Monthly Archives: November 2014


The sale went very well; whether because of this or the holiday effect, sales have begun to pick up.
Two of my books completed their three-month Select period on Amazon; I’ve now submitted them to other publishers, and Darwin’s World and The Trek are available on Scribd, the Trek is also on Kobo. Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and Page Foundry will publish them within a week; I’m not sure why they’re slower, but they are. Anyway, the books will be available through those outlets, possibly through CreateSpace print option too. As the other books finish the Select period, they’ll become available through other publishers too. And of course, they’re all still available through Amazon.I’ve made the changes because Amazon’s promotion options aren’t working very well now, and the sales from the Ereader News Today promotion was much better. An additional reason had to do with what Amazon is paying authors when books are ‘borrowed’ through their Prime or Kindle Unlimited option. The amounts offered to the great majority of authors are not as good as what’s paid from a sale, and despite hefty bonuses to top selling authors, few will ever qualify for one of those.
It’s a part of marketing, something I’m still learning about. If the change doesn’t work as I hope, I can always go back to Amazon Select. Maybe if enough authors leave the program, Amazon will begin paying more per borrow.


Books, and Marketing

I’ve just dropped the price of Darwin’s World to $0.99; this will remain until Monday.
I intended to schedule a Countdown Deal, but Amazon balked; because I dropped the price to $4.99 (from a previous price of $5.99), they wouldn’t allow me to schedule a Countdown Deal; their rules say no changes in price within 30 days of a promotion.
I could understand this attitude if I had RAISED the price, but I didn’t. I lowered the price of the Darwin Series, both books, by a dollar each. I wasn’t trying to game the system, mark up books before putting them on sale. I did this because I’d purchased a professional cover for both books, and in the case of Darwin’s World, I extensively revised the book and had it edited. The plot’s the same, only the words have been slimmed down and improved. I owe that to readers because that’s my name on the cover, the same one I use for my bank, for my relatives and friends.
Since Amazon has been less than cooperative, I’ve decided to publish my books on several outlets including Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and Kobo, plus whatever others D2D has an agreement with. They’ll begin appearing as they finish the 3-months period of exclusivity I promised Amazon. But they won’t be automatically added to Amazon’s Select program.
Simply put, the previous promotions have stopped working. Facebook’s ‘promotion’ of an ad sold nothing, as far as I can tell. Ditto the previous offering of Talent through a Countdown Deal. So if the promotions aren’t working…
It’s time to change directions.
I’ll try publicizing deals through Ereader News Today from now on, and possibly through other marketers. I’ll know by next week whether this effort was worth the $20 they charge to add my book to their mailing.
If you’re a writer fighting the same problem, trying to raise your book from the sea of other recent publications, you might want to profit from my experience.

Sales, Marketing, and Whack-A-Mole

I’ve been trying to analyze the course of book sales since I began publishing almost 9 months ago. It’s very puzzling.
I’ve concluded that offering a book via Kindle Select is useful only in the first few months. After you have a few reviews, hopefully positive ones, your best bet as an author is to drop the KS option and publish through an aggregator such as D2D or Smashwords.
There was an initial burst of sales when I first listed a book. This probably came mostly from friends and family, augmented slightly by my Facebook community of friends. I saw an initial burst of sales after publishing each new book, and sales of the new book often stimulated collateral sales.
Meanwhile, I was attempting to learn all I could about this writing gig. Books were selling, the future looked promising. I got advice from lots of well meaning people who published experiences and comments on Goodreads as well as on their own blogs. Eventually I decided to try some of the advice, especially regarding marketing. If you’re a new author, you’ve probably considered doing the same thing.
Kindle Select offered a couple of marketing tools in exchange for publishing exclusively through Amazon. I tried the ‘free book’ approach and found it a dismal failure. I then tried their Countdown deal and that worked better, at least it did when I first tried it. But now that too isn’t working; new sales aren’t being generated, except for a few sales of the on-sale book at $0.99.
I’ve also tried marketing through Facebook; that was a failure. I made Mark Zuckerberg a tiny bit richer, myself poorer, and generated no sales. I don’t recommend that approach, the ‘Boost Your Post’ option they offer. Based on my experience, they make money, you don’t.
Meanwhile, I’ve kept writing and worked at learning to edit. I edit my own works, usually after a month to let everything fade in memory, plus I’m also editing for another writer, a fellow whose writing I admire. Editing’s a skill as demanding as writing; there’s a steep learning curve. But I applied my experiences, learned through writing at least half a million words, and improved the word choices of my first two books. I also bought a couple of professional covers. Note that the ‘improved’ versions are free to previous purchasers, but maybe the books will appeal to future readers.
My next effort is to market through ENT, one of the advertising email companies. They send out daily listings of selected books that are on sale. You send them information, they decide whether to include your book, and if they do they charge you $20 up front. I intended to schedule a Countdown Deal to coincide with their listing, but Amazon is balking. Because I recently revamped the book, including a $1 drop in price, they refuse to allow the Countdown Deal. My only option now is to go in the day before and drop the price to $0.99, which I will do.
But the bloom is now off that particular rose; Amazon is no better than any of the other providers, despite offering a couple of promotional deals if you publish exclusively with them.
Future strategy: continue to improve my writing, publish new books. Leave the new books on Amazon long enough to get a few reviews, then publish through an aggregator that distributes the book to various outlets (they take a percentage, but you get a much larger percentage than Amazon will pay if you publish exclusively with them; puzzling). Market exclusively from that point on by going through someone like ENT. I still don’t intend to offer the books free. I suspect the slump in sales is driven by that, so many freebies that there’s no incentive to pay for a book.
Not touched on here is the effect of Amazon’s KU program of ‘borrowing’ an unlimited number of books for one set price. That may at some point become the new sales behemoth, but as of now it isn’t much of a sales booster. The jury’s still out on this one.

Kindle Countdown Deal

The paranormal abilities, first revealed in Combat Wizard, developed in Wizard at Work, have begun to spread.

Who will gain the abilities next? How strong will they be? And how will they affect the people who suddenly realize they have powers, albeit limited ones? Who have received no assistance in learning how to use their abilities?

Will they use them for good? Or not?

And how will this affect society? Can police officers police those who have abilities they can’t understand, can’t cope with?

And what of the small group who first gained the abilities? Should they, CAN they, remain in hiding? Do they bear moral responsibility for what happens?

What should they do? What CAN they do?

Revision and a price cut

I posted the revised version of Darwin’s World this afternoon; it should be available tomorrow.

It’s my first commercial cover from a professional. I also changed the ‘subtitle’ to “An Epic of Survival”, which is more descriptive of the book. The revision took me almost a month and I cut about 10 000 words, bringing the novel down to somewhere around 98 000.

Since it was shorter, the original price of $5.99 was no longer justified. I reduced it to $4.99, the same as my other novels.

Now it’s back to writing my next novel in this series. The one thing I was lacking was a good ‘twist’ for the ending. No more; I’ve got a barn-burner! There will be other twists along the way as well and at least one shock. While the episode is unusually shocking, it led me to a satisfying ending and that twist I mentioned.

All I’ve got to do now is write it!