Tag Archives: kindle

Hiatus Howdy

Some of you might have noticed a lack of posts for quite some time. The internet is full of cat pictures. I have full confidence they kept everyone entertained while I was focused on writing and science-ing.

While you were watching cat videos, there were many, many, many days of science-ing and book 3 of the Crossroads of Fate series is in edits and due out early 2018. Also of interest, my publisher, Pro Se Productions, started a digital thriller short story of the week collection.

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Consisting of Harridan, The Out-of-Timers, AKA The Sinner, and Murder, AR, the four different series will rotate, telling a new tale each week. Yours truly will have a short story in the Harridan series. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, it’ll be FREE and $1.49 for everyone else. To keep up with the releases of this or other stories, be sure to like ProSe’s Facebook page so you don’t miss out!

I have a scifi book I’m shopping around and if anyone nibbles, I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, let me know if you want more content on Zane’s log or Diary of an Accidental Sidekick by visiting and sharing some love.

A number of people stopped by ProSe’s table at MCFC and cleared them out of copies of Daughter of Destiny and put a nice dent in the stack of copies of Betrayals. I hope everyone who bought a copy enjoys and if you’re stopping in because you saw me at the con, welcome! Feel free to poke about and take a peek into my worlds.

 

 

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Judging a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Yeah, people don’t follow that, especially on the internet. The course on udemy.com by Tom Corson-Knowles makes some very good points. When people scroll through the loads of books available, it’s the cover that grabs a potential buyer’s attention. Shopping online differs greatly from the browsing experience of a brick and mortar book store. There’s no helpful staff to suggest a book. Sure, Amazon’s algorithms do their best, but they aren’t comprehensive or always right.

If you publish traditionally, while most of this you won’t have to worry about, keep the design aspects in mind when giving the go ahead on the cover art drawn up by the in-house artist.

Here are some interesting and helpful tidbits:

  • Hire someone to make a professional looking cover.

Unless you are skilled at graphic art, do not use that picture you took of your dog or your kid’s stick art and paste your title above it. The course instructor suggested fiverr.com. I had no idea this site existed and it looks like a great resource. You can preview an artists’ work, read reviews, and it’s far cheaper than the several hundred dollars one might pay otherwise to graphic artist.

  • It’s all about the title.

Pretend you are selling your book to a world full of Great-Aunt Berthas whose eyesight is rather iffy. The first look at your book most people will see is a tiny little thumbnail. If your cover looks like an impressionist painting when reduced to a thumbnail, redesign the cover.

  • Aim for a neat, professional, uncluttered cover.

This goes back to hiring someone who knows what they are doing, but even the best sometimes come up with duds. What looks okay in print doesn’t always show up well on a screen. Keep in mind also that some readers (like me) have a basic e-reader device without color. The breathtaking work of art should be between the pages; not on the cover.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s My Niche?

My dear Soup King got me an online course for publishing on the Kindle. A lot of the marketing applies to micro and small press as well. I started with the “Market Research” for fiction.

Here’s what I got from this section:

Good Advice

1) Write the best story you can.

2) Don’t pick the current “hot” trend, but rather write something that sparks your interest and about which you feel passionate.

3) Writing is a long-term commitment.

4) You can succeed in any genre. Of course, success is subjective.

5) There’s really no new ideas, but rather find your way to tell it.

Why I’m not a millionaire…(aka..I disagree)

1) Pick a genre. My genres picked me, and I tend to combine genres.

2) Don’t jump from genre to genre. Oops. I’ve written romance, urban fantasy, science fiction, YA sci-fi, dark fantasy, and horror. My publisher says the book I’d think of as speculative fiction is pulp fiction. It seems I’m doing it wrong.

3) Examine your niche genre. Read reviews and see what people like and what they don’t. Include elements that people like. You’re supposed to think about what readers want, BEFORE YOU WRITE? I put what I like. I’m a reader. Does that count? On that whole “niche”, uhm…. yeah, I’ll get back to you when I figure that one out.

Stay tuned for more stuff I’m doing wrong.

They make it sound so easy…

Awhile back I put forth the idea for an experiment.  A good scientist does research before delving into the actual experiment. Do a Google search for “self publishing on Kindle“. All sorts of interesting links pop up. There are people selling “how-to” guides, authors giving advice on pricing e-books, success stories, etc. If one goes directly to Amazon there is more in-depth information. There seem to be two options for publishing. If, like me, you do not own a nice fancy, insanely priced Adobe Creative suit, you can use Amazon’s service to convert from a Word or other type of digital document into their Kindle format. (Although, I do know someone who owns it and may bribe him to let me use it to compare the D-I-Y vs Amazon’s formatting.) If by chance you do own the desktop publishing software, you download a plug in, do the work yourself, and tada, your book is ready to astound the Kindle community.

Pros of doing it yourself in Adobe:

  • No need to fork over 30% cut of royalties over to Amazon. (I think. Amazon must get something, but I haven’t seen that agreement yet.)
  • If there are errors, only you are to blame.
  • I’m sure there are more, but  as I mentioned, I haven’t read the user agreement for this route. Amazon may slip some of the same things in for people merely selling.

Cons:

  • Have you SEEN how much that program costs? :O
  • If one has never used Adobe, I imagine there would be many long hours of frustration while learning new software.
  • Allowing Amazon to do the formatting means you forfeit a portion of your profits.
  • They can go in and alter formatting at their discretion. (Odds are they rarely do this, but this particular clause disturbs me).

I’m not sure if this is for everyone, or merely the “Kindle Direct” users, but Amazon lets the author set a list price, but then retains the right to set the retail price to whatever they want it to be. Again, this is an issue where odds are they generally don’t change the price, but the fact that they can is annoying. Of course, in traditional publishing, the author has no say-so whatsoever in the cost of the book. Considering that, it isn’t too big of a pill to swallow.

Here’s an interesting conundrum:

“You will not, without our express, prior written permission: (a) issue any press release or make any other public disclosures regarding this Agreement or its terms;…” Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing agreement. Hmm. I haven’t accepted their terms yet, as I’m merely researching at this point and not ready to publish anything. Why can’t people discuss the terms? Why do they want it secret? I find this the most disturbing.

So does it count as a breech I publish this prior to accepting?

Hopefully my fellow writers find this information useful. In the meantime I shall plod along with my edits and the construction of my website.

 

 

The Scientific Method

“I’m contemplating applying the scientific method.”

If said that at my day job, I might get booted out for not using it sooner. Typically, when playing with chemicals and cell cultures, logic, precision, methodology, and accuracy are considered standard practice. In the realm of fiction writing, one might wonder how the scientific method applies. Well, it isn’t so much the writing process, rather the publishing process that I am tempted to experiment with.  For two years I’ve been following the traditional method of submit, wait, get rejected, rinse and repeat. Some of the larger publishing houses are black holes. You submit, are not allowed to submit to ANYONE during the six to eight months they request, and yet, at the end of that time, nada. Silence. Zip. Did anyone even read the submission or did it get put under the leg of a wobbly table and forgotten? Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve had positive feedback from some smaller publishers, but smaller houses often stick to very strict genre guidelines. When I sat down to write, I purposely included elements from three different genres. I’ve seen it done to varying degree in other books, and as one who loves to defy categorization, I said, “Why not?” It is both frustrating and rewarding to have an editor tell you they couldn’t put the book down, but that it doesn’t suit their house. So, I found another publisher and I’m on month five of the six month wait. *sigh* I plan to continue this process, if only to prove myself and my writing.

As I watch brick and mortar bookstores close one after another my views on publishing are shifting. Five years ago I would have laughed at the idea of publishing in any type of e-book format. A year ago I decided I wanted a publishing house that put out both  e-books and traditional trade or mass market books. This year I’m beginning to wonder how long it will be before the traditional book becomes a specialty item that only those with large amounts of disposable income can afford.

Self-publishing, a.k.a. vanity publishing, is not new. I’ve met a couple of authors who went that route and were picked up by publishing houses, but they are the exception rather than the norm. With the boom of e-readers (Kindle, Nook, and iPad– none of which I own), another phenomenon has risen. Self-published e-books. Instead of contracting a company for hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars for less than quality work, people are circumventing that and marketing e-books directly to the public through Amazon.com. Both new and established authors have found surprising success. Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking are two of several who’ve had positive experiences in the self e-pub realm. As Ms. Hocking points out, it isn’t for everyone, but I’m tempted to explore this phenomenon. I have several projects in various states of completion. If finding a home for my primary series is proving difficult, I suspect the second series I’ve started will be even harder. I’ve met and talked with authors, editors, and booksellers over the past six years. Unless an author had an established track record of good sales, outside the “Big Six” publishing companies, publicity is minimal, promotion and marketing up to the author, and control over content and cover art can be frighteningly nonexistent. So, I pose the question, “How is publishing an ebook all that different?”


My inner scientist perks up at that magic word: “how”.

The experiment: Pursue traditional publishing with my first series and provide updates with progress. Research Kindle Direct Publishing, finish, polish, and proceed with a smaller project, posting updates including both successes and mistakes.
Any bets on how this will turn out?

Who thinks I should put on my lab coat, green goggles, and take on this experiment?