WG2E Guest C. C. MacKenzie on “iTunes Anyone?”

Here’s a superfab exciting look at Bestselling Author C. C. MacKenzie’s iTunes Ebooks Adventure!

Take it away, C. C.

Good Sunday Morning WG2E peeps!

Greetings from the United Kingdom.

We’re shivering under Arctic conditions.

So here’s the thing.

A very strange and wondrous thing has happened to my books in the last eight weeks. iTunes readers, God bless them, have found my contemporary romances and like them so much that they’ve put my free book into their HOT list every day since the middle of November 2012.  Sales across thirty countries of books two and three are totaling in the high double figures every day.

Since the word’s spread my inbox has received many messages from authors asking me to, ‘Give them the skinny on how I did it. What sort of promotions did I do? What’s the secret etc?’ As if I know what I’m doing, which is very flattering but I feel the need to come clean. I don’t know why. But I can share with you guys exactly what I did if that helps.

At the beginning of last September (since we didn’t have a Mac) I distributed book one of The Ludlow Hall series, Reckless Nights In Rome as a free read to iTunes via All Romance eBooks along with book two of the series, A Stormy Spring for $2.99. It took over two months for the books to go live, by which time I’d stopped checking the iTunes site deciding to simply go with the flow, it would go up eventually. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in this business it’s to have copious amounts of patience.

In the middle of November readers were increasingly messaging me asking for book three, Run Rosie Run. And it didn’t take long to figure out they were coming predominantly from iTunes. A quick check of the site confirmed the books had gone live and the free read had over one hundred 5* reader reviews.  Today 4/5* reviews now exceed two hundred and seventy.

Run Rosie Run went up on the 20th December directly to iTunes and is doing well across all distributors, but iTunes sales are in the lead.

So that’s it. That’s all I did. No promotions because we’d no idea the books were even up. No excitement, no fanfare, no secret handshake, no grand plan.

Of course what goes up is bound to come down. Book four of the series is being edited and book five is in first draft with outlines completed for six, seven and eight.  I’ve a stand-alone romance/adventure that’s ready but I’m keeping it in reserve – or should I get it out there before book four of the series?

What do wiser heads advise?

And if you have any questions, I’ll do my very best to answer them.

~~~ Christine

C C MacKenzie is a wife, and mother of three, based in South Cheshire, U.K. Since childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her careers in banking, fitness and interior design. Reckless Nights in Rome is her first novel, followed by ‘A Stormy Spring’ in August 2012 and Run Rosie Run in December 2012.

C C MacKenzie is currently finishing three more Contemporary Romances due for release in 2013. She is also working on a vampire paranormal saga.




Diane Capri Reveals CC MacKenzie | Diane Capri – Licensed to Thrill says:

November 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm (Edit)

[...] blend of humour, poignancy and a deep sensual warmth that speaks directly to her readers. About Reckless Nights in Rome, one reader said,  “CC MacKenzie can write a sex scene like no other. She even beats out JD Robb [...]

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  1. Diana Layne says:

    hey, lady, I shared this link with the RWA romantic suspense group because just this week we were having a big debate over giving books away and many take the side that we are creating monster readers who only want free books. My personal opinion is those who want free books have probably just discovered a love of reading through the new technology and they aren’t confident enough in that new love to buy books yet, but once they’re hooked, they’ll buy as many as we lifelong readers who still buy a lot of books.

    And yes, I know you yelled at me for going back into Select but I don’t have enough in my series to offer one perma free right now. When I get the other two out this year, then I’ll try this if it’s still working and the sellers still allow. It’s a great idea and I’m thrilled for your success.

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      LOL! Would I yell at you? Would I? My experience has been that peeps are reading my free Ebook and if they like it they buy the rest, then they msg me looking for the next one.

      I haven’t had readers asking me for MORE free books, in fact quite the opposite, they’re thrilled to have one at all.

      And coincidently, this weekend, the lovely Michael Gallagher of Free Kindle Books & Tips http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/2013/01/18/five-free-kindle-books-for-a-friday-night/# posted Reckless Nights In Rome on his blog. With the increased visibility, in twenty-four hours I’d over 4,000 downloads which punched it into #31 for contemporary and nudging the top 100 free books in the store. Sales in Amazon.com for my other books tripled – so I hope it’s helpful for authors to see the results of an event happening in ‘real’ time.

      But as I said I haven’t done anything new, I’ve followed in the footsteps of DeeDee and Gemma Halliday. I love your work btw and want readers to find you. :)

  2. Kim says:

    You go girl! I am so happy for you, no wonder why I haven’t heard much from you. You are busy, busy, busy! Congrats. But now that was for free…are you making some money? itunes, it seems everyone goes to itunes, the portable society we are. :) I’m doing my second and will do a third to my ‘French Bleu.’ Sales are flat but I will concentrate in August for promos, etc. Nice to see you.

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      Hello Kim,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Yes, on iTunes with one book priced at $2.99 I made four figures in November and December. Since Run Rosie Run’s been added I’ve doubled that amount. Sales on iTunes have been consistently double/triple per day what I’m selling on Amazon.

  3. Brilliant CC. Thank you for so generously sharing your experiences and I hope you go from strength to strength!

  4. I think C.C. is being too modest. Her secret is she wrote a damn good book. And then another one. And another. Giving the first one away for free is great marketing IF its the kind of storytelling that’s going to hook readers and have them panting for more. Which her books do.

  5. D.D. Scott says:

    Ridin the Free-Way, as I call it, has sooo worked for me on iTunes too, C.C.! In fact, I’ve had a very similar experience to yours – although, you’re doing even better!!!

    My “First One is On Me” experiment began with Apple iTunes over a year ago now – via Smashwords, as that’s how I get to Apple because I don’t have a Mac.

    To date, I’ve now SOLD on iTunes over 4,000 Ebooks! I’m still waiting on my latest Amazon Mover’s and Shakers Series to hit the iTunes stores, and I think they’ll do very well there too! I’ve also hit iTunes Bestsellers Lists in 7 countries now!!!

    Go, iTunes Readers, Go!!!

    P.S. I wish I knew how many FREE copies have been downloaded there, but Apple doesn’t give that number to Smashwords. Also, I have not had as many reviews as you’ve had on there, although, that said, my FREE book has been reviewed over 200 times by Apple iTunes Readers with a 4-Star average! Yayyy!!!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Oh, and get those in an Ebook Boxed Set for iTunes too, C. C.! Those do fabulously well there, and there aren’t many of them yet!!!

      • D.D. Scott says:

        You do have to use a 2D Cover for their boxed sets though…at least, in the past, they weren’t allowing 3D Covers. Let me know if that’s changed…because that’s what Smashwords is telling us., and if it’s changed, I’ll let Mark Coker know. Here’s an example of the 2D vs 3D Covers:


        • DD, I wanted to list direct to Apple, so I paid Author EMS to upload via their Mac for me. They have access to my account as an admin only. It’s inexpensive, and then I have complete control over when I put something on sale, and I can see the free downloads as well as paid. I can pre-schedule a free run or discount, put the end date, and it automatically goes back to regular price once that date comes. SW is great in some aspects, but for the past 6-9 mo. I’ve had nothing but trouble getting them to make any price changes in less than 2wks to up to 2 months.

          You might not want to pull your current books, but it’s something to consider for your upcoming releases.

      • CC MacKenzie says:

        That’s a good idea about boxed sets. I was thinking once books four and five are out, I’d box set the first three. Thank you very much for 2&3D Cover examples. My techie guy is going to love those.

        Thank you very much for having me on WG2E, DeeDee.

      • Diane Capri says:

        DD, thanks to your encouragement and the success you and Gemma have had with boxed sets, I did boxed sets late last year. Mine are not flying off the shelves, but readers are finding them slowly but surely. Thanks for all you do and for the great advice!

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      I remember you posting about it at the time – I learned at the knee of the master, lol!

      Total downloads for Reckless across all distributors across thirty countries has exceeded 180,000 at the beginning of January, with the downloads still hitting this weekend on Amazon I can count another 10,000 plus. It’s a really interesting scenario to watch.

  6. Lois Lavrisa says:

    CC- great post and Welcome:)

  7. Angela Brown says:

    It’s very interesting to see how differently things can occur with different authors. It goes to show that there isn’t a secret formula to perfect marketing. Sometimes, just having a good read at the right moment is all that matters.

    Thank you for sharing your story :-)

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      I know, Angela, it’s difficult to say what will work with one person might not work for another. And romance readers are voracious too.

      Thank you for commenting.

  8. Thanks for sharing your how-to…this makes a lot of sense. Bottom line, of course, is the writing must be damn good. *s* Conventional wisdom then is write the book, and the next book, and the next and the next.

  9. denise says:

    you’r books are great can not wait until book four comes out. FYI we love your freebie books

  10. D.D. Larsen aka Dean says:

    I’m so happy for you, CC. May this be just the beginning of a long string of successesfor you.

  11. I’m so Thrilled for you, CC. I think you and DD are definitely on to something. CC. DD. I see a trend in names here. That’s got to mean something! I’ll be announcing my new name and blog very soon. Stay tuned for more from: GG McGee and the First One’s Free! Waddaya think? ;-)

  12. Awesome CC!

    Whether you promoted the books directly or not you’ve really worked hard to get your name known and its shows in your sales. And your work is great, I loved Rome and I have Spring on my reading list (I’m a guy, can’t be caught reading romance too often ;)

    Keep warm!

  13. Christine, I’m happy things are rocking along for you! You deserve it with how hard you work. :) Now get that next book out, woman.

  14. Dale Amidei says:

    My personal opinion, given the genre, is that you should concentrate on the series production while making your separate title better and better. Once the series titles are out and you are even more famous, it will be time to unleash the standalone and politely tell the Top 100 to step aside.

  15. Tamara Ward says:

    Go, Christine! :D You so deserve it! Thanks for sharing your success story.

  16. How do you find the time to write so muc?. I have 3 little ones and I struggle to find the time to finish even 2 books in a year. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a secret handshake for success :)

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      Hello, Christina!

      The books/characters have been simmering at various stages of development for over four years. I cannot imagine how the girls like you manage it with tiny children, a home to run, and a husband to keep … happy. ;) Writing two books a year is pretty good.

      My three children are older and pretty much self sufficient. My H is my techie guy (thank God) so he does the linky stuff on my blog/keeps an eye on stats/formatting/dealing with distributors/payments/issues/runs the photography accounts/photographs/models we use for the covers. I have two editors who are experienced in editing romance. Four betas who are voracious readers of the genre and they get the books at the end of the process purely for the reading experience – they’re not there to pick up errors (although one caught a beauty just before Rosie went out.) We read them on iPad/Kobo/Kindle to see what the formatting looks like, because it’s amazing how different it can look on a device. The new Nook/Fire/iPad mini’s are amazing. Many readers read on their phones – especially androids.

      I’m prolific, always have been and used to worry about it. I write/work nine hours+ per day, every day. My creative spurts tend to be at night or in the early hours of the morning. When I’m disciplined (not easy) I write before logging onto the internet. My paranormals are not doing as well, and yet receive good reviews, but it’s early days with those and we’ll see how it goes.

  17. Diane Capri says:

    CC, you know I already love you, right??? Your success on iTunes inspired me to try it and although my books are not romance and are not doing as well as yours, they’re starting to pick up some traction. Thanks so much for the cheerleading, which I happen to know you’re very, very good at because I’ve seen you with pom-poms!!

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      You’re very kind, Diane. Ah, yes, the pom-poms – will I ever live it down.

      The key is to share our experiences and that’s what you and DeeDee and others do. Without listening to the experience of people who’ve actually done it and followed advice, this wouldn’t have happened.

  18. I’m always learning something from Christine! She not only pubs fab stories on what appears to be an insane schedule, but is there to answer the questions.
    In this case, I’m honing in on the advice about having copious amounts of patience. I think I might have to ask for that on my next birthday. :)

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      Hi, Coleen!

      Patience is the killer, isn’t it? It’s so hard. But it’s crucial to make sure the books are in the best possible condition before they’re published.

      Thank you so much for commenting.

  19. Donna Coe-Velleman says:

    Congrats C.C.. I’m not up to where you are but writer friends of mine are debating whether giving away a book on Amazon etc is worth it..Glad it worked out for you.

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      How do you do, Donna.

      Lovely to meet you. I think it was Gemma Halliday who said, give away the best book you can possibly write to showcase your work – and I agree. If we’ve written a story the readers love and offer them two or three more then we’ve a good chance of success.

      Good luck.

  20. I am ecstatic you’re having such success, CC. You’re one of the hardest working writers I know and you put out fantastic books – so it’s well deserved. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    • CC MacKenzie says:


      Well, you’ve been with me every step of the way and along with Tamara were the first reviewers of my books and I didn’t even know you guys! The advice and support I’ve received has been immeasurable. And when I’ve tossed all my toys out of the pram the WG2E street team have tossed them back in and given me a back rub when I’ve needed it.

      The community we’ve built to support each other is amazing. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have met every single one of you.

  21. They say when you give of yourself to others first, you will receive back a mulitude in return. And that is what Christine MacKenzie has done. She has been the source of encouragement for so many authors during a time when she herself was fighting a personal battle of her own. Yet, she remains undefeated, turning her vivacious energy towards her love for writing. And now look at what’s happened. Success! Christine is living her dream and she deserves every minute of it! Congratulations Christine! {{Hugs!}}

    • CC MacKenzie says:


      What the hell are you like, woman? Love the emocion with the plaster over its mouth.

      Writing has in many ways kept me sane by giving me a world to escape into when times looked dark. As writers we can use those emotions in our stories.

      You know I’m going to kill you for posting that, don’t you?

      *Head shake*

      Big Hug backatcha!

  22. CC, your success is amazing. I’m constantly watching what you’re doing (do you feel my eyes on you?) and listening to what you say. Between you and DD, well, you gals are just amazing. Okay, maybe it’s the initials. CC and DD. I could be SS.
    I’m taking a book from your page and my latest novella has been sent out to multiple online bookstores and I’ll do the same with my latest novel.

    Thank you for all of the great advice and for sharing your experiences.

  23. I just bumped getting better acquainted with iTunes up on my 2013 to-do list. Not much new to say that others haven’t already said but I’ll add my 2 cents.

    You are amazing, Christine, and we love you!!

    • CC MacKenzie says:

      Hi Kassandra,

      I wasn’t up close and person with iTunes either or B&N so it just goes to show that we need to send bait out into every pond.

      Thank you, everyone has been too kind on this post.

      Now, back to the grindstone and the daily word count. :)

  24. Lily silver says:

    Wow Christine,
    How exciting and inspiring! Its encouraging to hear that sales can just take off on a platform like that. The series seems to be a good way to go. I’m starting to write my third in a series this month and hoping to have it out by June or July. Then maybe I will put the first one free.

    Keep writing and thanks for sharing your success with us. It it so easy to see only the negatives in this self pubbing journey but I try to keep a positive outlook…… and friends like you, DD and other street team peeps help keep me focused on the long tail sales and not obessing over day to day flucuations in stats. Congrats again. Let’s see you do the happy dance! We’ll all join in….Macarena line anyone?

  25. CC!!! What a great story!!! But of course, it goes without saying talent and a go-get-’em mentality drove you to success. ITunes just did the rest, girl. ;)

    I’m so excited for you and the success of your series!!! I’m going to download today!!! (Just realized I’d been so busy on edits that I hadn’t done that yet.) Can’t wait to get started on your vamp series too. Woot!!!

    Stay focused and keep on delighting your readers, CC!!! <3

  26. This is so great CC! Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s great to know Amazon is not our only hope out there. As I write this I’m furiously working on putting book 2 together. I want to have 3 books in this series out before I do what you guys have been doing. I have been going through SW but I think I’ll pull my latest from distribution to iTunes and go with Author EMS.

  27. Adesina says:

    Oh I lovee these, Mackenzie should be a model I did a shoot in all the very same pcales about a month ago haha, I thought I had found a sweet new location, you must have beat me to it!