NEW RELEASE: No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss

No Strings AttachedHappy summer! It’s scorching hot at Ladylit HQ in Hong Kong, mainly because of the climate, but also a little because of this very hot new book we just released (which is currently racing up the Amazon charts)!

Here’s the blurb for No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss:

It’s never too late to find the right person… and yourself along the way.

Micky Ferro has lived her entire life according to other people’s expectations. She married a man, had two children, and became a dutiful stay-at-home mom in suburban Sydney. Until she realized, with a little help from her best friend, that her picture-perfect life wasn’t making her happy.

On the first anniversary of her divorce, Micky decides it’s time for the next step in her journey and gets a job at her neighborhood coffeeshop, The Pink Bean. Becoming a barista sparks a big change in Micky’s daily routine, but could loud-spoken American customer Robin do the same for her love life?

Don’t miss the first book in this heart-warming new series from the bestselling author of the French Kissing and High Rise series

(This is a standalone book and there are no cliffhangers!)

Early reviews have been great:

“Beyond 5 stars!”

“A brilliantly executed mid-life coming out story.”

“I was locked in from the first page to the last.”

“Fun yet thought provoking.”

“Sexy, funny and with an excellent sub-cast for future books in the series. Read it and smile!”

You can get it (ebook and paperback) from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE

Enjoy!

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Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
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Print is not dead, hurray!

Hi, remember me?

I started this blog a couple of months ago, full of ambition to keep it updated on a weekly basis. And now it’s been two months since the last post. Let’s attribute this delay to travelling, moving office, book launches, taking courses. Definitely not to fear of the blank page, or even less to laziness…

For the first post in this new attempt at regular blogging, I thought I would write about print books, and how they have become more important to us recently. You see, Ladylit reached a milestone in June. For the first time in our history we sold 100 print copies in a month. This may not seem like a lot, but to us it was a significant number.

We have always produced a print version of books above a certain length through Createspace, ever since we started publishing. Even though our focus is on (and our income comes from) ebooks, there is something quite magical about being able to hold in your handScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.30.33 AMs a hard copy of a book you wrote or had a part in producing. Maybe it’s because we grew up with print books; it’s quite possible the younger generations who grew up in a mostly digital world will not have the same feeling. So, in the beginning the main purpose of producing the print version was just personal satisfaction. Holding the book in our hands made it somehow feel more real, I think.

We soon also started using the print version as a promotional tool, for giveaways or for gifts. After all, quite a bit of work goes into producing the files for the printer, both the cover and the interior. Especially at that time, when we still used the Createspace Word template file. Too much work just to stroke our egos…

We also realised that having the print version on the Amazon page next to the Kindle version, gave the book a more professional look, and made the Kindle version seem like a good deal, as Amazon helpfully shows how much money you save by purchasing the Kindle version.

We always sold a few copies each month, but never enough to get a monthly royalties cheque from Createspace (the payment threshold is US$100). As we put out more titles, the numbers increased slightly, but were still pretty insignificant. We also never put any marketing efforts towards selling more print books.

In the last few Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.30.08 AMmonths however, since Harper started publishing regular full length novels, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of print books sold, especially newly published titles. Whereas before a new book would sell maybe 5 to 10 copies in its first month, the last two Harper Bliss novels we published each sold about 30 in the same period of time. As I write this, on July 6th Hong Kong time (but it’s still July 5th in the US), Harper’s most recent book The Road to You has already sold 6 copies this month, and we’ve sold 17 print books in total. (That’s more than 3 per day!)

This means that nowadays, instead of getting a $100 cheque every few months, we now get a few 100 dollars every month. It’s not enough to live off, but it’s a nice enough extra, especially since we still don’t do any promotion or marketing specifically for the print books.

We can’t really pinpoint what the increase in numbers is caused by. Of course, the print books benefit from our marketing work for the ebooks, since their visibility is improved by being linked to the Kindle version on Amazon. Harper’s reader base is increasing steadily and surely some of these new readers enjoy reading print books as well as or more than ebooks. We do know the extra sales do not come from bookshops, as they tend to not order books from Createspace. Additionally, at least one of the more successful titles is not even available to them to buy, as we are in the process of distributing through another company that does sell to indie bookshops more easily (hopefully more on that once the book is available.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.31.34 AMIn any case, these increased sales are starting to make me wonder if we should maybe look into promoting our print books more. And they are a confirmation that print is definitely not dead. It takes a bit more work than an ebook to put it out there, but it is definitely worth the effort.

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Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
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NEW RELEASE: The Road to You by Harper Bliss

The Road to YouHarper Bliss’s brand new novel The Road to You is out now and, as summer approaches, it could be your perfect poolside companion!

Early reviews have been very positive. Here’s what readers are saying about Harper’s new book:

“I always feel like I know Harper’s characters personally and can imagine myself interacting with them in the real world.”

“The story line draws you in, and the characters keep you turning pages until you’ve reached the end!”

“LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!”

“Deeply satisfying!”

“As always, beautifully presented, written, edited and proof-read by the inimitable Harper Bliss. Another one to add to my favourite book collection. Five stars.”

“There would be nothing better than relaxing by the pool and sipping a cocktail or two reading The Road to You.”

Here’s the blurb:

Opposites attract… or do they?
Workaholic Katherine and free-spirited singer Ali have disliked each other since college. Fate, however, keeps bringing them together and the paths of their lives keep crossing. Are some differences in personality simply too vast to overcome? Or are some things just meant to be? Find out in this light-hearted but epic new book from best-selling author Harper Bliss.

If you love a deliciously slow-burning lesbian romance, The Road to You is sure to satisfy!

It’s available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE

Add it to your Goodreads shelf >>

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Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
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Work-life balance

This post is less publishing related and more general and personal than the previous ones, I apologise to anyone who was hoping for some publishing wisdom. However I think it’s an important topic for any self-employed person, including in the publishing business, so here goes.

Questions we’re asked often are “How do you find a good work-life balance? How do you keep your work and home life separated?”

As a self-employed couple who live and work together, it’s an important question. When you’re passionate about your work, as we are, it’s very easy to let it invade every aspect and moment of your life. I don’t think a single day has gone by in the last few years when we haven’t discussed some work-related stuff, even when we were on holiday. So many times we’ve caught ourselves talking shop when we were supposed to be enjoying time off and had to explicitly state: “No more work talk!”

Ladylit HQ - AfterOne of the things we did after deciding to try to make Ladylit a full-time business for us both, was find an office space outside of home. It was important to me to try to keep work outside of the home as much as possible, after several years of working from home and finding myself replying to emails from my laptop in the couch at 10 p.m. (which partly had to do with the time difference with Europe, but was also definitely related to the fact that home equalled office and work).

This outside office for me to go to every morning allowed Harper to have a dedicated writing space at home where she could create in complete isolation, without me around to distract her. It also gave us a space to discuss work related issues, leave them there when we went home, and the ability to say, “Let’s talk about this at the office tomorrow,” whenever we found ourselves drifting towards a work topic over dinner or when we were supposed to be off the clock. This definitely helped achieve some kind of balance and is something I can highly recommend to any freelancers/entrepreneurs.

Of course this does not stop us completely from talking about work even on our days off, especially since we’re in the business of creating and the world around us is a constant source of inspiration. An experience while on holiday can spark an idea for a new story for Harper to write. She will usually bring it up and we’ll discuss it and make some notes in order to not forget. And I think that’s okay because that’s the fun part of our business and it doesn’t feel like work. But as soon as we start on things that do feel like work, we try to stop and make plans to discuss them later, when we are at the office.

This balance that we’ve found in the last couple of years is going to be thrown overboard somewhat starting in February next year. You see, we have decided that part of what helps us be happy and inspired and balanced, is traveling and seeing new places. We’ve come to realise that we value experiences much more than things.

We love going on holiday and discovering somewhere new, and being in Asia for several years has allowed us to do just that. But staying somewhere for a week or two is too short to really experience a place fully. So we’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that most of our work can be done pretty much anywhere and see more of the world by becoming what is now commonly called ‘digital nomads’. What that means is that we’ll be going somewhere and staying there for two to three months, so we can experience what it’s like to live there, at least for a short while. Our first stop will be in New Zealand. We’ve tentatively decided on having Christchurch as our base so we can explore the beauty of the South Island. (Any Kiwis out there, please feel free to offer any pointers on places to stay, things to see, etc.)

We’ll be renting a flat or house for our time in each destination but of course we will no longer have our own outside office to go to in order to talk about work issues. However we think we’ll still be able to find the right work-life balance, albeit in another way.

We’ll be in a new place, experiencing new things, which, apart from providing fresh inspiration for new books, will give us plenty to talk about other than work-related stuff. Additionally, even though we’re already in a position where we can choose when we work, and are not bound to a regular Monday to Friday schedule, we do tend to stick to one because most of our friends are in jobs that are in that pattern. If we worked at weekends and took weekdays off, we would never get to see them. But when we’ll be ‘nomading’, that will no longer be a factor and we will truly be able to make our own schedule, depending on how much we have to do a specific day, week or month.

In the last few months we have worked really hard at streamlining our work process (we’ve had to with Harper publishing a book every month!) and we think we’ve developed a rhythm that allows us to be very efficient in the time we spend working, so that we will have enough time to explore and experience every destination we choose to go to. Of course, we’ll only know if it works out that way once we actually do it, but we’re very excited to try!

We’ll be talking about this topic more on next week’s Harper Bliss & Her Mrs podcast and I’ll be posting regular updates on our plans and adventures so stay tuned to find out if we manage to find our balance on our travels.

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Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
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How we keep learning in order to grow

In this week’s episode of Harper Bliss & Her Mrs. we talked about the most important tools and software we use for writing and publishing. Something we did not get into, but is a big part of what we do every day, is our constant endeavour to keep learning and educating ourselves on new developments in the publishing industry, as well as possible techniques to use and avenues to explore to grow our business. These days the internet offers many resources—books, blogs, podcasts, coursesto do just that and in this post I would like to share some of our favourites, which we also consider important tools for writing and publishing.

Iterate and Optimize

One major source of valuable information for any independent author or publisher is the trio of Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant, also known as the guys behind The Self-Publishing Podcast. Their weekly flagship show is hugely entertaining and offers insights from them and their guests on the writing as well as the publishing side of things and they also have other podcasts, like The Authorpreneur’s Almanac and The Smarter Artist which offer very specific tips on the many facets of being an indie author or publisher. In addition to that, they published a book that inspired us a lot to get to where we are now: Write. Publish. Repeat. And they now have a follow-up to that title with Iterate and Optimize, which I am currently reading. There will be a blog post in the next few weeks about how we have iterated and optimised our work here at Ladylit.

Successful Self-PublishingThecreativepenn.com is THE place to go to learn about marketing books as an indie. Joanna Penn is a very successful author of both fiction (under the name J.F. Penn) and non-fiction books, such as Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print, and her weekly podcasts always feature very informative interviews with the creative movers and shakers in the publishing world and beyond. We listen to it religiously and have definitely been inspired to apply to our business some of the things we learned from Joanna and her guests.

Supercharge Your Kindle SalesAnother great source for marketing advice, specifically on how to grow and use your mailing list, is Nick Stephenson. He has books (Supercharge Your Kindle Sales is one of them) a paying course (which we took and has helped us in various ways, like growing our mailing list, building a launch team, getting extra reviews), but also some free videos that are a good place to start for anyone reluctant to spend any money.

The Self-Publishing Formula PodcastOne of the things we are planning to get better at this year, is Facebook ads. The authority on this is Mark Dawson. His website has some instructional videos and he has just started his own podcast with beginning author James Blatch, called The Self-Publishing Formula Podcast. The combination of an experienced and successful author with a newbie, makes for an interesting exchange of perspectives on publishing. Mark also provides monthly income reports where he details how much he spent on advertising and how much he made as a result of that advertising, which is very informative for us, in view of our plan to do more Facebook advertising ourselves.

2k to 10kFor the writers among you, a book that Harper found very helpful is 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. As her followers will probably know, she is obsessed with her word count and this book has really helped her crank those words out faster, and also better.

 

Finally, some blogs we follow:

Joe Konrath is a pioneer and one of the most staunch defenders of indie publishing (and Amazon). Check out his blog for, among other things, entertaining takedowns of the traditional publishing industry.

– Even though here in Hong Kong we seem to be geo-blocked from accessing the site directly, we follow The Passive Voice through a feed reader for links to articles about all things publishing.

This is just a short sample of resources and there are so many books and blogs that could be listed here as well, but hopefully they can provide some interesting reading to anyone looking to start or grow their author and publishing business.

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Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
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Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
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