Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The slect program worked--up to a point. As long as the book was part of the program there were a few people who bought the book and one or two that bought other books in the series. I did notice forty three sales in England--but only two were paid sales.
Rather than continue Slect, I droppped the pruce ub both series to ninty nine cents. Let's see if that makes a difference.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Amazon kindle slect program

Recently I took advantage of the Kindle Select program. For anyone not familiar with it, the program allows readers to “borrow” your book for free and there is no return date.
The program’s disadvantage is the requirement not to have the book for sale on any other device for ninety days. But it does allow you to give away the book five times during this ninety days. Hopefully this will increase interest in the rest of the series.
As far as I can tell there has been no borrowing, however I gave away 151 copies in the US and another 63 in the UK on the first three of the free days. The title of the book is Junkyard Dog and it is part of the Malfore County series.
I did get the expected interest other books of mine, however the most interest by far has been in my fantasy series starting with Blue Glory, book one of the Seamount series.
This was quite unexpected since mystery readers don’t read fantasy--or so I have been told.
It seems to be a new world out there.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


On December 10th the  California Writers Club is having a book sale. All authors are to bring their books to the meeting. Every member is urged to buy at least one book for either their own enjoyment or as a gift.
This put me at a disadvantage as all four of my books are e-books. Fortunately my editor and cover specialist, Jeanne, had an idea. She made up a booklet for each novel.
On the front of each book is a picture of the cover in both black and white and color. Each booklet contains the name and summary of the novel along with information about me and how to buy the novel.
E-books are a new world and we are still finding the tools we need to survive in this new world.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

As near as I can see, the successful E-book authors have ten or more books on their sites. They have gotten around the idea of only producing one book a year. Some have three or four books published each year. Another point of interest is that these books are not as long as the standard hard cover. They run ten to twenty thousand words less.
The Price
Pricing is a problem. All pricing must end in .99. That’s Apple’s rule. Prices under $10 and greater than $2.98 will give you a 70% royalty. Over ten you are competing with King and Patterson. Would you pay $12.99  to read an unknown writer’s work? when you could pay $12.99 to read the latest Patterson’s book?
I price mine at $2.99
Letting people know you are alive.
There is a lot of money to be made. We are at the right place at the right time with the right tools. Throughout history how many people have been able to say that? But you must be willing to do the PR work. PR work consists of writing blogs, visiting blog, making comments, and doing reviews. Both Smashwords and Kindle have forums for authors to comment, ask for help, or make suggestions. Some writers who do very well at this are Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, and John Locks. Check out their blogs. Joe’s blogs for 2009, when he was just starting e-books, are  both informative and avaliable.
But the star of the show is Amanda Hockings. In one month last year she made enough money to buy a house, free and clear. She is twenty six, single and never published anything but an e-book. She just signed a two-book deal for a half million dollars.
The Industry
Which brings me to my final point. Most of the stuff out in e-land is not good. People can read free samples of the book and find that out. So I don’t think the agent is going to disappear. Nor will the publishing house collapse.
At one time every publishing house had their in-house, first readers. Then the publishers found it was more profitable to hand that job off to the agent. They made them do the culling. Now what I think I see happening is the agent is going to be looking for the high selling e-book. He will search out an author who has a large following that shows he knows how to build a platform. The agent will suggest the author sign with him. And some will do it. Amanda said she signed because she was tired of networking and wanted time to write.
And the publishing business is here to stay because no matter what you do on the internet, or in the world of e-books, it will not equal that one Tuesday morning where, in five hundred Barnes and Noble stores all across the county, your book is on display with a professional cover. And it is sitting there on the table by the front door.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The cover is a problem. I don’t know a pixy from a pixel.  I have found the best way to handle the cover is to have a friend who knows photo shop. Show up Saturday morning at their place with a six pack of beer or, depending on the person, a bottle of white wine--Barefoot wine works pretty well. With a little fast pouring and faster talking you can get them to help you. Now I know nothing about photo shop, but I do know it never works the first time and so it becomes a point of honor for your friend to show you they can do it. This allows you to smile, take your time, finish the wine, and continue to write. Of course you can hire someone online to do it but, for most of us, I would not recommend it. They will charge more than you will probably make.

An Inconvenient Truth

Most of us hope to make a large amount of money writing. Oh we don’t necessarily want to be the next Stephen King. Most of us would settle for being the next Robert Parker. Yet most of us will end up being the next Ed Dweker. Never heard of Ed? See what I mean?
Publishing an e-book is not like having a book published. It is more like owning your own bookstore.
Unfortunately your bookstore is hidden on a street no one has ever heard of. There is no sign outside and the book is in a drawer in the back room. You can guess how many you are going to sell. You need to let people know you have a book. And you need more than one book so that people who do find you will keep coming back. A series with the same hero works very well. It would be good if you have a famous character hang out at your store. Someone like Stephanie Plum, Harry Dresden, Reacher, or Spencer. Then people will drop in to see what is going on and leave with one of your books.

The Name of the Game is Reviews

For some reason your friends and family will not be rushing to buy the book. Maybe they are still upset about the white wine and the cover. Not even other authors. I am running at fifty percent as to the people who suggested that I buy their book and they would buy mine. Then we would write each other reviews. I have written twice as many reviews as I have gotten
And reviews are important. If you look at the best sellers in the Kindle store you will find that some have several hundred reviews. That seems to be what a best seller needs.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The biggest problem with uploading the book on Amazon--or any e-reader--is formatting. The industry is new, and the desired formatting changes by the month. Two years ago they wouldn’t accept smart quotes. They do today. For formatting you must remember that the pilcrow is your friend. The pilcrow is that backward P in the middle of the Microsoft Word ribbon. It shows you the formatting in your manuscript, such as spaces between sentences, page breaks, and use of both the tab and enter key.


Tabs are a big no-no. To get rid of them use Find and Replace. Select More at the bottom left, then select Special, and then Tab. The symbol for tab will be shown in Find. Put nothing in Replace and chose Replace all.
Another area to look at is the number of spaces between sentences. Many of us were trained to use two spaces between sentences. Nowadays they want just one. Again find and replace will help. Go to the find field, hit the space bar twice. Then using the mouse, go to the replace field and hit the space bar once. You won’t see anything, but the computer will know what to do.
By using paragraph from the center of the ribbon you can change the indent from five to two or three. I would not recommend more than three. The e-readers allow the reader to change font size and on some of the larger fonts you will find that five spaces take you half way across the screen.
When all else fails
The best and most up to date help in formatting will be contained in the free books available on Kindle. Publishing on Kindle with Kindle Direst Publishing and Smashword Style Guide By Mark Coker are both free and can be downloaded to the computer from the Kindle store. You do not need a Kindle, However make sure those books are current. Anything published two years ago is of little use.


Studying the books are a must! This is why you need to install Kindle on your computer. You need these free books. Little things will be mentioned like, no strange fonts and no fonts larger than 19. No page numbers or headers and footers are to be used, page breaks and the number of space before each chapter number/ Also how to use an index.