Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story


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The Last WordPress Post

Hi Friends!

I am excited to announce my new website is live over at kristenotte.com. I’ve had a very fun run here at wordpress.com the past few years, but it was time to keep moving forward. With my author business growing, it was time for a new look. The new site is going to allow me to do things I couldn’t do here (like sell directly) and has more long-term functionality. I will continue to blog about writing, the author life, and sharing some of my works in progress. I’d love for you to continue to follow me. The best way to stay in touch is my email list. You can sign up here. The second best way to stay in touch is twitter and facebook. Thanks for the support WordPress friends! Keep writing!


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The Evolution of Lillie Gable Cover Reveal and Release Date

I’m excited to announce that The Evolution of Lillie Gable, my second full-length young adult novel releases on March 31, 2015!

Lillie’s character is much different than Rachel Brandt in The Photograph, and I’m excited to share her story with the world. If you want a preview of the book, check out the sneak peek snippets section on the blog along with the blurb below. I will let you know about pre-order information in the coming weeks, along with more teasers about the novel.

LillyGable_ebook

Meet Lillie Gable–

high school sophomore, outgoing, beautiful, athletic, and funny…

She is the life of any party. Her boyfriend, Jake, is a smoking hot senior, and Lillie is on track to be a starter on the varsity girls’ basketball team this year.

But trouble looms behind the façade. Lillie’s home life is a wreck. Her father is hiding a secret, and Lillie is determined to find the truth, even if it tears apart her family.

While she searches for the truth about her father, the last thing Lillie needs is a feud with Angela Barrett, the brass, bleached blonde senior who is the queen of the rumor mill. Angela is determined to ruin Lillie’s reputation because she has set her sights on Lillie’s boyfriend, Jake.

Heartbroken and humiliated, Lillie can’t return to the life she once knew. Does she have the strength and resolve to forge a new path now that everything is changing?


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The Winter Writing Blues…Or Rather Craziness

I have this idea in my head that most writers love the months of January and February. It’s the dead of winter, so the temptation of summer sun or spring walks doesn’t exist. The days are spent inside, and the weather is perfect for writing. Stay inside, bundle up, and put your fingers on the keyboard…That is unless your name is Kristen Otte.

For those who may not know, I do a few other things besides write pug books for kids and young adult novels. I teach reading on a part-time basis, and I am a high school basketball coach. During basketball season, my life schedule is a little crazy. I love coaching and teaching, but the schedule of both lines up so I’m not home until 8pm most nights. Naturally, my writing projects suffer a bit during this time.

Basketball season is winding down over the next two weeks, but my husband and I are house shopping right now. We hope to move sometime in March. In other words, the craziness will continue a bit longer. During these busy life moments, it’s easy to set aside the writing projects, but I’ve learned I can’t stop writing when life gets busy or crazy. So I press forward with the projects when I can–mornings, weekends, late nights to meet my self-imposed deadlines. To help me meet these deadlines, I’m sharing the projects so you can keep me accountable. And so you can get excited!!

Here’s what’s on tap for this Spring:

1. The Release of The Evolution of Lillie Gable – I’m slating this for March 2015. Edits are done, cover and formatting is almost done, so I will hit this target without a problem.  I’ll be sharing the cover and exact release date in the very near future.

2. Write the First Draft of the Fourth Zelda Book!!! – I have already started the fourth Zelda book and will return to writing now that the Lillie book is done with edits and formats. Writing Zelda books are still so much fun and this one will be special. I plan to share the first draft with my Wattpad fans as I write!

3. A New Website – After a few successful and fun years here, it’s time to move away from wordpress.com. I need more freedom to sell books directly from my site for author days and do some other things to help my author business. This is a big step for me.

4. Five Author Days – I have five author day visits scheduled at local elementary schools for this spring. Author days are tons of fun and a great additional source of revenue for authors. I can’t wait to speak with these students and share the love of writing with them.

Those are my plans for the next three months. Like I said, I share my goals to hold myself accountable.

What are you up to the next three months? 


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January Book Spotlight: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

For the past couple years, my routine is to post my monthly book reviews on the blog. In 2015, I’m changing my reading routine, and therefore, the monthly book review posts. In the past year, my reading habit was centered on finishing as many books as I could, and I wasn’t enjoying some of the books I read. This year, I’m slowing down the amount of books I read. I also am focusing my reading to authors I love and some books I’ve read before. Since I may only read 2 books a month, I am shifting away from the monthly book reviews. Instead, I will highlight a book or two each month.

This month’s book spotlight is Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.

Katie McGarry has been on my author radar for several months now. She writes contemporary young adult romance, but her novels are much more than love stories. I picked up Pushing the Limits and blazed through the book in a few days. The novel  switches point of view with each chapter between Noah and Echo, the main characters. Noah and Echo are both dealing with issues in their past. Noah lost his parents, and Echo had a traumatizing event with her bipolar mother. Their school counselor sets their romance in motion by assigning Echo to tutor Noah.

I loved this book. I know it follows many young adult and romance tropes, but you can’t help but love Echo and Noah. You are rooting for them to figure out their lives together. But this novel is much more than a romance. The characters are battling inner demons and learning how to let go and move forward. The author does a great job of bringing forth the emotion of the characters. I was in tears at the end of the book.

Pushing the Limits is the first in a series by McGarry. The next books in the series follow secondary characters from Pushing the Limits. I’m excited to read how she connects the dots between the series, especially since my contemporary young adult follows the same pattern. Katie McGarry is definitely on my list for this year. 6 out of 7 stars

What are you reading in this snowy, cold January?


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Permafree in the Children’s Book Market

Permafree is a common term in the indie author world. Many authors will vouch for the strategy. The strategy is to set the first book in a series free (ebook formats only of course) to encourage new readers to try the book. The theory is the reader will like the book and be willing to pay for the rest of the series. Many independent authors have had tremendous success with this strategy. However, most of these authors are also writing adult or young adult fiction, not kids’ books.

The children’s book market is a bit different and its transition to ebooks has been much slower. But there is evidence that more and more kids are reading on iPads and Kindles. With all this is mind, I decided to try permafree for my children’s chapter book series. I had three books out, and I wanted to try something to spur some sales.

In the beginning of November, I set the first book in The Adventures of Zelda series free in ebook format on all platforms. I spread the word via social media, and I also had my friend Chubbs the Wampug tell her followers. (Chubbs is a pug celebrity) Since then, I haven’t done any other advertising.

After almost three months of permafree, The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale hovers around number 5,000 in the Kindle Free Charts with some spikes. Those spikes are usually around 150 free downloads in one day. Otherwise, my downloads range from 10-50 on a typical day in the Amazon Kindle Store.

In December, I saw record number of paperback sales for the Zelda series as a whole, selling over 100 books. November was strong for paperback sales as well. To date in January, ebook sales for the second and third book of the Zelda sales have risen to their best month with a week left still in the month. I’m selling a few copies of the second and third book each day in the Kindle store.

The other platforms are not doing much for me. Apple’s iBooks is the only store that moves copies. Usually, I have about 5 free downloads a day of the first Zelda book with a few sales here and there for the second and third Zelda books. Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc aren’t moving any books most days.

It’s hard to know exactly what spurned my jump in sales, but I’m sure permafree was a big component. Going permafree made Zelda start appearing in also boughts on Amazon all over the place. It kept me at the top of the free kids’ pet books charts. I’m happy with the results so far.

I realize my numbers aren’t huge. I realize I’m not making thousands of dollars, but in a very tough children’s ebook market, I’m happy with the growth. I’m happy that kids and parents are enjoying the series and continuing with it past book one. I’m also happy with the results because I haven’t paid a dime for any advertising yet. That’s the next step. And writing book four!

Are there any other children’s book or middle grade authors out there? Any success with permafree?