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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

I first started publishing my stories five years ago. I stuck my toe in the water with a short story, “Heart of Oak”.

Heart-of-Oak

Then followed up with my first published novel, BLOOD WILL TELL.

Become3

When I started, I published widely–directly to Amazon and through Smashwords to other marketplaces, including Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple iBookstore. I didn’t have all my eggs in one basket. Three other novels, three other short stories, and one novella followed. I didn’t do very much in the way of promotion and no traditional marketing at all. And mostly, I broke even or maybe did just a little better than that.

And then, in July 2014, two things happened. I published the first book in my epic fantasy series, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

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(By the way, is it bad that I can type the link to that book from memory?) And, within a couple of weeks, Amazon started its Kindle Unlimited program.

Somehow, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE made it onto Amazon’s lists, which really boosted sales. It’s still my most successful book. And I’m still mystified by how that happened, because I still wasn’t doing any real promotion or marketing. But, because of that boost on Amazon, I did notice something else: That first month, I had sold about 8 copies of TSC in all of the markets I reached through Smashwords and about 1500 on Amazon.

And Amazon had this new Kindle Unlimited feature that was only available to us independent authors under certain circumstances–one of which was that we make our books available exclusively through Amazon. Well, that was pretty much a no-brainer.

I withdrew the book from Smashwords and joined Kindle Select. That went so well that I published everything new–four more novels (three in the DUAL MAGICS series and one stand-alone) and a new short story–exclusively through Amazon. Gradually, I withdrew all my other work (except one short story that I’d always intended to leave free) from Smashwords and made them exclusive with Amazon, too. That’s nine novels, four short stories, and one novella.

And I’ve had no complaints about that decision until recently. Over the last month, page reads–the measure by which Amazon pays authors for books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited–have fallen to almost nothing. I don’t have the data to determine why this is. I don’t know if Amazon’s relatively new feature, page flip (for which they purposely don’t count pages) has anything to do with it or if it’s something else. Disabling page flip certainly hasn’t made a difference–though I’m in process of finishing up that project anyway.

Maybe all the Amazon customers who would be interested in my work through Kindle Unlimited have already borrowed it. Though, sales continue at about the level I’d expect six months after my last release.

Either way, it’s time to start exploring my options again. I’ve started looking at the schedule on which I can remove my stories from Kindle Select. This is slightly complicated by the boxed sets. I can’t publish the boxed set or any of the books or stories in the boxed set anywhere else while any of them are still in Kindle Select. However, they all seem to be grouped in the May/June time frame, for some reason, with one outlier in mid April.

As I prepare to publish BECOME: BROTHERS

Brothers

and get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, hopefully this week but certainly this month, I have a decision to make.

  1. I can publish it exclusively with Amazon, at least temporarily. This ties it up for three months. On the other hand, I haven’t completed–heck, I’ve barely started–my research into the best way to take my books wide again, so I probably wouldn’t be ready to do that immediately anyway.
  2. Or I can publish to Amazon first, without tying the book up in Kindle Select and continue my research into other options.
  3. I don’t see any value on holding off until I’m ready to go wide, so I can cross that option off, at least.

Onward.

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a-change-of-plans-vertical

Today, I’m part of the blog tour for Donna K. Weaver’s debut novel, A CHANGE OF PLANS. Donna is one of the Pied Pipers and an awesome critique partner.

A Change of Plans Cover

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover?

What it’s about:

When twenty-five-year-old Lyn sets off on her cruise vacation, all she wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a diversion uncomplicated by romance. What she gets is Braedon, an intriguing young surgeon. He’s everything her fiancé wasn’t, and against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world, her emotions come alive.

Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

But it’s hard to get away from someone when you’re stuck on the same ship. Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions. Then paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped, and Lyn’s fear of a fairy tale turns grim.

What I thought:

The characters are so thoroughly realized you feel like you know them. Plus there’s romance and adventure. Pirates, even.

In the first part, Lyn’s paralyzing fear of a second betrayal, especially in the temporary and fairy-tale environment of the cruise ship is so completely believable that you want to crawl into her corner and hide with her.

And then circumstances force her into a situation where trust is a survival skill–and a deep and abiding love grows between Lyn and Braedon. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all their trials are over.

To boil it down, I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down, even when it made me cry. Not very many books make me cry, but this one did.

I just got through re-reading it for this review and it was just as good the second time through. And I still read it through in just a couple of days, neglecting my own writing to read this story–and I knew how it was going to turn out.

In a word, terrific.

Oh, and be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for free e-books and swag.

Donna K. Weaver

Donna K. Weaver

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As part of publishing FIRE AND EARTH, I tried something new.

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

For the first time, I also made a print version available. Print on Demand services like Amazon’s CreateSpace make this possible, now. Nobody has to pay for a large print run. Copies are printed when ordered.

That’s not to say it’s just as easy as uploading a file. Neither is e-book publishing, come to that. There are various formatting issues that have to be solved with e-book publishing and those aren’t immediately obvious the first time or two. But then the learning curve kicks in and it gets easier.

Formatting for print, without having access to desktop publishing software, has its challenges. Certain quirks of MS Word made it more interesting. It wasn’t until I got the proof of FIRE AND EARTH that it finally became clear to me. What word showed as the left-hand page was reall, in print, the right-hand page. Ah. No wonder I hadn’t been able to make sense of the margins. (You see, you have to leave a larger margin on the inside so the print doesn’t run into the binding and disappear.)

Well, now that I’ve figure it out, I might as well capitalize on the learning curve. So, in the near future, I will be adding a print version of BLOOD WILL TELL and also probably a collection of the three shorter pieces I currently have available as e-books, “Heart of Oak”, “The Music Box”, and “Becoming Lioness”.  In fact, BLOOD WILL TELL is almost ready to go. I just want to tweak the cover a bit. That dragon bothers me just a little when the cover is blown up to 6″ x 9″. The edges are a little rough.

Blood Will Tell Cover

In other news, new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL are available on wattpad.

Next post, back to work in progress, MAGIC AND POWER (which is likely going to need a new title). This one is now over 46,000 words, so, yeah, it’s going to be a novel.

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It’s part of life. It’s certainly part of a writer’s life. Some days, you just wonder why you keep beating your head against the same walls–time after time.

I’m frustrated today and I’m just going to have to work through it. That’s a skill you’ve just got to learn. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t get you down every now and again.

Right now, nothing seems to be working out how I’d planned or hoped. That doesn’t mean that they won’t work out–eventually. One way or another. 

Even my current WIP has decided to grow a will of its own and take off in an unplanned direction. But there’s the bright side in all of this. Because I’ve decided I like the new direction better. It works. Does that mean I’ll have to revise some of the 20,000 words I’ve already written? Sure. But I was going to have to do that anyway. I’ve never yet written anything that was perfect on the first draft. That’s not what first drafts are for.

So, I’ll keep plugging away at the stuff that is working–and at the stuff that’s not working yet.

And, on that note, check out Wattpad for new chapters of FIRE AND EARTH and BLOOD WILL TELL. And, if you like what you read–or even if you don’t–leave a little comment, please. Right now, in all aspects of my writing, I’m hearing mostly crickets, which is just a little discouraging.

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