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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Right now, I seem to be suffering from a severe lack of motivation concerning my writing. I’m not entirely sure why.

  • It could be the dismal reports from Amazon, lately. If I had any doubt that page flip was eating me alive, this chart put them to rest.Page Reads PercentThat’s page reads as a percent of my royalty income (in the U.S. only). For months the number stayed in a small range. The upward swing corresponds to the release of WAR OF MAGIC.warmagicprintcover Then, after December–when, perhaps, people got new reading devices that were page-flip enabled–page reads from Kindle Unlimited start to drop like a rock. This is why I’m pulling my books out of KU. Yeah, that could have something to do with my motivation.
  • It could be related to the struggle I had finding my way into this story. I still believe in this story, but it’s true that it took me longer and more tries to find a way to tell works–I hope. I tried telling it chronologically, but that just took too long to get to the main story line. I tried using flashbacks, but that was distracting–and still took to long to get to the main story line. I finally settled on starting with the novella to get in the story of the relationship between these two brothers which is going to be important to the rest of the story. But I am still just a little nervous about starting an epic fantasy series with a novella. That doesn’t exactly comport with reader expectations for the genre.
  • Or, it could just be burn out. That happens. The good news is that it’s always temporary. But sometimes we all do need to take a break, even writers.

Or, of course, there’s nothing preventing it from being a combination of all three.

And, ultimately, it doesn’t really matter which it is. What matters is breaking through it. And, one thing I know: the only way to do that is to write.

So, here are my options:

  • Try to power through on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.
  • I have another epic fantasy series on the back burner, currently titled MAGE STORM. It should be a four-book series. I could work on that.
  • Something altogether else, like my Cinderella retelling.

Also, since I’m pulling my books out of Kindle Unlimited, I still need to research exactly how I’m going to go about taking them to a wider distribution.

Then too, because of the complications of the boxed sets, the first books that will be ready to go wide are the Chimeria series.

ChimeriaBox

But I want to run another editing pass through them first. So, there’s that to work on, too.

Now, all it takes is a bit of discipline to get back on track.

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Brothers

Become: Brothers is now live. It’s still only 99 cents for a while longer.

I really need to get off the dime and start doing some more promotion for this one.

I also need to:

  1.  Update the back matter in all my other books. Again.
  2.  Make a definite plan for taking all of my books back to wide distribution in the next couple of months.
  3. As part of the above, give BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER a brush up.
  4. Hopefully review and finally approve the audio files for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE audio book. And start thinking about an audio book for THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.
  5. Oh, and get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

becomeblue

Hmm. Maybe that list is why I’ve been slacking off this last week. Well. There’s a solution to that. Prioritize. I guess that’s the first step.

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Busy day, mostly because I had to reschedule things I would normally do tomorrow. But there’s something extra I have to do for work tomorrow. So . . .

The next logical step in planning to remove my books from Kindle Unlimited and go to a wider distribution is figuring out exactly how I’m going to do that.

When my books were available widely before, I mostly used Smashwords for distribution other than at Amazon. There are other options for the same service now, but the main one is still Draft2Digital, just as it was then. There are pros and cons to both services and I have to delve a lot deeper into that before I make my choice.

Of course, the other option is to handle the distribution to fewer, selected markets myself. That means formatting for each different market. Tracking sales and payments in several different places. And, for the Apple iBookstore, which is probably the second biggest market after Amazon, finding a way to deal with an interface that is built to only work with Macs from a PC.

Then, of course, there’s the whole complexity of how to manage and coordinate promotions with so many different markets. There’s no question Kindle Select makes that easier. But it’s just not feasible to stay exclusive with Amazon anymore. Not with page flip intentionally under-counting page reads–and therefore payment to authors. And yes, I’ve seen too much circumstantial evidence to doubt that that’s exactly what’s happening.

So, in addition to trying to move ahead on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING

becomeblue

it looks like I’ll have a fair amount of research to work through in the next month or so.

In the meantime, I’ve already started taking steps to remove my works from Kindle Select–and therefore from Kindle Unlimited.

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So, one of the first steps in figuring out how to take my work back to wider markets is determining the schedule. And the first step in that is finding out when the various books, short stories, novella, and boxed sets can come out of Kindle Select. It’s the boxed sets that make this a little complicated.

The KS term for THE DUAL MAGICS BOOKS 1 – 3 boxed set ends on May 23, but the set includes:

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set

  1. THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, term ending May 27
  2. THE VOICE OF PROPHECY, term ending June 1
  3. BEYOND THE PROPHECY, term ending May 29
  4. And, the joker in the deck, the short story “Modgud Gold”, term ending June 27

Apart from that “bonus” short story that I threw in, they’re all nicely grouped. I’ll have to pull the novels out of Kindle Select a month before I can do anything else with them. Not ideal.

On the positive side, WAR OF MAGIC, which isn’t in the boxed set, has a term ending date of June 23, so at least it will fall right in line when I prepare to take these wide.

On the negative side, I can’t do anything productive about these until late June, except start taking them out of Kindle Select.

But BY SWORD, TALE, OR MAGIC is even more interesting.

By Sword Boxed Set

The boxed set KS term ends on April 17, but the contents:

  1. FIRE AND EARTH term ends May 13
  2. THE BARD’S GIFT term ends also May 13
  3. DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING term ends May 6
  4. And the “bonus” short story “Becoming Liones” term ends July 4

Obviously, the thing to do with this one is take the boxed set out of KS last since it’s next term end date would presumably be somewhere around July 17.

Which, at least coincides closely with DUAL MAGICS. Looks like I might be busy for a couple of weeks early this summer.

Then there’s my CHIMERIA series.

ChimeriaBox

This and the two books included in it, BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER all have term ending dates of May 24. Easy. Except that I really don’t want to lead off with these. They were among the first things I published. I’ve been re-reading them and I seriously think they need a bit of work before taking them out to a wider world–and not just because my craft has improved in the meantime. These–and the handful of other short stories and one novella–will likely go last–which means late August at the earliest.

Well, at least I have plenty of time to research my options.

Meanwhile, I’ve got one more little scene to write and I’ll be ready to publish BECOME: BROTHERS

Brothers

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First, results on the project to disable page flip are confusing. It seemed to be helping at first, but lately . . .

Page reads flatline

I have never had three straight days of zero page reads before. I’ll give it a bit more time, but I may have to rethink some strategies. If the only way I can have my books available through Kindle Unlimited is to let people read them without any reimbursement to me (currently Amazon pays between $0.0045 and $0.005 per “page”) then I may have to opt out and take my books back to wide distribution. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but it may be necessary.

Even if that’s what happens, I won’t count the experiment a failure. Firstly, if that’s the way things are, then I need to know that to make good decisions. Secondly, I think going through all my published books occasionally is a good thing. I may have to do it annually or at least biannually, if only to keep the links to my other books up to date. (I know there are simpler ways to do this that I may have to investigate further, too.)

At any rate, if I hadn’t been doing that, I probably would never have taken a second look at the covers for the Chimeria Series or for some of my shorter works. (“Wyreth’s Flame” is probably due for a new cover, too. And I may try to do a little something more with THE MUSIC BOX, to give it more of a fantasy feel.)

As far as covers go, after some struggles, I think I’ve got the one for BLOOD IS THICKER:

BitPurple

The cover for BLOOD WILL TELL still needs a little work, though.

Become3

Looking at the covers in a smaller size (like the thumbnails on Amazon), it’s clear that there are dragons on the new cover for BLOOD IS THICKER. But much less clear on the new cover for BLOOD WILL TELL, because the gold dragon doesn’t show up as well against the moon. I need to work on that.

And, of course, I also need to work on both the revisions and the cover for BECOME:BROTHERS. I’ve stopped temporarily at a place where my critique partner asked me to go deeper into the main character’s feelings about something. She’s right. After all, the character is modeled after Hercules to considerable extent. In order to work, in order for readers to care about him, I need to show his vulnerabilities as well as his strengths. I just need to think a bit on the best way to show that. It’d be easy to just go deeper into his head–and I will do that, too–but I think I also need a scene to actually show it first. And that’s what I have to think about a little bit.

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Wow, I got busy today and almost forgot to blog.

In my defense, I was (mostly) busy. Seems I opened a can of worms when I started updating all of my already-published books. Not that it didn’t need to be done. But, while I’m making the insides prettier and more, well, up-to-date, it seems silly to leave subpar covers on some of the older books and stories.

What happened was that I worked my way down to the Chimeria series. And, yeah, something needs to be done there. Starting with the first book in the series, BLOOD WILL TELL.

Blood Will Tell Cover

Not my worst cover ever. But not exactly stellar, either. In my defense, this was one of my earliest covers.

This is the unfinished version of the new one.

Become3

Unfinished because I’m not sure that I’ve got the right font, yet. Also, I may still move the dragon around a little. I like him better against the blue background than against the moon.

Then, I need to move on to the sequel, BLOOD IS THICKER.

Blood Is Thicker Cover

I have no defense to offer for that one. I’m amazed anyone ever bought that one.

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My page reads (on books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited) were definitely down for the month of February. Not just in absolute terms, but also in relation to sales. I can’t tell, at this point, whether that was due to the one-day free promotions that I ran on several of my books. Or to a reported glitch Amazon introduced with its page flip feature. Or both.

Page reads have rebounded somewhat in March, but not to where I think they should be.

Therefore:

  1. No new promotions for this month, at least.
  2. And I will be doing revisions on several of my books–some of which I’d intended to do anyway–and attempting one possible fix to the problem. Including figuring out some new software.

Sometimes, being an indie author is all about experimenting to see what works–and, occasionally, what doesn’t.

First up for revisions, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

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I didn’t have the map done when I published the first book in the series. I’ve been meaning to go back and put it in, anyway.

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