Thursday, December 22, 2016

#HAUNTED SOULS made Top 3 Best #Books 2016! #amreading #amwriting

Earlier in the year, Read Freely, a website that highlights small-press and indie books, invited people to nominate their favorite titles for their annual "The 50 Best Indie Books" contest.  Titles had to meet the requirement of being published either by a small press outside the "Big 5" or be self-published, with a release date in 2016.  When the nominations closed, I was thrilled to hear my romance/ghost story Haunted Souls was one of 100 books to make the Finals round.  Voting then opened up for about three weeks in order to whittle that list down to the Top 50.

An exciting addition this year was the introduction of a cash prize for the Top 3 winners--something most authors would be especially grateful for this time of year!  So with the incentive of the honor of making the list, plus a monetary award, competition was bound to be fierce!  And it was--apparently, over 10,000 votes were cast, according to the site.

I did my best to make sure my readers knew about the contest and had the link information.  Thankfully, I have a Street Team that helps me spread news about my books online, and a number of wonderful friends active on social media who wanted to share the contest information as well. Family members sent emails to those who've read my books. For the past 20 years, I have worked at an all-women's gym, teaching classes, and many of the members have been supporting my writing journey since I began my first manuscript.  In addition, the owner is kind enough to allow me to sell my paperbacks at the gym, and I've done a number of books signings there as well.  Many of the members and employees who read my novels were eager to help by signing up to vote.

I picked up new readers as well along the way, which is one of the great things about these contests--your title lands on the radar of people who haven't heard of your book before as word spreads.  In fact, I found a new fan who took the time to email me about how much she enjoyed my latest novel and compare my work to her favorite romance authors: Julia Kent, Marie Force, Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis.  Quite an honor! That made my day.

The contest closed December 16, and the results trickled in day by day, starting with 50-41, then 40-31, etc.  Each day I both wanted to see my cover in the results and didn't want to see it...because if I didn't see it, maybe I made the next highest group.  Last night, before I could even check (okay, before I hit refresh for the hundredth time to see if the final 10 results had been posted), I got a text full of excited emojis from one of my friends, announcing I'd won $200.  If that was true, I knew I'd come in within the Top 3, in second place.  I sprinted to the computer to check, and it was there!  My book had come in at 2nd place in a competition that began with 100 books--very exciting! 

Happy Dance!

Check out the link below to see the Top 10 of Read Freely's 50 Best Indie Books of 2016, and find some new reads for the holidays! Last but not at all least, a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted - we're all busy these days, especially with all the winter holidays, so I very much appreciate your taking the time to support me.  Thanks! xo

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