Indy Author Talk with Tamara Grantham!

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than half a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Mythology and Fairy Tales categories with over 100 reviews.

Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at the Rose State Writing Conference and has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks, which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made.

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Throwing my Release Day Under the Bus: What Went Wrong

By Tamara Grantham

First, I’ll start by saying I’ve never tried so hard to make a single release day a success. My preparations started six months ago, when I finished the first draft of my sixth book, Deathbringer, a Fairy World MD novel.

It began with my street team. With my last several books, I always had the problem of never getting enough reviews, especially during the week of my release. I’d always been told that reviews sale books, and without enough reviews, readers tended to overlook a book. This time, I knew I needed a group of reviewers who could have reviews ready ahead of time. I reassembled my street team, and started hosting monthly giveaways. Everyone who read any of my books got an entry into the giveaway. It worked phenomenally well. For example, on Feb 1, Dreamthief had 129 reviews. Now, it has 179.

After working on the street team, I organized a Rafflecopter giveaway with a $50 Amazon gift card as the prize. What worked best about this was that one of the entries was to retweet my tweet. It was a simple tweet. “Pre-order Deathbringer and be entered to #WIN!” With a link to my pre-order on Amazon. Since everyone could retweet it every day, each day I got anywhere from 30 to 50 tweets a day, and all I did was set up the giveaway. It lasted for two months, which greatly boosted my pre-orders (which turned out to be a bad thing. More on that later.)

I organized a Thunderclap campaign, where everyone who signed up would have a message posted to their accounts that would post on my release day on April 25. (Also, a bad thing.)

 I worked on my blog, posted snippets, posted two to three times daily on Facebook, weekly on Instagram, weekly on my blog, took my books out for a photo shoot where I organized another really awesome giveaway, purchased ads for my books, participated in my publisher’s release party, and wore myself out in every way possible, and I didn’t even list everything.

By the time release day came around, I was feeling pretty confident. I had put SO MUCH work into this, and the preorder sales were far more than I’d gotten for any of my other books. But on release day, I got a message from a fan. “I tried to order your book but Amazon wouldn’t let me.”

Okay, I thought, this had happened before, I was sure it was just a silly glitch or something. But when I looked into it, I realized it was much more than just a glitch. Amazon wouldn’t let anyone order my book on its release day. All those tweets, my Thunderclap campaign, that $50 Amazon gift card, just went out for nothing. It was as if all that time, effort, money, and work I put into it went poof.

When I looked into it further, the story got even more twisted.

Those pre-orders I mentioned? Everyone single person who pre-ordered my book received not my book, but a book cover with an early draft of my Heidel’s Story novella inside, complete with my personal mailing address and phone number in the upper left hand corner.

This floored me. How does this even happen? My publisher had been in contact with me all day, and fortunately they were quick to help me solve the issue. Amazon, however, was not. At 6 AM, the day after my release, 24 hours later, the book finally got fixed, but the damage was done.

Today, my book has already been receiving 1 and 2 stars reviews. People are pissed that they didn’t get the right book, and rightly so.

This all reflects badly not on Amazon, but on me. It makes me look unprofessional. Worse, I had absolutely NOTHING TO DO with how my book gets uploaded. Once I turn in my final edited draft to my publisher, the power is taken completely out of my hands.

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