June Update

Time for a little update! I’ve been working on two different books, each of which is growing into a longer work. Both are the kinds of stories that I’ll publish as a series, but there are big differences between them. I’m loving them both, but am uncertain which will be done first – and the whole story has to be completed before I start publishing.

The first story is a romance, featuring a dancer who doesn’t follow anyone’s rules and a man who has lost everything. She’s intrigued by him when he comes to watch her perform, and pursues him when he tries to disappear into the night. Despite himself, he’s interested in her and finds himself revealing a little bit of himself (as well as seducing her.) I like that she’s so active and adventurous, and that he has so many secrets. It doesn’t hurt that unraveling his past leads her to Rex, or that these two are so hot together. No titles or covers yet, but I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The second story is the one that’s different. It’s a reverse harem story, which features one woman and four guys, and it’s paranormal, too. The heroes each have different powers and different reasons to protect the heroine, while she’s in the dark about her importance in this hidden world. Kira becomes more adventurous in the alternate realm, then ultimately has to choose between the paranormal world and the one she knows.

Because the second one is so different from my other stories, I’ve decided to publish it under another name. I don’t think either work will be published before the end of this year – I’m in that quiet productivity mode! – but if you like paranormal RH stories, you might want to like my pseudonym’s very bare website and/or Facebook page.

Lyssa Royce’s website is right here.

The February Update

Revealed, book one of The Phoenix series of contemporary romances by Ella ArdentAs you know, I’ve come back to writing and publishing after a hiatus. I miss writing and I still have so many stories that I want to tell. I’m making some changes this time around, so will do a monthly update here on the blog to keep you in the loop on my progress. This month’s post is a bit long.

My motto for this month is: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

• I’m back at my day job, and have been for a while. This has both its perks and its drawbacks. On the upside, there’s that pay check, and I do like my job. On the other hand, I have less time for writing and publishing my books, and publishing takes an enormous amount of time. I’m hoping to get more efficient and actually, the heavy lifting is done now that all the backlist is available again.

• I have repackaged and republished my backlist now (phew) so that job is done. It was a good reminder of the dangers of rabbit-holes and time-sinks in this business. I wasn’t happy with the options for cover designers for new covers for The Phoenix, but I had a very firm idea of what I wanted. I decided to do the covers myself (!) which meant I had to acquire some design software and learn how to use it. In the end, it all worked out, but took much longer than anticipated – and I have another skill to add to my resume. 🙂

Haunted, book three of The Phoenix series of contemporary romances by Ella Ardent• I have a new newsletter sign-up. Yay! As before, I’ll only send a newsletter when I have a new release (and republishing new editions of older titles doesn’t count). Since the existing list was a few years old, it seemed to make more sense to just start over again. (I actually did this in 2018, but am counting it as an accomplishment now anyway.) You can sign up right here.

The Plume and The Wedding are currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Interestingly enough, some things haven’t changed—that strategy isn’t working particularly well for me this time, just as it didn’t in the past. LOL! So, those books will be coming out of that program later this month and going into wide distribution again.

• I’m now using a service called Books2Read Universal Links. I like that it provides a link to many portals without me having to include all of them on my website. Also, Amazon is becoming particular about consumers shopping from the regional store that serves their territory, if there is one. So, if you’re in Canada and follow the Amazon.com link, you might be told that my book isn’t available to you. That’s nonsense, but the links don’t re-direct to Amazon.ca based on the location of your ISP. I’m sure Amazon will work this out, but for the moment, if you need a different Amazon store than the US one, you can find it through this link. Books2Read also supports a lot of other international portals, which is cool. You can see my author landing page on B2R right here (and you can get to it by clicking any of the individual B2R book links, then clicking on the book cover, then on my name.)

Hunted, book four of The Phoenix series of contemporary romances by Ella Ardent• I’m not going to fuss with social media this time because I want to write as much as I can. You can follow me at Amazon or BookBub to get notifications of new releases, although I’m not sure how consistent they are in doing that. You can also follow this blog or sign up for my newsletter above.

• Similarly, I’m not going to worry about print editions right now. If you really want a print edition of a certain title, please let me know in the comments. Some of the print editions have made the transition from Createspace to Amazon KDP and are thus available on Amazon. I know that doesn’t work in all territories and that some  of you don’t like shopping at Amazon, so let me know what you need or want and I’ll try to work it out.

What’s next?

• I’ve put Euphoria aside for the moment, since very few of you seem to be interested in that series. I’d originally planned for five fairy-tale-retellings in that world and have the covers already so may come back to it in future.

Claimed, book six of The Phoenix series of contemporary romances by Ella ArdentThe Phoenix was supposed to have three more books to complete that series: I’m going to write Marked (Book 7) next and see if I can wrap it up in that one volume or not. I’ll know more when that book gets closer to completion.

The New Project. One of the reasons for my hiatus was that I had a character show up and start talking to me. Her story was in first-person POV and I wasn’t sure what the heck it was. I didn’t know how it fit into my brand and whether it would meet your expectations. I was thinking it might be a reverse-harem story, but now I suspect it’s a journey, with similarities to Joanna’s journey in The Plume, as well as a story in which two wounded souls heal each other. (I like those kinds of stories.) Because it will be serialized (and long), I’m going to write the whole thing before I start publishing, but I’ll keep you updated on my progress. The bonus of this is that this story ties into the world of The Plume and The Phoenix—yes, we will see more of Rex—which means I have a better idea of how The Phoenix series needs to end. In fact, the hero of this new project will appear in Marked.

So, that’s the plan! I’m excited about the possibilities and am glad to see you here.

Drop by on March 15 for another update on my progress and in the meantime, happy reading!

Moving On to 2017

Let’s start with a Happy Thanksgiving wish for everyone in the United States. I hope you and yours have traveled safely and are enjoying a wonderful meal and good times together.

And now, for this big update post.

About a year ago, I went to a writers’ conference and met with a number of publishing industry professionals. I came home with a long list of things to do with my books and their distribution, based on their advice. I was excited. I had Plans. Things were going to go to the next level.

The disappointing thing is that, in the vast majority of cases, following this advice has proven to be frustrating, time-consuming and detrimental to my book sales. That I haven’t had time to write much – or publish as much as I wanted – while doing this hasn’t helped at all.

One of the things that made the results even worse is that there’s  been a change this year at the various portals. The word “erotic” is now apparently used as a flag for content that should be made less easy to discover. It’s as if someone somewhere decided that “erotic” is code for “porn” – although all of us know that’s not true. Each portal seems to have their own variation of this, none of it is documented or declared outright, and it’s a huge change.

This means that my strategy of giving each of the Phoenix books the subtitle “An Erotic Romance”, which seemed to be such a good idea at the time, has turned out to be a very bad idea. :-/ I’ve removed that subtitle from the digital books, but it can’t be removed from the mini-book editions produced by Createspace. I think these mini-book editions are so cute, but they don’t sell, and part of the reason they don’t sell has to be that no one can find them. I’ve added direct links to the Phoenix pages for these print editions here on my site, which you can follow to the print book product page at Amazon. They’re not always linked to the digital edition.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The end result – which is the important bit – is that here I am, a year wiser 🙂 and ready to get back to the real business of writing and publishing my books instead of mucking around with endless busy work.

What’s on the calendar for 2017?

His Lost Princess, #2 of the Euphoria series of fairy tale romances by Ella ArdentFirstHis Lost Princess will be published at the end of December. This is the second fairy tale in my Euphoria series and is based on Cinderella. I really like the story – Ellie saves the prince with her love – and hope you do, as well.

Another lesson learned here – the end of December is a bad time to publish a new work as the various portals run on lower staff or even shut down departments, so publishing of new titles may be delayed. We’ll have to see how that works out. This will probably be my last release ever scheduled for the end of December.

Second – I’m revising Dangerous into three installments, which will be published with new covers in 2017. I’m excited about this project and can’t wait to see the new covers. I’m hoping to have them to show to you in December.

The Wedding Collection of three contemporary romancesby Ella ArdentThird – an exciting new opportunity! Both Amazon KDP and B&N Nook have opened portals for publishing print editions for sale at their specific portal. These are print-on-demand, like the editions from Createspace and Ingrams, but the pricing works out much better. This is because there’s no expanded distribution – at Createspace, the pricing worked out well if the book was only available at Amazon, but to make it available elsewhere (like B&N) there had to be a margin added for wholesaling, which meant the book’s price was higher. Doing an Amazon edition for Amazon and a B&N edition for B&N, both at a lower price point, takes care of the two big markets for my print editions. I’ve set up The Wedding and the new Plume editions at both portals, and the prices will be $9.99US for most of them instead of $14.99US. (The exception is The Plume: The Third Collection which is longer so has a higher cost. It’s $15.99 in wide distribution but will be $10.99 at either portal.) So, this is a pretty exciting new option.

The goofy thing about it is that all the portals (Amazon, Nook, Ingrams) use paper for the book interior that is slightly different in thickness, which means that the spine of the book cover has to be adjusted for each portal. I explored KDP and Nook’s new options after my cover designer had finished the Ingrams editions of these new covers, so I’m back in her queue for the variations of the covers. Once those are done, the KDP and Nook editions of the five books with new covers will go live. I’m hoping it’ll be before the end of the year, but she’s busy and I want the Dangerous covers, too. 🙂

The Best Man, first in The Wedding series of contemporary romances by Ella ArdentFourth – I’m trying an experiment at Instafreebie. This portal allows readers to get free reads, usually in exchange for subscribing to the author’s newsletter. From now through December 4, you can download a free copy of The Best Man at Instafreebie right here. On December 5, I’ll have to decide whether or not to continue there after my experiment. If you do grab a copy, I’d appreciate you leaving a review online, at Goodreads, your blog or FB, or any other portal. Thanks!

Fifth – in 2017, the Phoenix novellas will get new covers, as so will the Phoenix Collections. (I haven’t published Marked because it’ll be easier to just publish it once, when the new covers are done.) I’m plotting out the culmination of that series, so all the covers can match and the series can be finished in 2017. There will be nine novellas altogether in the Phoenix series, and three collections. The titles are going to change slightly, but if you’ve already bought them, the new editions will be downloadable at your portal of choice as updates. Note that when the new covers are done and published, those cute little mini-books from Createspace will disappear forever. Collect them now if you like them!

Sixth – This is the tease. 🙂 As well as continuing the Euphoria series, I’m sketching out two new series to launch next year. One is called The Men of the Plume and you can guess who is going to get his HEA as part of that series. The other series is still a secret. More about those as we get through this list and they come closer to publication.

Phew. There are my plans for the year ahead. I hope you’ll be reading along with me!