Exploring Marketing Options with NoiseTrade

When I released my self-published historical romance A River Between Them20140505-102801.jpg last month I decided to experiment with some new ways of marketing. Since I’d never written a historical novel before I had lots of questions about how I should reach a new audience.

Back in May author David Gaughran wrote a short post touting the possible author benefits of using the website NoiseTrade. The site, which was previously only open to music artists, recently opened itself up for authors and publishers.

The way NoiseTrade works is authors (and artists on the music side of things) upload their ebooks, audiobooks or MP3s to NoiseTrade and fans can download said items for free.

Yeah, but what’s in it for me?

There are a few benefits for authors who upload their work to NoiseTrade. The biggest appeal I see is control. As an author I choose how much of my book I want on the site, I can upload an entire book for free, or just a few chapters. And I can change that at any time.

I uploaded a sample of A River Between Them to the website as a way to reach new readers on a “try before you buy” basis. Readers can download a PDF copy of the first 25% of my novel. If they wish to read the rest of the book at the end of the sample, I’ve embedded a link to my website at the end of the PDF. There’s also links to my website and social media profiles on my NoiseTrade profile page.

How does this differ from pirate sites?

Well, for one thing, I’ve elected to have my book on NoiseTrade and I can remove it at any time. Book piracy sites…not so much.

Also, there’s money-making potential for authors using NoiseTrade–albeit small.

Readers can leave artists a tip upon download. Tipping isn’t required, but is suggested by the site (a minimum tip is $1). NoiseTrade pays artists and authors 80% of the amount of tips they’ve received for downloads.

Another benefit to the site is that in exchange for the download readers leave their email address with the knowledge that authors can contact them in the future about new releases, sales, etc in the form of said reader being added to the author’s mailing list.

For me that’s a huge appeal. I’m always looking for ways to grow my quarterly newsletter.

A difference in sales?

I just started using NoiseTrade a couple weeks ago and while it’s impossible to track with 100% certainty, I do believe I’ve seen a correlation between the sample downloads on NoiseTrade and sales of A River Between Them on Amazon and B&N shortly thereafter.

Right now I’m still in wait and see mode, but I’ve been pleased with the site so far and may upload samples of other self-published books in the future.

If you’d like to download the sample of A River Between Them, click here.

Are you an author or an artist that uses NoiseTrade? What has been your experience with the site? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

One Sexy Lady~@realamandabretz #MSS49 ~@MySexySaturday

This week I’m participating in a blog hop called My Sexy Saturday.

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The way this weekly hop works is authors post 7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words from a WIP or a published work. This is the hop’s 49th week and it is celebrating sexy ladies. So what makes a heroine sexy? It’s beyond just looks, sexy is strength, sexy is a character who has grown over the course of a book or series of books. Sexy is kindness, compassion and being true to oneself.

I’m sharing 7 paragraphs from my new historical romance release A River Between Them.

The set up for the excerpt I’m sharing is that Samantha has stumbled upon some old love letters and is having an internal struggle over whether or not she should read them. Despite the invasion of privacy, she decides to read them and is drawn to the story that unfolds between two lovers from the 1920s, yet she doesn’t fully understand why their relationship resonates with her. It’s her passion for history and the desire to unearth answers that propels her throughout the book–and it eventually leads her to her destiny.

Samantha’s quest for answers is what makes her One Sexy Lady.

Here’s the blurb:

Two generations. Two love stories, intertwined… What if a piece of furniture could change your life? 20140505-102801.jpg
Antique store owner Samantha Phillips embarks on a quest to find the answer to that question after she stumbles upon a beautiful, weathered wooden trunk. Samantha immediately falls in love with the antiquity when the old, battered wardrobe ends up in her possession. Lodged inside the lining of the footlocker is a stack of old love letters and a gold locket that holds a picture of a handsome young man.
Curiosity gets the better of Samantha and she reads the passionate correspondence one by one, and learns about the love between working class William Hayes and high-society Maggie Flannery. But when Samantha comes to the end of the letters, it is unclear whether William and Maggie end up together.
Driven by a force she can’t fully explain, Samantha contacts the former owner of the trunk, hoping for answers about the young couple. When she reaches out to Maggie’s great-nephew, Bryan Donovan, he is reluctant to share his aunt’s past with a stranger, at least at first. Together, Bryan and Samantha learn the love story of William and Maggie, while discovering their own feelings for each other.
Set in historic St. Charles, Missouri, the story of two star-crossed lovers from the 1920s unfolds through a series of letters and an old diary.

Here’s the excerpt:

Curling her feet beneath her, she read the letter. After she reached the end, she paused momentarily and reread it. When she was finished she carefully folded the old document, placed it in its envelope and moved on to the next letter. And so it went until she had finished her tea and her fourth letter. That was when things got really interesting.
As she removed the contents of the envelope of the fifth letter something dropped in her lap. She looked down to see a gold locket on a fine chain lying on her leg. She brought the piece of jewelry to her face to get a better look at its delicate details and the oval-shaped pendant’s filigree edging. Despite its age, the necklace didn’t appear too tarnished, so she assumed it wasn’t costume. She leaned into the light provided by the lamp on the end table next to her sofa and found the small lettering that confirmed the bauble was in fact made of eighteen-karat gold.
She found the seam of the locket and slid her fingers toward it, prepared to wedge a fingernail in the fold when suddenly she stopped short. As if reading the letters and taking joy in the juicy content wasn’t bad enough, now she was stooping so low as to look inside a locket. She had a pretty good idea what was inside, but still…she was curious and she couldn’t explain why, not to herself—and certainly not to anyone else—what exactly she was looking for or why she thought she needed to find it.
She just did.
Brushing aside any remnants of guilt, Samantha pried the locket open using her thumbnail. The old piece of gold sprang open and her eyes were greeted with a photo and lock of hair. She turned her gaze to the left side of the locket’s interior, to study the picture. The young man in the photograph was devastatingly handsome. Her gaze traveled over his prominent cheekbones, angular jaw and wide set eyes. He peered right into the camera with an honest intensity that Samantha had never seen before.
His gaze was powerful and direct, but his eyes held a soft, soulful quality that made the person on the receiving end feel drawn to him. Samantha literally couldn’t look away. He was beautiful in his frankness.
“You must be William. Now I understand why Maggie kept your letters. I would’ve too,” she said softly as she ran her finger along the gold rim outlining his portrait.

 

Want more A River Between Them? Click the link to purchase it at Smashwords, where it’s currently on sale for 25% off! http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/448608

Keep this hop going! Visit the other amazing authors participating in My Sexy Saturday http://mysexysaturday.blogspot.com/2014/06/one-sexy-lady-mysexysaturday-mss49.html

Camp NaNoWriMo + Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

It’s hot! It’s humid! It must be July!

I’m excited for the start of this month for two reasons–and both are writing related. First, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, for the first time ever! I like the idea of the flexibility of Camp NaNo and throughout this month I’m using the writing challenge to help me finish a novel I’m on a deadline to submit to my publisher. The working title is called Runaway Heiress…but I can’t tell you much more than that, not just yet anyway.

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If you’re a writer participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, stop by my “camper profile” and say hello.

Sale! Sale! Sale!

I’m also excited that July is here because that means it’s once again time for the annual Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords. I have enrolled four of my ebooks in the sale and they’re reduced 25-50% off regular price! Click the link to be taken to my Smashwords profile page to get a list of my books: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amandabretz

Summer Lovin’ Blog Hop + a Giveaway!

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June 20-23 I’m participating in the Summer Lovin’ Blog Hop. www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

The hop is a great way to celebrate my two new releases this week.

On Tuesday I released my first historical romance A River Between Themand on Friday my latest erotic romance Special Delivery becomes available for early download on my publisher’s website.

Each of the blogs participating in the hop are hosting small giveaways such as free books, swag and gift cards. There’s also a grand prize giveaway.

I’m giving away one PDF copy of my historical romance A River Between Them. To enter my giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. I’ll contact the winner via email on Tuesday, June 24.

Here’s the blurb for A River Between Them

20140505-102801.jpgWhat if a piece of furniture could change your life?

Antique store owner Samantha Phillips embarks on a quest to find the answer to that question after she stumbles upon a beautiful, weathered wooden trunk. Samantha immediately falls in love with the antiquity when the old, battered wardrobe ends up in her possession. Lodged inside the lining of the footlocker is a stack of old love letters and a gold locket that holds a picture of a handsome young man.

Curiosity gets the better of Samantha and she reads the passionate correspondence one by one, and learns about the love between working class William Hayes and high-society Maggie Flannery. But when Samantha comes to the end of the letters, it is unclear whether William and Maggie end up together.

Driven by a force she can’t fully explain, Samantha contacts the former owner of the trunk, hoping for answers about the young couple. When she reaches out to Maggie’s great-nephew, Bryan Donovan, he is reluctant to share his aunt’s past with a stranger, at least at first. Together, Bryan and Samantha learn the love story of William and Maggie, while discovering their own feelings for each other.

Set in historic St. Charles, Missouri, the story of two star-crossed lovers from the 1920s unfolds through a series of letters and other documents.

 

To enter the Grand Prize Giveaway, readers only need to fill out the Rafflecopter box and press enter! (One entry per person!) Every blog has their own giveaway so be sure to visit more blogs! The grand prize winners will be selected on Tuesday, June 24 using Random.org.

Enter the grand prize giveaway by clicking this link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3ad27616/

GRAND PRIZES:

1 $75 Amazon Gift Card

1 $25 Starbucks Gift Card

1 $25 Amazon (or B&N) Gift Card

Keep this hop going! Visit some of the other blogs taking part in the Summer Lovin’ Blog Hop by clicking the link! www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

A River Between Them Available Today!

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Release day is here and I’m super excited about it. My first historical romance is now available in ebook and print formats. Without further ado, here’s a little more about this book.

Here’s the blurb:

What if a piece of furniture could change your life?

Antique store owner Samantha Phillips embarks on a quest to find the answer to that question after she stumbles upon a beautiful, weathered wooden trunk. Samantha immediately falls in love with the antiquity when the old, battered wardrobe ends up in her possession. Lodged inside the lining of the footlocker is a stack of old love letters and a gold locket that holds a picture of a handsome young man.

Curiosity gets the better of Samantha and she reads the passionate correspondence one by one, and learns about the love between working class William Hayes and high-society Maggie Flannery.  But when Samantha comes to the end of the letters, it is unclear whether William and Maggie end up together.

Driven by a force she can’t fully explain, Samantha contacts the former owner of the trunk, hoping for answers about the young couple. When she reaches out to Maggie’s great-nephew, Bryan Donovan, he is reluctant to share his aunt’s past with a stranger, at least at first. Together, Bryan and Samantha learn the love story of William and Maggie, while discovering their own feelings for each other.

Set in historic St. Charles, Missouri, the story of two star-crossed lovers from the 1920s unfolds through a series of letters and other documents.

 

Here’s the excerpt:

Samantha gingerly placed the letter beside her on the sofa and reached for the rest of the stack. She opened each letter one by one and checked for a date. She placed them all in chronological order and then neatly folded them and put them back in their envelopes. She hesitated a moment. Maybe she shouldn’t do this. Megan was right, it was an invasion of privacy. Even though she had no idea who this Maggie was, it still wasn’t the right thing to do.
She shouldn’t read them. Tomorrow morning she’d call whoever had brought the trunk in and return the letters to their rightful owner. But what if that person didn’t care about the letters? After all, Megan had said the guy who sold the piece seemed ready to part with it. What if the trunk held bad memories for him? What if he simply took the letters from her and never opened them? Or worse, what if he threw them in the nearest trash can? With a heavy sigh, she placed the stack of unread letters on the coffee table and walked to the kitchenette to make a cup of tea. Maybe that would help her decide what she should do.
As she sipped from her mug of tea she thought about how she could already be described as a crazy old cat lady. Did she really want to add to her misery by reading someone else’s love letters? Did she need another reminder that she was all alone? Samantha chewed on her thumbnail. She was driving herself mad. There were a million reasons why she shouldn’t read the damn letters and only one reason she felt she should. Because she must. There was no logical way to explain it, but she felt like something in those letters was just for her. She knew they’d been written ages ago—and to someone else—but somehow, some way, there was a message inside them that had been tailored just for her. She set her mug on the coffee table with a decisive thud. She couldn’t ignore the sense of awareness spreading throughout her gut. She reached for the letters and began to read.
The first letter started with the salutation “My dearest Maggie.” Samantha quickly read through the note and when she was finished she began again, reading slowly the second time around. The letter was from someone named William, who was obviously smitten with Maggie.

My dearest Maggie,

Words can’t come close to expressing what I feel for you, but I will use this and all future letters to try. I wish I could see you more often, but I know your mother does not approve of me and our love. I cannot wait for the day when I am able to take you away from there, from the life that doesn’t bring you joy. For my love, you deserve all the joy and happiness in the world. I intend to do all that is in my power now, and for the rest of my days, to ensure you are always happy and that each and every day you wake with a smile upon your face.
One day, hopefully very soon, I will have the means to put a proper ring on your finger and make you mine forever. Until that day, my darling…

Eternally yours,
William

 

Where to buy:

Kindle US

Kindle UK

B&N

Smashwords

Print

Release Dates and More

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Hi, remember me? I run this blog, even though I haven’t published new content in almost a month!
I’ve missed you all, but I needed the break from blogging to focus on the various writing projects I’ve been juggling. In the last thirty days or so I have written and submitted a 20k novella for a special call put out by a publisher I hope to work with. (Fingers crossed) ;)
In the last month I’ve also made it through three rounds of edits on my forthcoming release Special Delivery, which comes out for early download via my publisher’s website Friday, June 20 and general release on Friday, July 18.
Finally, after working on a manuscript on and off for eighteen months, I am pleased to announce the release date of my first historical romance, A River Between Them.The novel will come out on Tuesday, June 17.
In case you’re wondering if you’ve read those release dates right, you have. Yes, I have two books coming out in the same week! Kinda nuts, but I honestly hate doing promotions–if for no other reason than it takes time away from writing–so at least this way I can multitask ;)
Stay tuned as I’ll be posting teasers and excerpts closer to the release dates!

The Tartan MP3 Player Review + Excerpt!

I had the pleasure of reading not only my first novel by author C.A. Szarek, but also my first ever time travel romance novel. I devoured The Tartan MP3 Player–which is book one in the Highland Secrets trilogy–in a matter of hours.

First of all I love the story’s premise, which is summed up wonderfully by the author’s short blurb: Claire gets sucked into 1672, naked and scared. Duncan rescues her only to realize she’s the key to finding his brother who was kidnapped by the Fae. Can they work together and both get what they want? Will sudden passion for each other change their goals?

The chemistry between Claire and Duncan is undeniable, and really, who could blame Claire for being smitten? Duncan’s a hot, kilt-wearing Scottish lad with a sexy brogue. And what man–from the past, present or future–wouldn’t fall head over heels for an attractive mystery woman who shows up on the beach naked?

I have to hand it to Szarek, she packed a lot of story into this novella and I particularly liked the dialogue between Duncan and Claire. One doesn’t speak Gaelic and the other can’t understand all the nuances in our modern day vernacular, yet I felt the author showed how sexual attraction can break through time and language barriers.

I’ll admit, I don’t typically read fantasy. Usually it’s because the genre seems intimidating or too involved for me. Even though there are aspects of the fantasy genre throughout the novel: the Fae, time travel and trips to other realms, those instances aren’t over used. Szarek did a great job of interspersing fantasy elements just enough to create a compelling story, but created complex characters with enough emotions, motives and wit to carry the story through.

I really enjoyed this novel, 4.5 stars!

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The Tartan MP3 Player blurb:

Book One in the time travel, fantasy romance trilogy, Highland Secrets!
She never believed in magic…
Claire McGowan, Scotophile and historical romance novel addict, finally saves up enough for her dream vacation to Scotland.
She never imagines she’ll get sucked back to the seventeenth century while running on the beach—that’s what she gets for exercising when she should be relaxing.
He knows with a harsh certainty magic exists…
The Fae have taken his brother—Laird of his clan. Duncan MacLeod finds a bonnie naked and confused lass. He’s convinced Claire arrived in 1672 through the Faery Stones—a magical portal he’s been scouring the lands for over the past six months.
At last, he has someone who’s been through the Faery Stones and can help him find them—and get his brother back.
Duncan promises to help Claire get home, even though his desire to have her wars with his vow.
Torn between familiarity of the present and what she wants in the past, can Claire help Duncan find his brother and get back to the future? Will she even want to?
Excerpt:
“Who goes there?” A deep, accented voice made her jump.
Her MP3 player crashed to the sand, the wires from her headphones ripping over her shoulders as they flew away from her body, but she didn’t go after the devices.
Claire’s heart kicked into overdrive, and she shot her arm across her naked breasts. Plastered her palm over her bare sex.
“Okay, don’t like this dream anymore.” Her voice jumped up an octave.
Why can’t I wake up?
Maybe a touch of fright would make her wake the hell up.
“Ummm….hello?” Claire ventured even though her pulse pounded in her temples. She didn’t see the voice’s owner, but she was stuck now.
Not like I can run and hide.
She wasn’t fond of a stranger seeing her nude, even if gym time had given her a rockin’ body.
Claire smirked. Her sister would’ve declared her egotistical right then and there.
Three figures came into view, standing atop a grassy overhang and staring down at her. Two men and a boy.
“Lass?” One asked.
Lass?
Okay, no more Scottish Highlander romance novels before bed for you, Claire McGowan. But at least she’d placed the accent.
All three were dressed in period clothing. Like—seventeen hundreds or something. The tallest one had a tartan kilt on.
The man who’d spoken was older, wearing a thick grey beard he was currently scratching, as if he was trying to figure her out.
Well, duh. Naked girl on the beach at the ass crack of dawn should do it every time.
The boy looked about ten. He scrambled down the incline, stopping about three feet from her and staring. Wide blue eyes. Dark, messy hair that needed a good cut.
Claire backed up, squeezing her eyes shut. “Seriously, wake up.” Though she should pat herself on the back for the vivid imagination—if she didn’t have to cover her tender parts—she would’ve so been on that.
This place looked and felt real.
“Are ye Fae?” The kid’s brogue was thick, but his voice was high, making him sound younger than she’d guessed.
“Wh-what?” Claire asked, taking another step back.
“Angus, hush.” The last man admonished. His voice was familiar; he’d been the one who’d called out first.
He jumped down to the beach with little effort.
Claire almost forgot to cover herself as she gazed up at him.
Had to be about six-five or six-six.
Definitely had a foot on her, for sure.
Blue eyes, like the kid. Long black hair that flowed in the wind. He was wearing a kilt, and had the same tartan pattern strewn across his body, shoulder to waist and held down with a belt, but no shirt beneath. A huge, defined pec peeked out and her stomach fluttered.
Good job, Claire. At least you dreamt up someone yummy.
The model on the cover of the book she’d been reading before bed had nothing on this guy.
“Lass? Are ye all right?” His voice was concerned, as was his expression. He spoke gently.
“M-m-m-me?”
Way to go on the stutter, Clair-bear. Her sister’s nickname popped into her head with ease. It should’ve grounded her, but she still didn’t wake up.
“She talks funny, uncle!”
How can he tell?
She’d said two words, literally.
“Where am I?” Claire whispered. The sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach made her shift on her feet.
“Isle of Skye.” The boy jumped up and down. “We were supposed to go fishing. But I found ye, instead.”
“Hush, Angus MacLeod,” the man said, but there was amusement in his tone. However, he didn’t take his eyes off Claire.
A tremor slid down her spine when his gaze travelled her frame.
Still. Naked.
She wanted to sink into the sand, her earlier confidence about her body gone. Claire shivered, her teeth chattered.
“Jesu, lass. Yer freezin’.” The huge man unbelted the plaid from his waist and whipped it off his torso. It was a separate piece from his kilt, and now he stood before her bare chested. His accent was as thick as the boy’s, but she could make his words out clearer.
Sexy as hell.
“Yeah, kinda naked over here.” A nervous titter fell from her lips and made Claire wince.
“Is she Fae, uncle?” Angus asked.
“Ye’ve been spending too much time with my father. Da, stop clouding the lad’s head with faery tales,” the man called.
The old guy on the hill chuckled. “Och, then ye shouldna leave the lad with me when you go off.”
“Like I have a choice.”

 

Here’s where to buy The Tartan MP3 Player:

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thetartanmp3player-1439166-141.html

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-tartan-mp3-player-ca-szarek/1118893645?ean=9781941151044
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/411992
KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/the-tartan-mp3-player/C6Kx_UDQ_0qJFy3_HMXXgA?MixID=C6Kx_UDQ_0qJFy3_HMXXgA&PageNumber=1
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tartan-Player-Highland-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B00IKCHCT2/ref=la_B00BJY74BY_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393746276&sr=1-6

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-tartan-mp3-player/id842748066?mt=11

 

Chrissy 002About The Author:
C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She is married and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
She works with kids when she’s not writing.
She’s always wanted to be a writer and is overjoyed to share her stories with the world.
To learn more, visit C.A. Szarek on her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and website.
C.A. Szarek is also author of Collision Force, Chance Collision, and Sword’s Call.