It is our great pleasure and honor today to interview Ellen C. Maze – BookBuzzr Author Pro subscriber and Bestselling Author of RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER. This book has risen to the top of the charts on Amazon in the Mysteries and Thrillers section with over 89 reviews. On to the interview …
BB: Ellen! Congratulations and thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Thank you, BB! I am honoured to be here!
BB: How does it feel to see your book featured as the number 1 book on Amazon in the Mysteries and Thrillers section?
I was so thrilled when I noticed this. I did a little digging and found that this novel is #1 in THREE CATEGORIES: Horror, Occult, and Mystery/Thrillers. It also floats in the top five on the Fantasy category. This ranking is based on customer reviews, so this is proof that reviews matter on Amazon.com!
BB: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
I am a professional fine artist who used to write part-time. Since 2009, I have become a professional writer who paints part-time! My novels are like my art—full of my soul and my life, and people respond to that when they read them. My books are peculiar because I have taken the vampire genre and turned it on its ear.
Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider, Rabbit Legacy, Loose Rabbits, and also The Judging are all vampire stories with a God-fearing protagonist who seeks to share God’s love with the undead. Gripping, fast-paced, frightening, and often creepy, my novels cater to the reader’s desire to delve into vampire lore, while feeding their “inward parts” as well. These books are not preachy—you can tell by the customers ranking it #1 in Horror! Read the reviews on Amazon if you’d like to understand what I’m saying. I don’t actively try to touch people’s souls, but that is precisely what’s happening!
BB: What are your activities for marketing and promoting your book?
When my books hit the shelves, I first alert everyone in my Facebook fan group (Ya’ll come join us!!) . I’ll usually run a contest on this group or my blog to giveaway copies of the book in exchange for reviews. This is always a good idea! Then I head to fReado as soon as possible to upload half of it for folks to read online. I find that ½ of the book works fine; it gets the reader irrevocably hooked, and that’s my main goal! I also set up a giveaway for the novel on Goodreads.com, where I continually increase my presence weekly by making new friends and adding other authors’ books to my cyber shelf. I will also promote the new novel via interviews, book review blogs, and my own websites.
BB: Has Twitter helped you?
Has Twitter helped anyone? I use Twitter; I’ve tweeted nearly 1000 times and have almost 2000 followers, but I don’t get any feedback. I have no idea if anyone reads my tweets. The only time I see how useful Twitter is, is when a stranger Tweets about my books and I get a Google Alert about it. That is a thrill, and it happens now and then. Other than that, I don’t know if I’m barking in the dark, or not. I will continue to use Twitter, and grow my followers, and Tweet about my books, but I just don’t know if it does anything except fill up the internet!
BB: Has Facebook worked for you?
Facebook is my number one promotion tool. I was on Facebook about six months before I started my group, ellen c maze, Author of Curiously Spiritual Vampire Tales. Now, a year and a half later, I have over 800 active reader/fans that give me regular feedback on my books, and enjoy back-and-forth banter with the author. I use my Facebook profile (find me under “Ellen C. McCraney Maze”) to connect to people and steer them to my group if they like to read. I have over 1700 friends, and am always seeking more. We joke, and laugh, and share news and videos…I visit Facebook many times a day. There are dozens of ways to use Facebook to promote your novel. Anyone is welcome to contact me there and ask how! I’ll always share whatever I know.
BB: You’ve also been a BookBuzzr Author Pro subscriber for a long time. You have 4 of your books subscribed to BookBuzzr Author Pro accounts. Could you tell us about your experience with this?
The first time I uploaded Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider to BookBuzzr, I was tickled pink at how easy it was to do! I also loved the way the book looked when read on the computer. I LOVE the viewing graph and the marketing tools. I clicked on the marketing tools icon and went to work, adding my book link to over a dozen websites that BB provided—sites I’d never even heard of before! Now, whenever one of my books comes out, I run over and add it to my BB queue. As a matter of fact, my newest book came out this week, Feckless (www.ellencmaze.com)…I better go upload it and sign it up for Pro today!
I also love fReado because of the super, fun promotion ideas there. I also love the cover-matching game!
The reason I did this was for maximum internet exposure. Folks who read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider are sent to rabbitnovel.com, the same way The Judging reader are sent to judgingnovel.com. These sites give all sorts of information to reader/fans about their specific book. But I needed a central site for all of my offerings, so I added ellencmaze.com. This one is the hub, or the middle of the octopus. I think every author needs an author-specific website, and if they sell enough books, make a website specifically for that book. I use yola.com and it’s only $20 a year. Hey, you can’t beat that!
BB: I also noticed at the end of one of your books that you asked readers to submit ideas for your next book. How did that work for you?
Oh, you’re speaking of the “Loose Rabbits” suggestions. When I finished Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider, I had several chapters that were cut (think deleted movie scenes). Well, these “nuggets” were every bit as delicious as the novel, but they did not advance the plot. SO, I collected them all into a book called “Loose Rabbits of the Rabbit Trilogy”. It has worked well—readers wanted to know more about Javier (a vampire character), so there are four or five chapters of his history. Folks wanted to know more about Roman (another vampire), so we have chapters about him. Just about anything a reader asks me, I can write a chapter about it. These characters are alive to me and their history very real. By the time the third and final Rabbit book is out, I should have enough Loose Rabbits to release a “Loose Rabbits II”. My readers love Loose Rabbits, some have called this collection of short stories their favourite book of 2010! I love it!
BB: I know that there is a Kindle version of your book which includes a text to speech translator. However, I’m sure that many of your fans will enjoy listening to a professionally created audio version of your book as well. Do you have any plans for such an audio version?
I would love to release audio books. I have contacted a professional team that does it, and their price is $1000 for a book the size of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. So, to answer your question, yes, I plan to do this when I can swing it. Ya’ll keep watching and we’ll see!
BB: How did you manage to get 89 book customer reviews on Amazon.com?
When the book first came out, it was marketed aggressively; it was mailed to at least 20 book reviewer blogs. Thankfully, 19/20 loved the book, and they all gave it 5-stars on Amazon. With those, I was on my way. Potential readers want to hear someone else tell them the book is going to be good. It’s human nature, and it’s how I decide on what books to buy, too!
Along the way, readers who emailed or facebooked that they liked the novel, I asked them to review it on Amazon. There’s the key—keep asking your readers and fans to review for you. Reviews are everything on Amazon. They make folks buy, and if you don’t have them, many readers will wait until you do. Customer ranking is the magic that makes the Amazon algorithm go to work each day. Trust me, I know. I will ask this a dozen times a day if someone likes my book: “Please, if at all possible, review this book for me on Amazon. It really helps me sell more books! Thank you!”
BB: While other authors hesitate to give away anything more than an excerpt of their books, your entire first book – Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is available on Freado.com. Aren’t you concerned about lost sales?
No, because my writing lends itself to addicting the reader. I’m blessed that when people read my first book (this one), they simply MUST buy the others. For this reason, I really only actively promote my two lead books, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider and The Judging. If I can get people to read those, they’ll likely come back for more once they’ve tasted my wares. I’m not bragging—that’s just the way it turned out. I don’t think I’m much of anything, but thankfully, readers find my books to be very delicious, indeed!
BB: Most authors set a low price of .99 for the Kindle versions of their books. You, on the other hand, have kept a relatively high price of $4.99. Amazingly this does not seem to have had an effect on the sales of your book. What is your opinion with regard to pricing? Should authors price their book higher or lower?
Kindle over-pricing is MY PET PEEVE. I hate to be shopping for a Kindle book and see it is over $7.00. That’s just ridiculous. It’s digital, man, it’s not costing Amazon anything to list or upload, and their cut takes care of all that. The author gets a huge 70% commission off each book (if they list for less than $10), so any book more than $7.00, to me, is just greedy. And I LOVE to buy .99 books, but I can’t afford to list them at that. This is my livelihood. But for less than $5.00 a novel (and my anthologies are $3.99), the reader gets a great, mainstream, traditionally published novel at an affordable price. I split the royalty with my publisher, so that is why I set it at $4.99 a book. The sales for Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider are growing daily; I’m excited about that. Every author should endeavour to get your book on Kindle…it’s the wave of the future.
BB: It looks like your books would translate very nicely onto the big screen. Do you have any movie deals in the works?
From your mouth to God’s ears! When Rabbit first came out, it attracted the eye of a local movie studio. No deal ever came of it, but I have feelers out with people in the business. And reader after reader posts on Amazon how much they’d like to see Rabbit or The Judging in theatres. I hope it happens!
BB: Many authors, feel compelled to check their sales rank because that’s the only way they know if their book is selling. So we developed the BookBuzzr Amazon Alerts (available free for subscribers to BookBuzzr Author Pro). Do you use the BookBuzzr Amazon Alerts technology for your books? How has it helped you?
I love the Amazon BB alerts! I have them on all of my novels, and it gives me something to smile about each night. I used to check my Amazon sales ranking all the time, and it’d impossible to tell how many units have sold other than, “you’ve sold one.” With BB Alerts, you know how many sold and what time of day or night! Think how tickled I was when I got my BB Alerts after midnight on New Year’s Day and saw how many books sold in the first few minutes of the New Year! It was great!
I continue to recommend fReado to all of my author friends, and I put my fReado widget on all of my websites and social sites. I also love the cover match game—I have my books on there too, but that’s another interview for another day.
Ya’ll have a great day and may God bless us, every one!
Ellen C. Maze
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Naveen is the Customer Support Executive and Social Media Manager at BookBuzzr. When he is not working or playing GTA, he is working on finishing his graduation.