Starting From Scratch Under My Pen Name

Today I am going to post about my pen name who just released her first book which is now ‘live’ on Amazon.  It still doesn’t show up when I do the search for the author or book, but the product information is now up and I can link to it (thanks to the email the Kindle place sent me).

So now I am a new author all over again and having to start from the ground on up.  This time I am using a different tactic than the one I used before.  As Ruth, I relied on free reads to do my marketing for me.  This time, I’m trying something else.

Today since the product information is up on Amazon, I bought two ads.  One is a Facebook ad.  I set my lifetime limit of $30 and am paying anywhere between $1.70 to $3 per click, according to their math.  When Bid for a Bride comes out around March 1, I plan to do another Facebook ad so I can compare my target audience under Ruth and under my pen name because I want to know if I’m targeting the same group or if there’s a difference.

(Disclaimer: I’ve never done a Facebook ad before, so I consider this my test drive.)

Anyway, I also went over to Night Owls Reviews to post an ad of my book cover under my pen name.  I’ll do this for one month because I’m thinking I might like to work my way up to a bigger ad, but right now I’m trying to stay within a budget.  I opted for the $30 Featured Book spot on my genre page.

My marketing efforts up to this point have been two things that have worked for me as Ruth the most: a short free read and a first draft blog.  I have had the short free read up for about a month, but the problem with short stories (and it’s why I tend not to write them) is that you’re limited in how far in depth you can go so the story ends up seeming shallow.  This free read is a little under 4,000 words.  So yeah, not much depth, so anyone expecting something deep will be disappointed.  I just can’t do it on a short.

I have plans to write a longer short story, hopefully one that will range between 10,000 to 20,000 words and will probably make that free.  The plot will be a lot more interesting and fun.  I see that particular novelettes as being humorous in some regards.  I don’t know when I’ll write that one.  It depends on how the kids and I are doing health-wise.  We’ve all had one kind of sickness or another nonstop since December started.  I’ve given up on taking time off to recuperate.  As long they’re in school and getting sick, I’m in for it.  Summer is my only chance of being healthy and having healthy kids again.  Nebraska is notorious for the up and down weather patterns that make a lot of people periodically sick.

Anyway, I have had the first draft blog up since November 1 when I started National Novel Writing Month.  I have continued to write on it at the 500 words a day posting I typically do on my other first draft blog.  During November, I also posted my rough draft up for additional exposure to get ready for my first publication.

Like I said, my publisher and I talked about it, and I am now on my own and self-publishing.  I know some people shiver in dread to mention the dirty ‘s’ (self-publishing), but I’m actually very happy with it because I maintain full control of my work.  It’s fun to take the reins and see what will happen.  So I’m happy with how things turned out.

I do plan to get involved in a forum as my pen name.  I do already have a Facebook profile under my pen name.  But I haven’t decided how much time I want to devote to being my pen name.  Ruth is my first choice, which is why I devote so much time to Ruth’s work.  Ruth is doing what her purpose is.  My pen name is simply writing additional books that Ruth would like to read but can never find (no matter how hard she searches…which sounds familiar since that’s why I started writing my Ruth romances to begin with, but this is a separate genre so a pen name was born). 

So here are my stats as my pen name to date: 

Amazon’s Kindle store: 0 (The copies I bought for a friend and myself don’t count.)

Smashwords: 4 bought and 7 gifted with a coupon for a free download. 

That’s actually pretty good since the book’s only been up for a week. 

The reason I share all of this is to let you know what my experience has been as a total newbie with the marketing I’ve done since November, which was more than what I did as Ruth (and I am seeing more results at this point than I did as Ruth in a week’s time of launching her first book), but my pen name has the benefit of knowing what Ruth did right and wrong.

I do plan to share how well my pen name does with the ads I’m placing and from my time on the Kindleboards.

Oh, and so far on my first draft blog, I average 35 hits a day while on my Ruth first draft blog, I usually average 400 hits a day.  I expect that 400 number to drop over the next month as I put my hero and heroine through a really rough time.  Would you believe my readers actually form a ‘strike’ until things get better for my characters?  I think that’s hilarious, but I can understand their point.  The rough patches often lead to too many cliffhangers.  😛

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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4 Responses to Starting From Scratch Under My Pen Name

  1. Best of luck Ruth. I can’t wait to see wha happens with the ads. I’ve been considering some.

    • I’ll be sure to keep you updated. So far, I’ve only sold 4 books under my pen name. My ad for Night Owls hasn’t gone up yet, but the Facebook ad hasn’t made a difference from what I can see in the initial feedback.

  2. Ack! i need to go find it 😉

    I agree with you on short stories! I look at them as something I toss off in a couple hours, like making popcorn in the microwave as opposed to some gourmet creation. I tend to undervalue the short, so I’ve been told :p

    • Short stories are like a little snack to tide you over. I love reading them to find new authors so I know who has a longer book worth reading. If I can find a good short story, I won’t hesitate to pay for a novella or a full-length one at a higher price than I’d pay for a longer book from an author I haven’t tested yet. So I think shorts can work well. But yes, I don’t think they really have value beyond a promo. People asking $0.99 for a couple thousand words make no sense to me. I say save the price asking for something longer. But you know how I approach the whole pricing thing. 😀

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