Category Archives: Waterspell fantasy trilogy

Book Promo Sites: Ranked and Updated

Here’s my annual analysis of my marketing efforts. This is pretty much all that I do in the way of marketing: I run a promo every month in a different email/newsletter.

The bar graph is screenshot from my Amazon KDP reports. Each blue bar is the total number of books that were ordered that month. Since I have a five-book series, the full-series promo at Written Word Media always brings in the most orders. People tend to buy every book in the Waterspell series. I love my readers. 💙

In 2023, I branched out a little from my regulars (Book Barbarian, Fussy Librarian, Written Word Media). I added Hello Books to the rotation, and will continue to use them. EReader News Today was also new on my list in 2023, and it did well. GoodKindles, however, was a complete bust. They’re off my list forever. With BookRaid, I have seen diminishing returns over the two or three years that I’ve been advertising there. Not sure they’re worth the money any more.

A full-series promo at Written Word Media continues to deliver the best results. It’s pricey at $170, but cost-effective for promoting the five books in the Waterspell series all at one time. Written Word Media offers several promo options. I tried their “Readers’ List” promo for the first time in August 2023, with disappointing results. Even combined with a concurrent Book Barbarian promo, the $125 “Readers’ List” email blast failed to produce the number of book orders that the $170 full-series promo brought me.

To summarize, this is how I’ll rank the effectiveness of these sites, in terms of the book orders they brought me at Amazon and how much I paid for each promo:

  1. Written Word Media full-series (Fantasy/Paranormal Series Promotion)
  2. EReader News Today
  3. Hello Books
  4. Book Barbarian
  5. Fussy Librarian
  6. Written Word Media “Readers’ List”
  7. BookRaid
  8. GoodKindles (a failure, so I’m not linking to it)

To see how my choices and experiences have evolved over time, you can look at my earlier posts on this subject — 2022’s Book Promotion Sites: Ranked, and back to 2021 when I was Focusing the Plan.

Since I hate marketing and I’m really bad at it, running promos this way is the easiest and the most effective approach I have found. Most of these promos cost $45 to $65. I budget to run one promo a month (rotating among these sites, and sometimes doubling up with less-expensive ads at BookDoggy and ManyBooks). Occasionally I splurge on a $170 Written Word Media full-series promo. I was an election clerk in November 2023 and got paid $188 for the day’s work. That will buy a promo. 😁

What promo sites do you recommend? What have your experiences been with pay-per-click ads at Amazon, BookBub, and Facebook? I tried those, but I found them to be way overpriced and ineffective for my books.

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Karenina Chronicles: Ebook Edition

The Karenina Chronicles, A Waterspell Novel by Deborah J. LightfootRelease Day Redux! Now it’s the ebook’s turn. The print edition came out November 17. On December 1, pre-orders of my newest book hit readers’ libraries and devices. I’ve been scrolling through it on my tablet, obsessively double-checking the table of contents and interior illustrations. Everything looks good!

Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered my latest. I’m hearing from my dearly beloved readers that some of you are rereading Waterspell Books 1-4 before starting in on the sequel, the newly published Karenina Chronicles. Bless you, dear friends! But for those who don’t have the time to reread four lengthy novels, please be assured that The Karenina Chronicles is pretty much a stand-alone. There ARE references to What Went Before, but I believe I’ve supplied enough backstory that any reader will be able to follow the new story (of The New Generation) without rereading (or reading for the first time) the previous quartet.

Example: It’s been YEARS since I read His Dark Materials. But I’ve recently listened to the audiobooks of Philip Pullman’s return to that world: The Book of Dust, volumes 1 and 2. Because of the little reminders that Pullman sprinkled through the sequels, I followed the story perfectly well, despite the many years that have elapsed since I read the Dark Materials trilogy.

So please do not feel that you must read Waterspell Books 1-4 before starting my new one. Though of course I love you for your willingness to do so!

Thanks to everyone for buying and reading. Please remember that books make great gifts! 😀

The Karenina Chronicles: A Waterspell Novel by Deborah J. Lightfoot

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Release Day! The Karenina Chronicles

Release Day! 🎉 The print edition of my latest book is now available at all of the booksellers. 🎉 I’m excited about The Karenina Chronicles. There’s a strong streak of a woman’s simmering rage in this book.

Direct links to the major booksellers for the print edition:

The ebook will release on December 1. Find it anywhere ebooks are sold: books2read.com/waterspellbook5

Summary: In the grip of a grief-fueled wanderlust after the death of her Earthly husband, Lady Karenina of Ruain Nina to family and friends escapes into unfamiliar lands, a harsh and distant country peopled with enigmatic characters: the Leviathan, the Nomad, the Outcast, and the Wolf. In their company she finds adventure, danger, champions, and rogues some of the latter worth killing, but at least one worth loving.

Continue the family saga that began in the WATERSPELL fantasy quartet (Warlock, Wysard, Wisewoman, Witch). Follow the further adventures of eldest daughter Nina in The Karenina Chronicles.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support! 💙

I’m proud of this installment in the series. It’s a journey tale that covers a lot of ground. Karenina (Nina) would not leave me alone until I’d consented to tell the story of her “grand tour.” She insisted that I slip inside her saddlebags and make the trip with her. I’m glad I did. It’s been a journey of self-discovery for myself as well as for Nina. This addition to the series might not be a true standalone novel, but I believe readers can connect with the characters and follow their stories even without having read the first four books. There’s enough backstory scattered through this book to give readers the necessary background.

If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toe into the Waterspell ocean, The Karenina Chronicles is the book to start you off. These books mean a lot to me, and this newest one has a special hold on my heart.

The Karenina Chronicles by Deborah J. Lightfoot

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New! The Karenina Chronicles

I’ve neglected my blog for months, for good reason. I’ve been totally absorbed with final edits to my new book, The Karenina Chronicles. Everything’s done now. Whee! The edits are finished, the cover is finished, the PDF of the cover and the book block have gone to Lightning Source for the print edition, and the ebook is loaded up at Amazon, Google Play Books, and (for distribution everywhere else) at Draft2Digital.

I’m pretty proud of this installment in the Waterspell fantasy series. I’ve worked on it for a year and a half. It’s a journey tale that covers a lot of ground. We get to know the children of Lord Verek and Lady Carin. The couple’s five offspring were introduced in Book 4 of the series, The Witch. Now we follow the eldest daughter, Nina, on her “grand tour” through the South Country of her homeworld. Much is revealed about her adult life, and the lives of her brothers: Dalton the weather-mage, Legary the wizard of stone, and Galen the firedrake. Nina simply would not leave me alone until I’d consented to tell the story of her journey. She insisted that I tuck myself into her saddlebags and make the trip with her. I’m glad I did. It’s been a journey of self-discovery for myself as well as for Nina.

The book blurb:

In the grip of a grief-fueled wanderlust after the death of her Earthly husband, Lady Karenina of Ruain—Nina to family and friends—escapes into unfamiliar lands, a harsh and distant country peopled with enigmatic characters: the Leviathan, the Nomad, the Outcast, and the Wolf. In their company she finds adventure, danger, champions, and rogues—some of the latter worth killing, but at least one worth loving.

I invite you to continue the family saga that began in the WATERSPELL fantasy quartet (Warlock, Wysard, Wisewoman, Witch). In the 400 pages of The Karenina Chronicles, you’ll follow the further adventures of Nina the firstborn, and discover that not all has been sunshine and roses, for either herself or her brothers.

While I won’t go so far as to claim that this installment in the series is a true standalone novel, I will say that I believe readers can connect with the characters and follow their stories even without having read the original quartet. There’s enough backstory scattered judiciously through this book to give readers the necessary background.

If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toe into the Waterspell ocean, The Karenina Chronicles is the book to start you off. I hope and trust that, when you’ve finished it, you’ll want to go back and pick up the previous books in the series.

Thank you so much for your interest and your support. These books mean a lot to me, and this newest one has a special hold on my heart. There’s a strong streak of a woman’s rage in this book.

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Waterspell Audiobook on Spotify

WATERSPELL: The Complete Series (Books 1-4) by Deborah J. Lightfoot; audiobook narrated by Simon de DeneyThe Waterspell audiobook is distributed by Findaway Voices, and Findaway now belongs to Spotify. Findaway has sent word that they are discontinuing their Authors Direct storefront and listening apps, and will move those services to Spotify.

This won’t affect many of my listeners. Happily, however, the relative handful who redeemed giveaway codes via Authors Direct will get to keep your Waterspell audiobook. Findaway promises to email you a redemption code to unlock each of your previous Authors Direct books on Spotify. Listeners can use Spotify Free and Premium accounts to access those books.

Waterspell by Deborah J. Lightfoot is available on Authors DirectPlease be aware that the Authors Direct listening apps (iOS, Android, and Web) will not be available after June 5, 2023.

Besides Spotify, many other audiobook retailers carry Waterspell, some at a discount off the $24.95 regular price. Audible offers the four-book boxed set (50 hours of audio) for a single credit. Such a deal!

For a complete list of retailers, please see the Audio page: https://www.waterspell.net/audio/

Thanks for listening!

What readers say about the Waterspell fantasy series

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Work-In-Progress Update

Just a quick update on my work-in-progress: I’m at 101,000 words. And only about 2/3 of the way through the story. This will either be a long book, or four novellas. I haven’t quite decided.

The working title is The Karenina Chronicles: A Waterspell Novel. The subtitles of the four chronicles: The Leviathan, The Nomad, The Adept, and The Wolf. I hope to finish the first draft by January, and then let it sit for a month before I begin what will be a major effort of revising and editing. Themes emerged as I went along. They are much clearer to me at the two-thirds mark than they were at the beginning, so I must go back and clarify my somewhat muddled thinking in the opening third.

But I’ve got time. I’m on nobody’s schedule but my own.

Happy Holidays!

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Three New Releases in Six Months: Too Fast?

With the dust beginning to settle, I’m surveying my little publishing empire, seeing what has worked and hasn’t worked since January 2022. As a refresher on the timeline of my new releases this year:

WATERSPELL: The Complete Series (Books 1-4) by Deborah J. Lightfoot; audiobook narrated by Simon de DeneyWhat a relief to have all of this frantic effort behind me! Now I can focus on making pretty promotional graphics at Canva to post on social media. I can try to remember to upload new videos to my somewhat neglected YouTube channel. Most importantly, I can start planning a new book.

Too Much, Too Fast?

At this natural pausing point, it behooves me to pause and consider whether releasing three new books or editions in less than six months might have been rushing things a little. If this frantic schedule has left my head spinning, I fear it has also confused my readers.

Waterspell: The Complete Series by Deborah J. LightfootBarely had I begun begging for reviews for Waterspell Book 4: The Witch before I was begging equally earnestly for reviews for The Complete Series boxed set. Some readers, I suspect, got muddled: They didn’t fully grasp that Book 4 is a separate publication from The Complete Series. And thus, they didn’t realize that each publication needs to be reviewed separately. Although Amazon correctly shows The Complete Series (the boxed set) as being one part of the Waterspell series, reviews for each individual book in that series are not immediately visible to shoppers who are looking at any single title in the collection. That is to say: Amazon treats each book (and edition) individually, which creates (in me) a need for readers to take the time to post individual reviews for every book and every edition. A big ask.

Waterspell Book 4: The Witch by Deborah J. LightfootIndeed, that’s a lot to ask of even the most ardent fan. All of my asking—first for the individual Book 4: The Witch, then for the boxed ebook set, and now for the culminating audiobook—has befuddled even me. I’ve no doubt that I’ve raised confusion in the minds of many readers. They (and I) would have benefited from a slower pace of new releases in 2022.

Nevertheless, rushed though it was, I’m delighted to have all of the publishing frenzy done and dusted. The new titles and new editions are out there, readers are finding them, and new reviews are appearing. The six-month sprint is over. Now I settle into the marathon of ongoing, nearly continuous book promotion.

Book Promo Overview

In May, I ranked the promotions I’d used, according to their effectiveness. With another month of experience behind me now, I’m revising two of my earlier estimations. Both of my giveaways—Goodreads and Reader Views—have improved their grades from C to B-minus.

  • Goodreads was a giveaway of 100 Kindle ebooks of The Complete Series. That giveaway has now netted me five-star ratings from two of the winners, along with a very nice review from one of those satisfied readers: “Loved it. Couldn’t put it down. 5 star box set. I may actually reread this because I enjoyed it so much.”
  • Reader Views was a giveaway of physical copies. I’d been disappointed that no recipient of those rather pricey, high-quality paperbacks had responded by word or deed. But on May 28, a winner of a print book posted on Goodreads: “Thank you, Deborah. I loved this novel and can’t wait to start Waterspell 2.” Those few words made everything worthwhile, all the expense and effort of mailing out physical copies.

I hope this doesn’t sound whiny. I’m truly grateful for every review and every star. Readers are busy. I get that. Writing reviews can be hard. I get that, too: I suck at writing reviews. Some of the reviews my books have received have filled me with awe, they’re so insightful and so beautifully written. Me? About all I can ever think to write about a book is: “I liked it.” Too many mandatory book reports in my school days ruined me for writing book reviews, I fear. But every author will value a simple “I liked it” as much as they value a detailed, four-paragraph analysis.

All reviews count. Every review matters.

To sum up: Marketing is hard, it’s expensive, and it’s time-consuming. To ensure that I’m spending my promotional dollars effectively and using my time wisely, I must pause occasionally and analyze how I’m meeting, or not meeting, my goals. At this point in my writing life, my goals are to get more reviews. At present, reviews are more important than sales. Without reviews, books (and audiobooks) won’t sell. First comes the writing/publishing, then the reviews, and THEN the sales.

Quick Links to Post Reviews

If you’re a reader who is inclined to help me out with a new review (or two, or five), I’ll be eternally grateful. 💙 Here are the direct links to post reviews at Amazon:

Waterspell: The Complete Series
Book 1: The Warlock
Book 2: The Wysard
Book 3: The Wisewoman
Book 4: The Witch

These links go to Goodreads:

Waterspell: The Complete Series
Book 1: The Warlock
Book 2: The Wysard
Book 3: The Wisewoman
Book 4: The Witch

Also, if you’d like to review the new audiobook edition, the following retailers will allow you to leave a review without having bought the audiobook there:

Apple
Google
Amazon (but not Audible)
Kobo
Scribd (with free trial)
Downpour
Goodreads

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For Google Books Readers: 50% Off

As a little experiment to attract more readers to my website and my Instagram, I’m offering the Google Books edition of WATERSPELL: The Complete Series (Boxed Set: Books 1–4) at a 50% discount via Google Play. Through May 31, just click this link to redeem the discount code.

Upon publication of the boxed set on 21 April 2022, you’ll get all four books in the series (Warlock, Wysard, Wisewoman, and Witch) for $4.48 instead of the list price of $8.95. Such a deal!

I’m also running a Goodreads Giveaway for the Kindle boxed set. Click below for more details. (The Goodreads Giveaway ends on March 31, but the Google Books discount continues through May 31, 2022.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Waterspell by Deborah J. Lightfoot

Waterspell

by Deborah J. Lightfoot

Giveaway ends March 31, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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The Boxed Sets Are Coming

The dates are set: April 21 is release day for the Waterspell ebook boxed set, followed by the audiobook set on June 1.

Waterspell ebook boxed set

WATERSPELL: The Complete Series (boxed set of four ebooks)

Other people’s schedules largely dictated my choice of these two dates. Goodreads is having a March sale on Kindle Giveaways. As long as I book a giveaway by mid-month, I get the discounted price, and those who enter and win will get their free boxed set in April on release day.

For the audiobook edition, I hope to tie my promotions to “Audiobook Appreciation Month” in June. My wonderful narrator, Simon de Deney, is now recording Book 4 of the series and should completely finish his narration this month. Then I begin the process (I hope) of uploading nearly 100 separate MP3s at Audiobooks Unleashed.

Waterspell boxed audiobook set

WATERSPELL: The Complete Series will be available as an audio boxed set, expertly narrated by Simon de Deney.

I’m still debating about NetGalley and Written Word Media. As I mentioned in my January planning post, Written Word Media is pricey. And I read that NetGalley reviewers can be even harsher than Goodreads reviewers. Not sure I want to spend $50 and get negativity from constipated reviewers. Maybe I’ll stick with the Goodreads Giveaway, and try a little advertising for the boxed set(s), too.

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Release Day! Waterspell Book 4: The Witch

Unpacking a shipment of your own new book is a thrill like no other! I’ve had the pleasure of opening a box of my latest, Waterspell Book 4: The Witch, which is now available in print (paperback) and all ebook formats. It looks great, IMO. But I’m biased. Now it’s a waiting game, putting me on pins and needles as I look for the first reviews to come in. I’m sure I could have done more, I could have sent out more Advance Reader Copies, I could have spent more on ads and promotion. But the reality, I know, is that readers won’t care about Book 4 unless they have read and enjoyed the original trilogy.

My promotional efforts, therefore, remain focused on Book 1: The Warlock. It’s featured today, February 18, by BookRaid (with which I’ve enjoyed success previously); and on Saturday, Feb. 19, Bookorium (new to me) promotes it. After that, I intend to run only one ad each month, alternating between BookRaid and The Fussy Librarian (adding Bookorium into the mix, if that one proves successful).

Waterspell by Deborah J. Lightfoot: The Complete SeriesThe greater part of my attention must now turn to the two boxed sets: Ebook and audiobook. With Book 4 releasing (singly) in February, does it make sense to release the boxed set of ebooks in April? Is that too soon? Will that schedule give me time to promote the set? Research is needed, along with serious thought. The later in the year, the fewer the months during which the boxed set will carry the 2022 copyright date. With so much emphasis on “new releases,” keeping that 2022 date as fresh as possible, for as long as possible, seems to argue for publishing the boxed ebook set ASAP.

Then there’s the boxed set of audiobooks. Will it be most likely to find an audience during the summer months? Should it be released in May, hard on the heels of the companion ebook set? I think that might be best. But again, I should research and find out when audiobooks sell most strongly: spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Waterspell by Deborah J. Lightfoot: The Complete Set audio edition

Also washing around in the back of my mind are the words of my experienced beta reader, and the suggestions of my audio narrator. Both of them are telling me that I should write more books (or at least novellas) set in the world(s) of Waterspell. Hmm. Should I? Can I?

I think my spring, summer, and winter of 2022 will be busy.

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