Bible passages for many different reasons. It’s a great passage about how much God knows me, how He made me, and how He has great plans for me. When I reread this passage recently, verse 12 struck me in a new light.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
–Psalm 139:11-12 (NIV)
How many times do I want to hide from God? When I mess up, aka sin, or just plain get it wrong. I always want to run and hide, but I never feel like I can. And now I know why it never works. In Bible college, my theology professor tried to explain it to me. There was one question on the test that I got wrong–and I didn’t understand why. He told me that we are always in God’s presence. There’s nowhere to hide. “For darkness is as light to you.” Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
If God is everywhere, even in my darkness, then it’s not really as dark as it seems. Is it? Of course it still hurts when things don’t go my way. Sometimes it really hurts. But instead of it being pitch black, maybe it’s really a charcoal gray with a light in the corner, waiting to burn away the darkness.
“Even the darkness will not be dark to you.” That means even in the darkness God is with me, holding me tight. Telling me it’s going to be okay. When I stop trying to fix it and let him take over . . . it’s on, baby. He’s made a habit of transforming my blackest moment to charcoal gray, to light gray, to white as snow. In His own unfathomable, out-of-the-box way.
It’s still a process for me. Hey, I’m still learning, too. Learning to look for the light in the darkness. To watch and pray for it. And one day there will be no more darkness.
Barbara Hartzler is the debut author of The Nexis Secret—the story a girl with a gift to see the unseen world of angels. And the two secret societies vying for The Seer's allegiance. The Nexis Secret is inspired by Barbara’s college experiences and peppered with anecdotes from her teen missions trip to New York City. She’s always wanted to write, not necessarily about angels, but the idea was too good to pass up. As a former barista and graphic designer, she loves all things sparkly and purple and is always jonesing for a good cup of joe.