Thursday, March 02, 2017

30-day Challenge: Forgetting, Failing & Finding the Fun

Remember in January where I said I was going to be SO productive this year made a New Year's Resolution to do a 30-day challenge every month? And then...I made it 6 days on the self-care challenge. I stuck with the   for two months and counting. Plus, I am still using my planner. Mostly as a place for stickers. But it's a start.

This month I'll focus on my newsletter for the social media challenge, and take on a trifecta of challenges so that I can catch up. 

But Jenna, if you forget to do one challenge, how will you remember to do three? That's where the planner and stickers come in.


One of my girlfriends posted that she's going to do  the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge for Lent. I've started it before, but draw a blank on where to declutter, and forget I'm supposed to. However, organizing always has me tossing stuff out to simplify. So I got some cutie-patootie stickers on etsy for the 30-day Declutter Challenge with the daily task. See where I'm going with this? Day 1 was the fridge which was much easier to do after a tossed out a bag of condiments we don't use and expired schizzle. 

The third challenge is a 30-day Yoga Challenge. Just doing one pose a day, which is almost my speed because I'm only a month out from surgery. I'm hoping to get back to practicing three hours a week, eventually. 

Because I'm in a planner kick, I made up a FREE printable for 40 Bags in 40 Days stickers. Keeping it cute keeps me on task.

Click here or on the image to print. 



Who wants to play along? 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Social Media Challenge: Facebook Friendly

I knew my Social Media 12-month Challenge would be work... but during a month with a release, sale, and a freebie promo push for my penname... it was hard to make time for. I'd planned to focus on Facebook, and I spent way too much time there this month. But, I think it takes more than a few articles to make a change in that realm.

What I Did:

Using the advice to post at the busiest times: 1-4 pm. But here's the thing, do you think it's 1-4 EST? Or 1-4 PST? Or is it some larger window of 10-7 PST so you cover all your bases? Insights says my audience is mostly online from 8am-6pm PST. There isn't a difference between days of the week. Not what current opinion says, but opinions change.

Vary types of posts - promotional, informational & social. My posts were skewed this month because I had a new release & a sale on another book. Very promo heavy, which is why I'm hesitant to say I made an impact on my Facebook presence this month. More than half were promo - though mostly soft sell like interviews/articles/reviews/quotes - and those posts did better than pictures, conversation, contests & informational.

Posting more often is suggested by many, but not too much. I've been told at least twice, no more than four, once is enough, and to follow every promotional post with three non-promo posts. I opted to try 2ish a day. Which meant posting 50+ times.

Facebook - and promo in general -  really cut into my writing time this month. And while social media is important, it's crucial that I write books rather than just try to sell them. To make sure I stayed on track, I pre-scheduled a couple posts every day. This gave me a chance to vary my promo posts so the same images weren't popping up every single day. It made me feel less annoying and freed me up to work instead of watching the clock and waiting for it to be the 'right' time to post. I set up Twitter this way as well.

What I Learned:

Aside from the above, boosting posts puts you in Facebook purgatory for five days. I $5 boost to make sure it's targeted right and then might add more. There's no point in posting often following a boost. 14 people might see it as the scroll by.

Facebook ads are hard to make work for you. I experimented with four different ads, some using what I thought was my audience, and others trying to find it. I didn't have a successful ad this month, so that is something I'll need to revisit. Probably with a friend who's good at it sitting next to me.

Contest prizes don't matter as much as I thought. I hosted three giveaways this month - print books, gift card, and gloves. The gloves had the most entries. Now, I think it was clever because it went with the snow theme the blog I posted it on did and they mentioned it often on their social media. The gift card had an average response, and the print books were very low. No idea if it is a reflection on me, or print, or discoverability. I'm not a fan of contests in general. I don't know how to promote them, and nothing is sadder than a contest with no entries.

Friends make all the difference in who discovers your posts. My best performing post wasn't a boosted one, but something I asked friends to like or share.

I personally think social media is in a slump right now. My feeds are mostly political, with the occasional comic relief. It's the mood of the entire country, so I'm hoping when that lifts so will social media engagement.

 What I Want to Try:

I've heard good things about using Facebook ads to drive  people to like your page or sign up for your newsletter. One of my friends has newsletters dialed in right now, so next month I'm going to have her come over and tell me what I'm doing wrong in the set-up.

Because I had so much going on with promotion, I was hesitant to change gears from the normal way I handle Facebook. I want to try some techniques I read about for timeline contests, getting likes on posts, and maybe even setting up a Facebook group for the peeps who help me out with reviews and such. But then I get all anxious because what if I make it and no one joins? It's like the seventh grade all over again and hoping to have someone to sit with at lunch.


Next Month:

My newsletter has done well for me, but when I hear about the depth of other authors mailing lists I get a little awe-struck. Almost everyone with a big newsletter has done some kind of mailing list promotion. I used one company where they have about 30 books and people enter to win from each author they want to try. Another company I'll use works similarly except the books are all in the same sub-genre (romantic comedy, hot contemporary) & there is a grand prize (iPad).

I'm going to be business as usual with my organic newsletter list because it does so well for me. The majority of the people  on that list open the newsletter and click their way to something I pointed them towards. I'm going to work the new subscribers differently. I want to set up a drip campaign - where new members get a welcome message and some kind of freebie, then a follow up recap of who I am, what I write, and release  plans for the year. That should help weed out fake email addresses, mistake sign-ups, and those who aren't interested. Eventually I'll merge the lists.

Last month I did a newsletter swap with the other two Indulgence authors releasing that week. Because our books are part of the same category line, Having them in the newsletter didn't feel like an ad or hard sell. We just used the picture and quote promo graphic. I want to do more of that, but I have months until my next release. Until then, I'm going to pay it forward a bit. Just one or two, so I don't get uncomfortable about seeming so... marketingesque. I'm thinking of running a contest to get sign-ups and follows, as well as trying to collect via Facebook.

What should I give away?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Robyn Meets Curtis ★ THE BILLIONAIRE'S RUNAWAY FIANCÉE excerpt

Release week has been crazy busy! Today I'm letting Curtis and Robyn - & a giveaway - do the heavy lifting with this excerpt ::

“You’re late.”

Robyn Tindall stared at the back of the tremendous leather office chair. Since it just barked at her, she assumed someone sat there, but it was too big to be sure.

Wiping her damp palms against her black skirt, she took a deep breath. The temporary employment agency had warned her Golden City’s CEO burned through executive assistants daily. She got a full day’s pay no matter how long he kept her. So far, no one had made it to their coffee break. Robyn had no intention of kowtowing to someone who would fire her within the hour.

“Your clock’s off. My agency was told eight, and according to my watch I’m thirty-two seconds early.”

The black chair turned slowly, revealing the most gorgeous man she’d seen off a movie screen. Deep brown hair, a strong uncompromising jaw, and black-fringed eyes that sparkled a surprising aquamarine. She’d expected a crotchety old man. Her pulse jackhammered as a smile played on her lips. Too bad he didn’t have the same response.

“You think that’s funny?”

Oh damn. She’d make the record for being fired the fastest. She cleared her throat. “Where would you like me to start?”

“I don’t know. It’s your job, not mine.” He spoke with a mocking slowness that made her wonder if he was teasing or truly an ass.

“There’s a desk in front of your office door. I’m guessing that would belong to your assistant.”

“It did until two months ago when she retired.”

“She didn’t train someone before she left?” He must have run her off, too.

“There was no time. Her daughter adopted triplets, and if anyone can schedule three babies, it’s Carla.”

“She’s not coming back?”

He raised a straight eyebrow. “I’ve seen them. They’re cuter than me.”

Robyn smiled, doubting looks had anything to do with it. He wasn’t cute by any means. Handsome, jaw dropping, mouthwatering. Robyn sucked in a cooling breath and dragged her mind out of the gutter.

“And you have no idea what it was she did for you.” Fan-freaking-tastic. No wonder he’d been so short with the parade of assistants who’d been through the revolving door. Carla had made it seem effortless, so he didn’t consider it a demanding job.

“Not the first clue.” The sensual promise of his smile surprised her.

She pushed her wire-rimmed glasses tighter against her face, reminding herself men like him did not look at girls like her that way. He probably dated models and debutantes. Her last boyfriend had been a house painter.

“I’ll check out the desk and see what I can decipher.”

“Don’t bother. You’re not what I need.”


He turned to his computer and began to work. Robyn blinked and checked her watch. She’d been fired after one minute on the job. That had to be a record, and not one she had any intention of making. She’d never been fired before, and this clown wouldn’t break her streak, no matter how handsome or dynamic he seemed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Just Contemporary Romance: In Lieu of a Card...

Just Contemporary Romance: In Lieu of a Card...: With: Jenna Bayley-Burke


I’ve never been a fan of a card for every occasion. I have friends that are so up on that game, I don’t even try. They’ll have a gorgeous card for me to add my name to, not some 2 for a $1 thing from Dollar Tree that I’d show up with. They shell out $4 of these cards, sometimes more. And they’re fab, but looked at once and recycled...

Monday, February 13, 2017

☆★ THE BILLIONAIRE'S RUNAWAY FIANCÉE ★☆

The Billionaire is finally LIVE! Be sure to snag your copy of this sexy, sassy, friends-to-lovers romance with a fake engagement, hot boss, and a heroine with a Cinderella Complex!

THE BILLIONAIRE’S RUNAWAY FIANCÉE 
Invested in Love 2

A kiss can change everything...

Robyn Tindall’s new boss has a penchant for running off new personal assistants before lunch, but she’s not about to let herself be fired by the billionaire with a bad attitude, no matter how good he looks. She’s determined to be indispensable and unflappable, until he surprises her with a crazy proposal.
Curtis Frye is impressed with his new assistant’s dedication and decides she could be the answer to his publicity problems if only she’ll agree to marry him. It’s the perfect plan. He can offer her the world—everything he thinks a woman desires. But Robyn doesn’t want anything money can buy. She wants a happily ever after with a man who loves her. If only he can convince her love is off the table, not to mention convince his heart of that…


He's a jerk. She's a dreamer. Simple right? NOT! There is more to Curtis and Robyn. He wallows in regrets. She needs a reason to hope. Both are searching for that missing part of themselves. Perhaps, they've already found it. The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancee is part childhood fairy tale, part heartwarming romance. Ms. Burke is not afraid to blend the classics with the modern. She has a style that works for her and gets the heart involved every time

EXCERPT


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancée - How 'Bout That Title?

I learned so many thing while the Lovely Editor and I reworked Her Cinderella Complex into The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancée. SO MANY!

  • My writing has improved like whoa.
  • It's stupid hard to change a character's name. 
  • Commercial real estate is a crazy lucrative business. 
  • A fiancé is a man; fiancée is a woman.
  • Only editors know this. And Amazon. Go on, search for The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancé - you need the extra e to find it.
  • The easiest way to make the é thing is to Google fiancé then copy & paste. 
  • A copyeditor can enter eleventy billion semi-colons into your mss, and you have to pick them out one by one. Like burrs. 
  • Adding extra scenes is so much fun! And reader driven. Yes, I do keep those emails. 
  • I remember the story in books, not how much sex is in it. Hot damn.
  • I need to bring Mrs. Rutledge into more of the Invested In Love books. I like her. And Delia.
  • Maybe I'll just spin off Curtis' whole family. Find the original Jason Frye. 

I am sure there are more. But I started to wander at the end there. Probably because I wanted to share an excerpt and haven't done it yet. Let's get to it, shall we?

The Billionaire's Runaway Fiancée


The water lapped at Robyn’s body like a hypnotic haze, soothing her desire, drawing out her every sensual reaction. Nearly weightless, she stared up at him, his light eyes shining an intense aquamarine that punctuated the hunger in his gaze. He stood above her, so big, male, and mesmerizing she couldn’t take her eyes off him. His defined chest with a fine spray of dark hair trailing over his flat stomach and lower… She dragged her gaze back up his body, meeting his eyes once more. The only thing that would make him look better would be if he were dripping wet.

She floated back a little to cooler water. She was deep under the spell of the sensations of the currents pushing around her, reacting to her every movement, luxuriating in the arousal.

“You should join me.”

“I will.” He looked at the far end of the pool, then back at her.

“What are you waiting for?”

“I’m trying to think of the best way to get in.”

“What is it? Can’t you swim?” She splashed at him playfully, slightly worried she might have hit the mark.

“Oh, that’s how it is?” He smiled down at her, warm and wicked. He took one step back, then cannon balled into the pool, sending water flying everywhere. Robyn ducked down to avoid the spray, but Curtis beat her beneath the surface, his hands on either side of her face as he pulled her to him, and they met in an underwater kiss.

She gave herself over to the exhilaration, their bodies floating together as their mouths met without friction. Breaking the kiss, he released her, leaving her alone to break the surface.

She swam to where she could anchor her feet on the pool floor, her head and neck above water. She’d made a silly list of fifty things to do in her life back in college, and kissing under water was right below skinny-dipping in the moonlight. She hadn’t thought of the list in years, until he was kissing her, making her wishes come true. Two for two on the day.

Water slid off her hair, across her face, as she tried to find her bearings. This felt real, yet maybe it was a vivid dream. The items on the list sped through her mind.

Fall madly in love. She was crazy to be in love with him, that’s for sure.

Have a fairy-tale wedding. Almost got that one, too.

Water rippled behind her, warning her before Curtis was there, sliding up her body so close she could feel the heat coming off him without his even touching her. One large hand snaked around her middle, pulling her back against him, so near she felt every muscle of his hard body....SHOOT. HAVE TO PG THIS PART.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he whispered against her ear, nuzzling her neck.

“You didn’t.” Her hand drifted down, against his firm thigh, the sparse hair the only friction between them. “I just remembered something.”

“What?” He peppered her neck and shoulder with hot kisses, the warmth moving down her body, anticipation building between her thighs.

“I made a list of things I want to do.”

“Am I on it?”

She couldn’t help but laugh, looking through the water to watch his hands drift up her body until ...AND HERE TOO

“Am I the only thing on it?”

“You are so arrogant.” His laugh vibrated the water around them, turning her desire up another degree. “I wrote it before we met, in college. I haven’t thought of it since.”

She couldn’t stifle a moan as he ...OOPS. ANOTHER ONE She rested her head back against his shoulder, letting him support her before she continued.

“Skinny-dipping in the moonlight was on the list, but I didn’t think of it until you kissed me underwater.”

“I didn’t think it would take my breath away. We can try it again tomorrow. Right now I’m too worked up.” SO, YOU KNOW THE DRILL BY NOW “Forget everything. It will be there tomorrow.”

He was right. Reality never left, but fantasy was fleeting. “I wanted to kiss in the rain, too, and beneath a waterfall.”

She turned easily in his embrace, the water making her slippery and slick. Her arms went naturally around his neck, his chest hair teasing her beaded nipples as she pressed against him. He took her lips between his, capturing them in a heated, promising kiss. She barely noticed as he lifted her up, her feet drifting as he moved them to the side of the pool, pressing her up against the wall. He pulled his lips away, taking her CURTIS IS A FILTHY BEAST
“I wanted to make love in a pool.”

He grinned, wicked and dark, before dipping his head to run his tongue THIS GUY IS MESSING WITH MY EXCERPT

“And on the beach.”

YES. THIS WHOLE BIT

“And in the rain.”

Again he rewarded her with more attention, more pleasure.

“A bed of roses.”

She tried desperately to remember the list, to keep the pleasure coming at a steady stream. “On a train. Under the stars.” She writhed against his onslaught. “On a yacht. A rooftop. On the grass.”

Oh sweet heaven, he switched CURTIS, WOULD YOU EASE UP She closed her eyes and envisioned all the places she’d ever wanted to knock him to the ground and take him.

“On your desk.” The moaning need in her voice must belong to someone else. “In your bed.”

“Yours is better.” He barely moved, the tension swirling deep in her belly.

“It is?”

“Trust me.” He played OKAY, SERIOUSLY DUDE “Is that all?” he asked, barely letting up. “Because we can have all that done before the end of the week.”

Think. It was nearly impossible when she was about to come undone. “On the kitchen table.”

“In every room of that house.”

“There are twenty-seven rooms in that house.” She ROBYN IS A HORNY TOAD TOO. .

“It will barely take the edge off.” His hand slithered down her body, cupping her SO MAYBE THIS WASN'T A GOOD CHOICE FOR AN EXCERPT

He had a point. She had nearly a year of frustration to work out. The house was just the beginning. “On a trampoline.”

He released her BLEEP BLEEP, straightening up. “Where do we get a trampoline?”

She was not thinking logically just now. “I was fantasizing.”

He shook his head. “This is a planning session. You want love, Robyn, we’ll make it.”

Copyright © 2017 Jenna Bayley-Burke
All rights reserved — Entangled Publishing