Free Short Story AND A New FREE Marketing Idea!


Ok…so this blog is followed by readers AND by authors.  In an attempt to please everyone, this post has a little something for ALL of you.  For the readers, there’s a link to a crazy free short story that I wrote.  For the authors, I’d like to share what I did to market that short story for FREE in an effort to drum up some new readers.  Have I grabbed your attention?  Wonderful.  Let’s proceed…

AUTHORS…this is your section:  I was part of a contest among some of my author friends and we were given the task of writing a story about unicorns and making it under 5,000 words.  The members of a Facebook group were going to judge our short stories and pick a winner, just for bragging rights.  Well, I felt like my short story turned out pretty good and I wanted to do something MORE with it.  So I decided to put it in a few places for FREE and see what happened.  I didn’t want to put it on Amazon and have people pay for it, since it was less than 5,000 words.  I googled around to find some free places to put your book.  I came up with three winners:  Wattpad, Instafreebie, and Smashwords.  I figured, “It’s free to put the book on all three sites.  Worst case scenario, no one reads it.  Best case scenario, I can get a few new readers and get my name out there.”  We all know how hard it is to get your book in front of new readers.  It’s time consuming and very costly depending on how you do it.

I made sure my story had a decent cover, and I stuck an author bio with links to my website and the blurbs of ALL MY OTHER BOOKS in the back.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that someone might like the story enough to check out my other works.  Free advertising, right?

Here are my results…

(Ah, I should also write a disclaimer here:  My Unicorn story fits into the Humorous Erotica genre.  I’m sure that had a drastic effect on my results.  If you write in a different genre, then I’ll bet  your results probably differ dramatically!

Wattpad – Published the story in a series of 4 installments, one each day, beginning on March 16, 2017.  This site was not very user friendly.  I ended up with a total of 4 views from 3/16/17 to today (3/23/17).  Here’s a screen shot:

wattpad results

In summary, Wattpad stinks.  That’s my humble opinion.

Instafreebie – Published the entire short story on March 17, 2017.  Shared that same day to about 25 free/erotica/paranormal Facebook Groups, in the hopes that people would see it and want to download a free book.  I ended up with a total of 21 downloads from 3/17/2017 to today (3/23/17).  Here’s a screen shot:

instafreebie results

In summary, Instafreebie was okay, but you have to promote the book yourself if you want people to download it.

Smashwords – Published the entire short story on March 15, 2017.  I should also mention that I have another free short story on there that was published roughly  a year ago.  I find that Smashwords is very user friendly and I had no problems with it.  I ended up with a total of 157 downloads between 3/15/2017 and today (3/23/17).  What did I do to promote the book on Smashwords?  Absolutely NOTHING.  (On a side note, my other short story that was published a year ago had about 132 downloads in a year before I started this experiment.  Now it’s up to 137, so I assume people read the unicorn book and wanted to try that one too.)

unicornia results


In summary, Smashwords yielded by far the best results with absolutely NO promotion on my part at all.

I know, you’re asking if any of this little experiment translated into actual money from real book sales.  Honestly, I have no idea.  When I sell a book on Amazon or have some page reads on Kindle Unlimited, I haven’t the slightest clue where the buyer originated from.  All I’m trying to do is hustle up some new readers at the lowest cost possible.  This was a very fun, FREE experiment and I was pleased with the results.  I try to be a numbers girl, and it was very satisfying to be able to track my progress on each site.

If any other authors try my experiment, I would LOVE to know what kind of results you receive.  Thanks!

READERS…this part is for you.  Do you want to read the Unicorn story?  Here is the blurb, the cover, and the link.  The link is for Smashwords, so you can download (upload?) the book in whatever format you’d like.  Enjoy!

Pixabay Free Unicorn Cover

After a rough week at work, Michael Willows goes out in search of a quick hook-up at his local bar. What he encounters there, is anything but ordinary.

This story involves foul language, graphic sexual content including a CONSENSUAL mating ritual between a male and female, a main character who’s a total jerk, humor, and a few plot twists and turns along the way.

I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my post.  If you’re a reader, please enjoy the story.  If you’re a writer and decide to do your own experiment, please let me know how it goes.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Grace Risata


I’ve set a new Record!

Did I grab your attention?  Good!  No, don’t get excited that I broke anything in the Guinness Book of Records.  I did, however, break a personal sales record for one day.  Am I bragging?  Heck no.  I just thought I would share a small success story in the hopes of inspiring other indie authors such as myself.

“Get to the good part!” you’re saying.  What did I do and what were my results?  I’m getting there.  Let me first start by explaining that I published my first contemporary romance in January of 2016 and I’ve published three more full length novels since that time.  I struggle every single day to get my name out there and sell books.  On average, I sell one or two books per day.  My previous highest sales day was either 27 books or 34 books.  I should have written it down, but I didn’t.  I’m not much of a numbers girl.  Anyway…March 1, 2017 I sold 67 books in one day and made it to #3 in my category (Humorous Erotic Romance).  I nearly had a heart attack.  I honestly thought Amazon made a huge mistake and I waited for the inevitable email that said they confused me with someone else.  But they didn’t.


67 units new record blog post


number 3 in my category - blog post


Ok.  Now you want to know what I did to get there.  I’m in a lot of Facebook groups with other authors.  I happened to find a random post where another author was looking to set up a March Madness promotion with twenty other authors, offering our books at either FREE or 99 Cents.  I have a book, Mowed, that’s always 99 cents, so I submitted my information to the person running the promotion.  I got accepted.  I shared the promotional post on my blog, and the other 19 authors shared it as well.  I’ve actually done this “newsletter swap” thing a few times before.  Once I sold 9 books and once I sold 14 books.  I was impressed with those results.  I had hoped to also sell a handful of books for the March Madness promotion.  I didn’t sell a handful…I sold 67.  In one day.

Let me clarify that I’m excited every time I sell five books in one day.  To sell 67 and DOUBLE my old sales record…I don’t need to tell you how thrilled I was.  I checked my KDP reports every hour and sat stunned as they kept showing more and more sales.  I skyrocketed to number 3 in my category.  In all honesty, maybe you’re not impressed.  Maybe you are well-known and you sell 67 books every day.  God bless you, my friend.  I do not fare nearly as well as you.  I did, however, spend all day basking in the glory.  I took screen shots every hour.  I walked around with my head held high like I was Stephen King.  I believe I started the day with an author rank in the 100,000s and I ended it with a rank of #4,155.

Did I magically assume I would turn into a best-selling author overnight and that I’d somehow be discovered and whisked off to my new private island?  Absolutely not.  I knew that it was a “one day only” bump and I’d soon plummet back into obscurity.  But it was a hell of an adventure while it lasted.

Did I mention the best part?  It was absolutely FREE for me to sign up for this promotion and I spent NO MONEY at all.  I also received noticeably higher page reads for at least four days after the promotion (Mowed is part of Kindle Unlimited and I get paid for page reads).  I also got a review out of the whole process.  As you are probably well aware, reviews from readers are hard to come by.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I highly recommend signing up for all the Newsletter Swaps you can get your hands on.  In fact, a friend told me about a website devoted to just that:

I just joined yesterday, so I can’t tell you how well it’s working yet.  But…it’s free…so…why not?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!  I hope I could be of help to someone.


New Cake Recipe…Don’t try this at home!

I know, I know.  You’re thinking to yourself, “Why is she giving me a recipe that I’m not supposed to try?”  This is more of a cautionary tale, as opposed to an, “Oh my goodness, you have just GOT to make this!”  Basically, I’m saving you from a bad experience.  You’re welcome.

Intrigued?  Read on…

Ok, so this recipe has a story behind it.  Obviously.  Because all my failed experiments usually have a back story.  I’m queen of the back story.  Last month was my husband’s birthday, so I ordered him a cake from our favorite local grocery store.  I was telling a co-worker about the cake I ordered, and I was pissing and moaning because my husband is completely not compatible with me when it comes to cake frosting.  I like the sweet cream frosting that’s all thick and sugary and makes everyone else in my family want to gag.  My husband (and everyone else in my family) prefers the butter cream frosting that’s all whipped and fluffy and does not have enough sugar content to get me where I need to be.  However, it was my husband’s birthday and not mine, so I had to suck it up and get the craptastic frosting.

The next day at work I complained to a co-worker and she said, “Did you ever make a soda cake?  Those are super easy.”  Anytime ‘easy’ and ‘cake’ are used in the same sentence, my ears perk up.  I like cake and I’m all about cutting corners.  (That’s a nice way to say that I’m extremely L-A-Z-Y.)  So she told me and I googled it.  Evidently there’s a whole You Tube video about a lady who makes a cake with 2 ingredients.  You take ANY box cake mix from the store and add ANY 12 ounce can of soda.  BAM.  That’s all.  Nothing else.  No eggs, no water, no oil.  Obviously you still need to get a tub of frosting.  [On a side note, I found it hilarious in the comments of her You Tube video…loads of people were bitching that the cake mix itself obviously contained more than one ingredient so they said to call it a ‘two ingredient cake mix’ really didn’t count.  Some people are soooo picky.]

Ok.  So I was extremely excited to try this new baking experiment.  My husband was hesitant and made a snarky comment about me potentially blowing up the oven.  However, I was undeterred.  I got fancy name brand cake mix, fancy frosting, and a fancy beverage.  No generics for this baker.  (You can use whatever combo your heart desires…this is what I chose… 7up, Red Velvet Cake, and Cream Cheese Frosting.  Why did I pick that combo?  My husband drinks 7up, the Cake mix was already in my pantry and set to expire in 2 weeks, and the frosting was also in my pantry.  Very scientific, I know!  I had originally wanted to do a dark chocolate cake with ginger ale, but I was told that would taste like crap and I bowed down to the peer pressure of the nay-sayers)


On Cake Making Day, I watched the whole You Tube video again and I was ready to DO this.  I dumped the cake mix and the soda into a bowl.  It stirred up remarkably well and had the same consistency as a normal cake mix-eggs-water-oil combo.


I was told to grease the pan extra good because the soda cake had a tendency to stick.  Otherwise, you use the same cooking time on the back of the box.  The box told me to cook it for 23-28 minutes.  That’s a large time difference.  If anyone read my book, My Dirty Detour, and noticed how Violet freaked out over undercooked meat…this is me in real life.  So naturally I erred on the side of caution and cooked the cake for a full 28 minutes.  It had SODA in it….so…soda needs to cook longer?

Yeah…no.  No it doesn’t.

The cake came out of the oven and I frosted it once it had cooled off.  Now time for the taste test.  It was okay.  I didn’t want to gag and spit it out, but it was a tad bit dry.  My husband and my mom (she’s 67 and doesn’t bake very often, so she demanded that I share with her) both said it was dry crap.  No, they don’t mince words.  So I ate ¾ of the cake all by myself.

But I wasn’t done experimenting.  Maybe I just baked it for too long.  Also, no scientific experiment is TRULY an ‘experiment’ if you only do it once.  I needed to try it again with different variables.

This time I used Betty Crocker WHITE cake mix, 12 ounces of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and Chocolate frosting.  I cooked that cake for 23 minutes AND NOT A SECOND LONGER.  Were the results magically different this time?  Did the cake miraculously come out wonderful?

Sadly, no.

It appeared that this cake did not even rise as much as the last one.  Feedback from my taste-testers?

“This cake is too dry.  I’m not eating this.  Don’t make this soda cake again.”  (Husband)

“Why is this so flat?  It looks like a brownie and not a cake.  Cake is supposed to be taller and not so dry.  Why can’t you follow the directions on the back of the box and do it the way you’re supposed to?  Now I have a taste for REAL cake that’s not yours.”  (Thanks, Mom.)

In conclusion…Betty Crocker would like you to use water, oil, and eggs.  Soda doesn’t produce the desired results.  And…I’m not a very good cook.

The You Tube video lady had another intriguing recipe with a brownie boxed mix and pumpkin pie…but I’m going to try that.  I’ll leave that one up to YOU, dear reader.  I’m going back to writing and leaving baking for the pros.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

P.S.  If you were expecting pictures of the finished product, there are none.  I was all optimistic when I began this whole adventure, but after I saw how it turned out, I decided no proof of my failure was necessary!

March is coming in like a LION!


March is a very long month with 31 days and it’s a giant pain in the butt.  It’s not warm enough to go outside and soak up the fresh air, the grass is still brown or (GAH!) snow covered, and summer seems eons away.

What to do then?

Um…sit inside, patiently wait for the temps to warm up, and curl up with a nice book.

Not sure what to put on your TBR list?  Have I got a deal for you!

21 authors of several different romance subgenres have decided to come in strong to bring you a March Madness of the bookish variety (obviously I’m one of them).

Each author featured is sharing a FREE or 99¢ book (and some have more than one on their Amazon page…so be sure to check them out)  Bonus: Some of the books/authors listed are also available through Kindle Unlimited to read for free if you’re part of the program.
So, enjoy this 1st day of March with lots of free and bargain titles! And, who knows, you may even find a new author to love! You will find books ranging from contemporary romance, YA and NA, romantic comedy, Male/Male romance, cowboy romance, steamy romance, erotic romance, paranormal romance, MMF action/romance….definitely a little something for every romance reader.

Please note: many of these titles are ONLY free or 99¢ on March 1, so please check to make sure the price is correct before you one-click!

Click on each image to visit the book/author Amazon page.  Many authors have more than one great deal/fabulous story!   (Click on this link to go to the official sale page…it has all the pretty book cover images…I have no clue how to get the images here because technology is beyond me sometimes…most of the time…a hell of a lot!)

Beau and the Beast by Kay Simone (99 cents)
The Ties that Bind by Rebecca Norinne (99 cents)
The Alphabet Wedding by Andie M. Long (FREE)
Cloaked by T.F. Walsh  (99 cents)
Love Keeps Giving by Casey Cameron
Colorado Wild by Sara York (99 cents)
Whistlin’ Dixie by Maggie Adams (free and 99 cents)
Playing by the Rules by Emily Robertson (99 cents)
He Loves Me Not by Shyla Colt (99 cents)
Drake Malone by Kendel Duncan (99 cents)
The Bright in Dark by Missy Welsh (99 cents)
Seventeen Wishes by Erica Alexander (99 cents)
Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson (99 cents)
Mission Happy by Rylie Roberts (99 cents)
Always by Kindle Alexander (99 cents)
Mowed by Grace Risata (99 cents….you should have read this already!)
Shadows of Jane by Amy Hale (FREE)
Incoming by A.E. Wasp (Free and 99 cents)
Saving Alex by Chris McHart
Brody & Nick by A.D. Ellis (Free and 99 cents)
Grit by J.M. Walker (Free and 99 cents)

Welcome to March, and HAPPY READING!