Leslie DuBois's Blog

September 14, 2014


Wow, it has been a really long time since I have posted. But I think I need to get back into the swing of things. So let me give you a quick update as to what has been going on. I gave up writing for a while and disabled all of my books. But writing isn't something you can really give up. I have so many ideas in my head just dying to get out of me. So I went back to writing and put my books back up for sale. The thing is now I have almost no sales. I really have to figure out a way to get my fans back and gain some new ones.

The first step in that process is writing new material to give my former fans something to look forward to. I've already started this with the release of my new children's book Ebonee and Ivory coming out September 16th.


The next step is to start promoting my old titles. That is where 30 Books in 30 Days comes in. No, I'm not going to write 30 books in 30 days. Though wouldn't that be awesome if I did? Anyway, I plan on publishing 30 books in 30 days. Along with my new release Ebonee and Ivory, I'm also going to make sure that all of my books are published on every platform. For example, at the beginning of the month I noticed that my short story Plie with Fire was published on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble, but not on Smashwords. So that is one book I need to publish. It is the 14th and I've already published 13 books so I'm right on track.1. Ebonee and Ivory on Barnes and Noble2. Leslie DuBois Historical Fiction Bundle on Amazon3. Ebonee and Ivory on Smash4. Leslie DuBois Historical Fiction Bundle on Barnes5. Leslie DuBois Historical Fiction Bundle on Kobo6. Ebonee and Ivory on Kobo7. Leslie DuBois Historical Fiction Bundle on Smash8. Leslie DuBois Historical Fiction Bundle on Google Play9. Plie with Fire on Smash10. Dark Marco 2 on Smash11. Ebonee and Ivory on Amazon12. Natural Beauty on Smash13. Natural Beauty on Kobo
After making sure all of my books are available everywhere during September, I will focus on promotion for October. Stay tuned for updates!
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Published on September 14, 2014 08:07 • 64 views

March 29, 2014

So with Danica McKellar starring on Dancing With The Stars, I began feeling a bit nostalgic. I loved watching The Wonder Years when I was growing up and the romance between Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper had me wishing for my own childhood romance :) That Danica went on to become an author and math guru made her a even cooler in my dorky opinion. In celebrating the re-emergence of Danica McKellar, I've joined together with a few other YA authors to host a giveaway! Two lucky winners will receive a paperback copy of Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar! The giveaway begins today and continues until Danica wins or is eliminated from Dancing With the Stars.  From the author of the runaway bestseller Math Doesn?t Suck, the next step in the math curriculum-- pre-Algebra. Last year, actress and math genius Danica McKellar made waves nationwide, challenging the "math nerd" stereotype and giving girls the tools to ace tests and homework in her unique just-us-girls style. Now, in Kiss My Math, McKellar empowers a new crop of girls, 7th to 9th graders, taking on the next level of mathematics: pre-Algebra. Stepping up not only the math, but also the sass and style, Kiss My Math will help math-phobic teenagers everywhere chill out about math, and finally "get" negative numbers, variables, absolute values, exponents, and more. Each chapter features:   - Step-by-step instruction - Time-saving tips and tricks- Illuminating practice problems with detailed solutions - Real-world examples- True stories from Danica's own life as a student and actress Kiss My Math also includes more fun extras--including personality quizzes, reader polls, and real-life testimonials-- ultimately revealing why pre-Algebra is easier, more relevant, and more glamorous than girls think. There are multiple ways to enter including the option to tweet daily. The listed end date is subject to change and winner will be announced within 48 hours of Danica's win or elimination from DWTS. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Published on March 29, 2014 04:48 • 34 views

August 13, 2013




A dead book is a book that has been published for months or years and is not selling well anymore. In traditional publishing, the company would probably just take this book out of print. But in Indie Publishing, we have so much flexibility. It costs us nothing to keep the book going since print books are only made when they are ordered and ebooks don’t take up any space and are around forever. It is never too late for us to breathe new life into an old book, and reach new readers. I have had to resurrect dead books on several occasions so I’m going to give a list of the things I’ve done that have worked in the past. I’m also going to talk about one specific book that I resurrected and has since died again. So I’m going to explain what I plan on doing to bring it back to life again.You can also listen to this info on my radio segment here.1.      Get a new editor or proofreader.Your book may not be selling because there are too many grammatical errors. It is amazing to me how many people put their work out there without having another pair of eyes go over it. I usually four or five pair of eyes on each of my books and I still find mistakes on the final run-through. It is nearly impossible to get a completely error free book, but you should try as hard as possible to do so.2.      A new cover and/or title.You may love your cover, but it may not accurately represent what your book is about. Or it may not be enticing enough. Go to Amazon, do a search of the books in your genre, and see if your book cover is comparable to the top books. If not, hire a professional cover artist. My favorite Leslie DuBois book that I’ve written called La Cienega Just Smiled. I personally felt that it was the best book I had written, but it was just not selling. It would do maybe four or five copies a month and I couldn’t understand it. I loved the title, I loved the cover, I loved everything about this book. But I took my pride out of it and sat back and took a look at the other YA books that were similar to mine. I realized that the title and the cover was all wrong. So I changed the name and the cover and the book started selling. 


I also changed the cover to Priscilla the Great


3.      Blurbs.  Make sure your blurb is enticing. This may be the most important tool for selling your book. Your goal is to make it impossible for someone not to buy your book after they have read your blurb. This is a difficult task and you may need to get SEVERAL people to read SEVERAL versions of your blurb. 4.      Tags. Many people are unaware of the importance of tags on the Amazon page. Go to your book page on Amazon and make sure the tags associated with your book are appropriate. Add popular tags that will make your book show up on searches. Do a tag exchange with other authors. I did this for a while and it was really helpful, but it gets time consuming after a while. 5.      An extensive free run. Once you made sure the cosmetics of your book are in order, try an extensive free campaign. I did this for my book Ain’t No Sunshine. It would only sell a handful of copies a month. Then I set it free and it was downloaded over 40,000 times in two months. This worked to raise it in the rankings. Then when it went back to paid, it started selling hundreds and hundreds of copies a month. The only ways I know of to go free is to use Smashwords to distribute your book to Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Amazon for free. Or let Amazon price match it when your book is free somewhere else. The problem with this method is that it is difficult to control when you want to stop being free. 6.      Try Kindle Select.Another option for the free method is to use Kindle Select program. When you do this, you make your book exclusive to Amazon for a number of months and then they give you the option to control when you’re free.7.      Try a free preview.My book Ain’t No Sunshine has died again since its great run over a year ago. So one thing I’m trying to do is put up a 15 chapter preview for free with links to the full book in the back. I uploaded the book on Kobo and set it to free and now I’m waiting for Amazon to price match it to free before I start promoting it. I tried to upload it to Smashwords, but they would not allow me to upload a preview book.8.      Write a short story. Another option is to write a short story that is related to the book and offer it for free. I have done this several times with my Priscilla the Great books. Almost every time I release a Priscilla the Great short story I will let it be free for a while and then start charging 99cents. I also did this with Nothing Else Matters. I wrote a short prequel to that book and included it in anthology with other authors. Now I offer the short story for free. The cover of it is the same as the book just a different color. I plan on writing a short story to tie in to Ain’t No Sunshine to offer for free. I want to think of a way to tie it in to the new movie The Butler since Ain’t No Sunshine ties in nicely with African American History and segregation.
9.      Google ad. I finally got another one of those Google coupons so I’m going to try a google ad to promote Ain’t No Sunshine with tag words such as African American historical romance, segregation, The Butler, The Help, just popular search words people may be using in the next few weeks with the release of this movie.10.  Facebook ad. When my preview is finally free on Amazon, I plan on creating a post on my Leslie DuBois facebook page about it and then promoting it to a specific audience. Do a Facebook ad for your Book Trailer. I like the trailer for Ain't No Sunshine, but I need to update it since it references a book cover I no longer use.

11.  Guest blog. This is tricky. You want to do a guest blog on a hot button topic on a popular blog in order to draw attention to your book. But you also don’t want to alienate any of your readers. One of my fans offered to have me write a guest blog on her blog about racism. This is going to be such a tough post for me to write without potentially alienating or offending any of my readers. But it has to be interesting enough for people to want to read it and then share it.12.  Paid advertising. Just be careful where you give your advertising money to. The most effective sites are Ereader News Today, Pixel of Ink, Kindle Fire Department. There is also cheap ereads, kindle nation daily, Goodreads and many other places. I haven’t paid for advertising in a long time so I’m not sure which sites are effective anymore.
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Published on August 13, 2013 10:22 • 57 views

July 30, 2013


As promised, here are my 10 tips for increasing your fan base that I talked about on my radio segment here. Please feel free to pass these on. Leave any ideas you have in the comments section!

 
1.      Ask fans to leave reviews of your books on Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook. One way to do this is to offer an incentive. Have a giveaway and make leaving a review one of the ways to enter.
2.     Team up with other authors to create an anthology. For example, below is an anthology of short stories that I put together with 9 other authors. In this way, we introduce our fans to each other and each increase or fan base.

3.     Get fans involved. Ask fans to create their own book trailers, character spotings, or fan art. Even just pictures of themselves reading your book. Post them in a section on your website. I’d have to figure out an appropriate way to do this since most of my fans are underage.
4.   Think of places where you can donate your book. Places with waiting rooms etc. I donate a couple of copies of Queen Bee to a dance studio near my house. Doctor’s offices, hospital waiting rooms, retirement homes, local coffee houses, motel lobbies. 
5.     Create a separate ebook that is just the first 10 chapters or so of your book and give that away for free. Make sure on the cover it says something like ‘free sample’ or first 10 chapters only. Make sure there is a link to the full book at the end of the sample. Right now, book 1 of Priscilla the Great is perma-free and it is doing pretty well. I’m considering changing this and going to the sample method. Below is an example of how James Patterson does it.


6.     Reach out to the city where your book is set. Contact the newspaper of that city, donate some copies to the libraries in that city. Do a target facebook ad for that city.
7.    Add book club style discussion questions to the end of your book and use this as a selling point to book clubs. Seek out book clubs, local ones so you can do in person visits and online ones as well.
8.     Go out and find your readers. Sit down, think about your book and the kind of people who read your books. Write down the top ten sites people who would read your book visit. Start visiting those sites and figure out how to become a part of them. If it is a forum, become a part of the community through relevant posts. Don’t just promote your book. If it is a blog, ask to do a guest blog. For other sites, think about buying an ad for that site.

9.    Find your super fan. A super fan is anyone who is so excited about your work that they have initiated contact with you. Use their enthusiasm to draw in other readers.  Give them a coupon code to pass on to their friends. Ask them for a testimonial to put on your website. Ask if they would like to lead a book discussion or interview you for your website. Ask if they would like to start a fan club for you and give it a cute name.
10.  Diversify. Create linked materials. For example t-shirts. I’m taking it a step further and creating a iPhone app for my Priscilla the Great series. I’m also considering doing dance bags for my Queen Bee series. Hopefully, by the gift season, I’ll have a package to sell with the first three books of the Queen Bee series in a dance bag for a special price. Or maybe a backpack for the PtG series.
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Published on July 30, 2013 11:37 • 49 views

July 18, 2013

As promised, here are the links I mentioned on my radio show from today. If you missed the show, check it out here!



Some of these book fairs the deadlines have passed to be an exhibitor, but you still might want to visit for experience.  Also, when looking in to signing up for a fair, think about volunteering to be a speaker. This will increase your visibility at the fair. Especially effective at teacher fairs. I haven’t done it because I don’t have time. If you can tie in something about the classroom into your speech you will have a better chance at getting in.·  The Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair will begin August 2, 2013 and finish August 3, 2013 in Denver, Colorado http://www.rmaba.org·  The Martha's Vineyard Book Festival will begin August 3, 2013 and run through August 4, 2013 in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. http://mvbookfestival.com/2013_book_festival ·  The Brooklyn Book Festival will begin September 22, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/BBF/Home ·  The Bookmarks Festival of Books will be held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 7, 2013. http://bookmarksnc.org/book-festival ·  The Kansas Book Festival will be in Topeka, Kansas on September 7, 2013. http://kansasbookfestival.com/ ·  The Westchester Multicultural Children's Book Festival will be September 14, 2013 in Westchester, New York. http://www.qbr.com/westchester-childrens-book-festival-1.aspx ·  The South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, South Dakota will run from September 20, 2013 to September 22, 2013. http://www.sdbookfestival.com/ ·  The National Book Festival will take place in Washington, DC from September 21, 2013 through September 22, 2013. http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/ ·  The Baltimore Book Festival will begin in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2013 and end September 29, 2013. http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com/ ·  The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee will run from October 11, 2013 through October 13, 2013. http://www.humanitiestennessee.org/programs/southern-festival-books-celebration-written-word·  The Iowa City Book Festival will begin October 11, 2013 and end October 13, 2013 in Iowa City, Iowa. http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/ ·  The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair will begin October 12, 2013 and finish October 13, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. http://www.seattlebookfair.com ·  The Texas Book Festival will begin October 26, 2013 and end October 27, 2013 in Austin, Texas. http://www.texasbookfestival.org/ ·  The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (37th Annual) will be held November 15, 2013 through November 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. http://www.bostonbookfair.com ·  The Miami Book Fair International will kick off in Miami, Florida on November 17, 2013 and wrap up November 24, 2013.http://www.miamibookfair.com/
I also found a webpage that gives a state by state list of all the book fairs. From what I can tell, these might only be state supported fairs because when I looked at the list for South Carolina, there were a couple missing. So it is not a complete list.http://www.read.gov/resources/statefairs.php
There is also a list of library conferences by state:http://www.ala.org/groups/affiliates/chapters/state/stateregionalOnce again this is only a partial list because it only gives the public libraries. But I will take this opportunity to reiterate how important librarians are. You have to get to know your local librarians. They can be your greatest ally. Here are a couple of reasons why:·         Librarians host book events·         Review your book on their blog·         Might feature your book on their websiteI won’t go into details about how to get into libraries because I’ve done that segment before and you can find it at www.sybilnelson.com/libraries. I will reiterate a couple of tips.·         Family. friends, and fans have great influence. Ask them to visit your local library and request your book. If your book is already there, ask them to check it out. It will make your book more popular.·         If your library has an applicable book club, offer free books to the first 5 members or something.·         Go to WorldCat.org to see what libraries have your book in order to put into action the above tips.If it is not a local library or you don’t have enough fans in a certain area to get into a library then you have to do it the organic way. Which means, you need to get a review from Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, or Kirkus. You have to contact each of them individually and follow their guidelines to get a review. So far, I have found it impossible to crack that nut. I’m still trying. Libraries will also accept reviews from School Library Journal for children’s books. RT Book Review for romance books. And Locus Magazine for Science Fiction Fantasy.Look into OverDrive for eBook distribution through libraries. Romance ebooks are really big in libraries right now. You may even want to look into turning your book into an audio book.
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Published on July 18, 2013 10:24 • 76 views

June 23, 2013

So I haven't been around much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. First of all, I've been hosting a biweekly segment on Blog Talk Radio about marketing. I talk about everything that pertains to getting your name out there in the Indie Publishing industry. Normally, I talk about things that I have tried or things that I'm about to try. So you get to learn from my experiences and mistakes. Check out my latest segment here.

I've also done a guest blog at Helium.com about how to reach readers. You can check it out here. And be on the lookout for other helpful marketing tips!
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Published on June 23, 2013 05:39 • 44 views

December 14, 2012

Congrats to the winners of my 50 Clean Tween Reads giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway[image error]
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Published on December 14, 2012 13:33 • 64 views

November 19, 2012

I may be in my thirties but I still love a good Young Adult book. Now that I have children, however, I realize that there are many books that claim to be YA that I would never, ever, ever let my child read. It gets even harder when you have children who are in that in between age. They are not quite old enough to handle teenage topics, but they are well past Minnie’s Princess Tea Party books. (Although I still love princess themed tea parties.) And not everyone has time to read every single book before their child does. So I got together with a few other authors and decided to compile a list of 50 Clean Tween Reads. I hope this helps other parents in their search to provide wholesome but not simplistic entertainment for their children.

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (PG)


2. The Priscilla the Great series by Sybil Nelson Rated PG


 3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid By Jeff Kinney (G)


 4. The Troubled Tweens: Jinnie Wishmaker By DD Roy (G)


 5. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin (G)


 6.The Eyes of Pharoah by Chris Eboch (G)


7. Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls series by Meg Cabot (G)


8. My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond Rated G


9. Dark Marco Volume One by Sybil Nelson (PG)


10.Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell (G)


11. Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb by MJ Ware (G)


12. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein (PG)

13. The Mortal Enemy List by Tess Oliver (PG)


14. Enter Ten Tales for Tweens by Various (PG)
An added bonus to buying this books is that all the proceeds go to charity.

15. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (PG)


16. Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce (G)


17.The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (G)


18.Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (PG)


19. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (G)


20. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham (PG)


21. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (PG)


22. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (G)

23. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (PG)


24. The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaeffer (PG)


25.Timekeepers: Civil Disturbance by J.Y. Harris (PG+)


26. Redwall series by Brian Jacques (PG)


27. Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler (G)

28. Warriors by Erin Hunter (PG)


29. Theodosia by RL Lafever (G)

30. The Castle Sisters by Jason Krumbine (PG)


31. Broken Shell by Dalya Moon (PG)


32. Emotionally Charged by Selina French (PG)


33. Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick (PG)

34. Gasparilla's Treasure by Scott Clement (PG)

35. Matt Archer: Monster Hunter by Kendra C Highley (PG)


36. The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson (G)


37. The Odd Job Squad by Karl Fields (PG)

38. Savvy by Ingrid Law (PG)


39. Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria by Rahma Krambo (PG)

40. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (PG)


41. Howl of the Wolf by Diane Rapp (PG)


42. The White Giraffe by Lauren St John (G)


43. Nashoga by Rebecca Weinstein (G)


44. Goosebumps by RL Stine (PG)


45. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (PG)


46. The Stone Bearers by R.E. Washington


47. It’s a Catastrophe by Sibel Hodge (G)


48. Alcatraz by Brandon Sanderson (PG)


49. The Sister's Club by Megan McDonald (G)


50. Nancy Drew


This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are thousands of great books out there for tweens. Sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start. So, consider this list a launching point. Enjoy! Now as a special treat, just for reading this blog post I'm going to give you a chance to win a Kobo reader and a $25 gift card. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below! a Rafflecopter giveaway[image error]
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Published on November 19, 2012 08:13 • 71 views

November 8, 2012

Occasionally I'll get questions from readers about the basics of self-publishing. I thought I'd start posting some of those here. That way there will be a searchable archive. Here is one from Nadia in the UK.

Firstly, I've heard rumours that the quality of the books is not all that it could be. The website itself describes its books as "library quality". As I've seen library books quite literally falling apart at the seams, that wasn't very reassuring. What is your experience?

I've seen different levels of library quality. When I think library, I think hardback book with the think sewn binding. Honestly, you don't see that very often anymore. Mostly, you just see the paperbacks with glued binding. That is what Createspace does. The quality is fine, but if you're looking for really nice, you might want to go with Lulu or Lightening Source. I haven't used them, but I here that they are really good. I would compare Createspace quality to that of the type of books you would pick up at the airport.

I was also under the impression that you had to pay to publish your books with Create Space but the website claims there are no set-up fees and the only paid services seem to be marketing, editing etc

Publishing with Createspace is completely free. You can list your book at Amazon.com and at the Createspace estore. However, if you want expanded distribution, you have to pay $25. Expanded distribution gets your books listed at libraries and other bookstores. For example, all the books that I have in expanded distribution can be bought at Barnes and Noble. I think it's worth the $25. Beware that to be listed in library catalogs, you have to use a Createspace ISBN. This is fine, but Createspace will be listed as the publisher. If you want to list your own publisher, you have to pay $10. Most people just make up a name for their publisher and pay the $10 so their book doesn't seem self published. I do both. I really want my Priscilla the Great books in libraries so I use the Createspace ISBN. All the books under my pen name, Leslie DuBois, have my company as the publisher.

Finally, if you have to buy lots of copies to distribute to bookshops, isn't that really expensive?

It depends. If you're giving your books to bookshops on consignment, then yes, you have to buy the books and personally deliver them to the shop and make out a contract with them for how much you get paid per book. But since your book is listed with Createspace, the bookshops can order them themselves. Honestly, though, you get a great price from Createspace so it is worth it to order a bunch of copies and sell them yourself. You make more money. For example, I can buy copies of my book Priscilla the Great for about $4 per book from Createspace. The book retails for $12. I can offer the bookstore a discount of $2,sell it to them for $10 each and I'll still make a profit of $6. If they order the book themselves from Amazon, I'll only make $4 in royalties from Createspace.

If you have questions, send me a tweet @sybilnelson.[image error]
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Published on November 08, 2012 03:00 • 61 views

November 6, 2012




I just wanted to let you know that I've started a biweekly radio segment about book marketing. My first show airs today and it is titled The Power of Free. In it, I give several tips for how and why you might want to give away your book for free for a while. Listen to the show here.


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Published on November 06, 2012 12:48 • 43 views