Sending Invitations with Paperless Post (Sponsored)

Launching Books with Paperless Post

As a small business owner—yes, writing books is a small business!—I’m always looking for interesting ways to get myself and my books in front of new readers. So when Paperless Post approached me, I thought “Why not?”

I’d recently released Any Other Love and thought Paperless Post’s cards would be a fun way to announce the book to my readers. I have to admit, at first I misunderstood and thought they were sending me 800 free coins for physical cards. I had visions of swag postcards dancing in my head. So I was a little bummed when I discovered I was “only” getting digital cards. My first thought was “Who sends e-cards anymore? It’s not the ’90s!” My second thought was “I can make this work.”

In the meantime, I’d set up giveaways via Goodreads for Just One More Minute and Any Other Love paperbacks. I decided that using Paperless Post would be a fun way to let my email list know about the giveaways, and started off by browsing their Business Launch and Event cards.

Figuring out the Paperless Post site came with a bit of a learning curve. I’d expected an interface more like Vistaprint’s, where I can edit text boxes with just one click, and place them wherever I want. Paperless Press is sort of like that; I could edit the text, but I couldn’t move it around on the card. I found myself a bit limited with what I could do. I could also start with a blank card and add my own image, but I only got a single large text box superimposed over the image. Since the image I planned to use was a book cover with its own text, that wouldn’t work.

I thought I’d just use a teaser, then, but I couldn’t resize the image; when I uploaded it, Paperless Post dropped it onto the card at an odd size. It took some playing around, but I ultimately found a card that matched the cover of Just One More Minute. (I’d really wanted to use Any Other Love‘s cover, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose.)

Choose a card from Paperless Post’s designs.
Use the card’s included stock image, or upload your own.

The design just so happened to have an envelope liner option that exactly matched Just One More Minute, which was cool but there wasn’t a way to choose an exact color. If I’d stuck with the Any Other Love cover, I would’ve ended up with a card that clashed.

I also wasn’t sure why an e-card needed an envelope, but what do I know?

Pick your envelope’s liner.

Paperless Post’s behind-the-scenes magic automatically addresses each envelope for you. (Their physical cards have a similar option, and you can have Paperless Post mail them out for you.) I could’ve chosen a fancy stamp, but I stuck with the default one because it would’ve been at least one more coin per email address. Each card starts off costing two coins per email, and I have almost 400 subscribers, so I had to be careful.

Customize the stamp on your card’s envelope.

Here’s where I spent an embarrassing amount of time being confused. On the next screen, you can pick a reply card option. Since I was just letting people know about the giveaways, not inviting them to an event where they’d have to RSVP, I didn’t need the default “yes or no” reply card. It took me a bit of playing around to figure out how to change it to a simple call to action with a linked button.

I could’ve changed the reply card’s design and its backdrop, but I decided to keep them simple. I wanted the book to be the focus.

Choose a reply card.

I also couldn’t figure out how to change the text on the reply card. Hoping I could figure it out later, I clicked “done.” I didn’t have to wait long, because on the next screen, I could customize the text itself.

Fill in the details for your reply card.

Finally, it was time to add my recipients. I could add them one by one, or I could import contacts under the “email list” option. I initially thought the email list option actually connected my MailChimp account, for example, and then imported my subscribers. That would be cool. Instead, I got a downloadable spreadsheet and had to manually add 300+ people to it. Thank goodness for copy and paste; I exported my MailChimp list as a .csv, then copied the names and emails.

Add your recipients.
Download the sample spreadsheet, then upload the spreadsheet with your recipients’ names and email addresses.

To be fair, my use of the card was a bit unorthodox; Paperless Post is intended for things like birthday parties and weddings. The average person would’ve just imported their contacts from their address book.

Before sending my card, I previewed it in my browser and emailed myself a test.

Preview your card before sending.

Then I sent the card off! I sent it to myself, as well, so I was able to open up the actual email and make sure everything worked properly.

The final product.

The animation is actually pretty cool. I saw right away why I needed an envelope. The flap opens and the card slides out. That’s not the coolest part, though.

Once my cards were sent, I could see who opened them in real time. My readers could even send me private messages.

View responses and receive private messages in real time.

If this were an event requiring RSVPs, recipients could click yes or no, and I’d see right away which they’d chosen. For my purposes, though, I could see as soon as someone opened it. I didn’t know whether they clicked my link, though—at least not through Paperless Post’s interface. (Instead, I used my website traffic stats to get a general idea of how many people clicked.)

I got a few messages thanking me for the giveaway, which was pretty cool. When I send regular newsletters, it’s rare that I get replies. (Does my aunt count? No? Damn.) It’s totally okay, because my email list has a higher than industry open rate, so I know my readers care. (Seriously—experts say to feel lucky if 18% of subscribers open; my average is something like 30%.)

All told, sending these e-cards would’ve cost me about $75 out of pocket. (I used 755 coins; 600 coins cost $60 USD and an additional 200 coins are $28—or I could’ve purchased 1,000 coins for $90.) Also, you can’t use coins to send paper cards. Though it’s an interesting concept, I’m not sure that I would spend $75 on e-cards. On the other hand, their RSVP response and private message system for paper cards would’ve come in handy when I got married. Their prices for print cards are comparable to, say, Vistaprint, so check them out!

When was the last time you sent an e-card? Let me know in the comments!


Disclaimer: Paperless Post provided me with 800 free coins in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Enter to Win Signed Paperbacks via Goodreads

via Unsplash

In case you missed it, I’m giving away one signed copy each of Just One More Minute and Any Other Love over on Goodreads. Enter to win below. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Just One More Minute by Elizabeth Barone

Just One More Minute

by Elizabeth Barone

Giveaway ends October 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Any Other Love by Elizabeth Barone

Any Other Love

by Elizabeth Barone

Giveaway ends October 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Any Other Love

Any Other Love paperbacks are on their way! In celebration, I’m giving away one signed copy over on Goodreads. Please note that this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Any Other Love by Elizabeth Barone

Any Other Love

by Elizabeth Barone

Giveaway ends October 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

This giveaway closes on October 25th, when Goodreads will randomly select a winner. Good luck!

Available for purchase soon.

Pre-Order: Signed Any Other Love Paperbacks

Surprise—paperback editions of Any Other Love are on their way! If you would like a signed and personalized paperback, please click the button below to place your order via PayPal.

Signed paperbacks are 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 256 pages, 1st edition.

Special pre-order price*!

USD $9.95, plus $6.95 S&H.

Please note: At this time, I am taking orders for U.S. and Canada residents only.

Orders received by Friday, September 22nd will ship on or by Friday, September 29th.
You will be notified via email when your package ships.





*Your order must be received by Friday, September 22nd for special pre-order price. All orders thereafter are subject to price increase.

Now Available: Any Other Love

My latest book baby is out in the world! It was really hard to let go of Amarie and Char—or Chamarie, the ‘ship name my CP gave them. I could’ve written another 75K words about them just living their lives. Fortunately for you, I had a deadline to meet, and didn’t want to upset the Amazon gods, so I forced myself to “be done with it,” as Skye Taylor says.

And now my spoonie, f/f, small town romance is yours.

BUY NOW

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Book Extras

Sample · Playlist · Meet Amarie · Meet Char

Any Other Love is Amazon Bestseller in Three!!! Categories

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of days, and I only have a minute to post this, but…

*drumroll*

Any Other Love broke Top 100 in three!!! Amazon categories!

Amazon ranks the bestselling books in each category from 1 to 100. I’ve always hoped someday I’d make it to one of those lists—never mind three, and certainly not two days in a row! (Yesterday Any Other Love was in the Top 100 in two of its categories.)

I’m absolutely speechless and so, so very grateful to every one of my readers for purchasing a copy and sharing the book on social media. I think I can now say I’m a bestselling author, which is just… mind-blowing.

This was completely unexpected. Thank you all for believing in me and this little book!

If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, it’s still on sale for $0.99, so… 😉

Live Reading: Any Other Love

In case you missed it, here’s my live reading from Any Other Love on my Facebook author page. Like my page so you never miss future videos!

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

Now Available

BUY NOW

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Why I Wrote Any Other Love

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

With just three days ’til Any Other Love hits the shelves, I thought I’d share a bit more behind why I wrote this book.

Any Other Love is my first bisexual/lesbian, f/f romance. Even though I chose a partner who happens to be a dude, being bisexual is still a huge part of me. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation, stigma, and prejudice surrounding bi people. There also isn’t much representation of bi people on the shelves—especially of bi people in m/f relationships. When I met Amarie and Char in Just One More Minute, I knew they had to be together, and writing their book became a perfect opportunity for me to contribute to proper bi rep in literature.

It also served as an opportunity for me to represent people with invisible illnesses. Like me, Amarie lives with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD). I wanted to tell some of my story, and show that even though UCTD and other autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and throw your life off track, you can still live a fulfilling life. You just might have to live at a different pace. Many of Amarie’s struggles in the book were inspired by my own experiences.

I’m not sure if I’ll publish more f/f romance; while I love writing it, my writing is a business and I have bills to pay. So far, my pre-orders have been low—but I’m still so very proud of this book and glad that I put it out there. If my production schedule allows, I have even more f/f romance stories I’d like to tell. It’ll depend on how Any Other Love sells after release and whether I can fit more projects in while sticking to a steady release schedule.

It’s my hope, though, that Any Other Love will resonate with readers. I hope that it’ll show the world that being bisexual is not a state of confusion, a fad, or a sexy plot device. I want to show people that having an invisible chronic illness and disability isn’t laziness, inspiration porn, or attention-seeking. Mostly, I just want to show the world that two women can fall in love and live happily ever after—even when life isn’t perfect.


PRE-ORDER ANY OTHER LOVE NOW

Any Other Love is available at a special pre-sale price of only $0.99! Pre-order now and the ebook will be delivered to the device of your choice on August 21st.

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

Cover Reveal: Any Other Love

My f/f romance Any Other Love releases in two weeks! I’m always a combination of excited and nauseous during a launch, but I have more butterflies than usual surrounding this release for a few reasons.

  1. Any Other Love is my first published f/f romance.
  2. I’m not sure how it’s going to be received by my existing readers. Some of you are excited, and some of you have unsubscribed from my email list, bahaha.
  3. I’m not sure how it’s going to be received by lesfic readers. I have no other f/f romances, so I’m going to be the new kid on the block in this sub-genre. Being the new girl is always slightly terrifying.

Still, Any Other Love is a story that I had to tell from the moment that Char and Amarie met in Just One More Minute. (Yup—Any Other Love is a companion novel to Rowan and Matt’s story!) Plus, I’m very proud to be bisexual; I write f/f romance to honor that part of me, and to give other bi women a place on the shelves.

Finally, Any Other Love is important to me because it shares a bit of my journey to getting a diagnosis and treatment for my UCTD. Writing Any Other Love was like slipping into a warm bath and pouring my heart out into a journal.

So while I’m really nervous about this release, I’m also really, really excited.

Speaking of exciting things, it’s time to share the cover!

Blurb

From the outside, Amarie has it all: a promising teaching career, a big group of friends, and a gorgeous boyfriend. On the inside, though, her immune system is attacking her own body and slowly taking away everything she loves. The specialists she’s seen are baffled by her condition, so Amarie takes matters into her own hands and makes an appointment with a renowned rheumatologist in NYC. She could finally get the diagnosis and treatment she needs to live her life—if only she can get there.

Charlotte may dye her hair bold colors, but she’s never been brave enough to chase her lifelong dream of owning her own restaurant. When she finds out about a restauranteur convention in NYC, she’s way too chicken to go for it—until her best friend signs her up. With no excuses left, Char heads out to the city, taking the girl of her dreams with her.

Five nights under the city lights could give Amarie and Char the happily-ever-after they’ve always wanted, but a devastating diagnosis and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could send it all crashing down.

Any Other Love is a f/f romance.

Behind the Scenes

Finding f/f stock photos is really difficult; finding f/f stock photos featuring a dark-skinned Latina with curly dark hair and a pale white girl with teal hair is damn near impossible. It was also really hard to find stock photos that weren’t better suited for erotica. After countless hours scouring multiple stock photo websites, I narrowed it down to a few (which you can see on my Any Other Love Pinterest board).

Then I talked with my cover designer, Chelsea of CJPB Designs. Together we decided on an image, and then Chelsea made pure magic. She also made me cry happy tears the first time I saw her mockup.

Pre-order Any Other Love Now

Any Other Love is available at a special pre-sale price of only $0.99! Pre-order now and the ebook will be delivered to the device of your choice on August 21st.

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

Or 1-Click for Your Kindle:

Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

The First Round of Any Other Love Edits

The first round of edits for Any Other Love are done! I finished the bulk of them around 2 a.m., then left a few things to tidy up after I got some rest. When you read straight through a 70,000-word novel in about five hours flat, your brain starts to melt.

Still, I prefer to do rounds of edits in one sitting. It’s kind of like cramming for a test, except I’m taking the test while binge-studying. All of the details stay fresh in my mind—even with autoimmune brain fog, haha—and I can flip back and forth between comments in the document.

I still have to write a new chapter to add to the beginning of the book. The first draft took for granted that not everyone will have read Just One More Minute. This new chapter will be a sort of second “meet cute” that catches readers up on Am and Char’s history.

I’ve sent the manuscript off to my CP for notes. Meanwhile I’ll be getting back to my work in progress.

Though I’m a little behind schedule, I’m still happy with how things are moving along. Just six weeks left ’til release day!