Saturday, January 29, 2011

Recap of 2010 - Setting Goals for 2011

As the month comes to a close - I have to draw a sigh of relief. Real Life has settled down - for the moment. My project for the month - that had nothing to do with writing - was to get my antique Western Union clock running on time. I've had it running a few times, but always loosing time. This time I used 2 sets of 2 D cells - and he's running like a champ!

Mom and I are working on getting her stories sorted and ready to publish. I transferred  her index to a spreadsheet - I have the title, word count, page count, and a brief(!) subject. I also copied that index, tweaked it and added some vendor columns so I can track the date published to each vendor.

It appears that sales of "Let's Do Lunch" will end up at 12. Most of them sold at $3.25. Since I dropped the price to $.99. I will not change prices again. No matter what sales of "Let's Do Lunch" do - the price is the price until August 2011.

I also have a title for the second book in the 'Dark Harbor' series. So Book #4 is simmering in the background. The theme has changed a bit - 'the sins of the mother' has replaced 'he wants to be a rock star.' Quite an improvement.

Editing has stalled for "Swallow the Moon" I'm now wigging out over the book cover and the number of comma errors in the first chapter. The cover needs COLOR I'm worried that it won't stand out.

Also of concern are covers for the Ice Road Anthology stories. There is no way we can afford to hire out 220-odd covers. There are a dozen volumes to the anthology. What a project! I'm not sure how to tackle something this large. Plus it's not like Mom can work 8 or 12 hour days until we get this done. Not an option - though we will give it a couple hours a day.

Finally, I'm avoiding Authonomy for a few days. There are still some interesting looking books, but I need to get "Swallow the Moon" published before I do any more reading.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nasty, Ugly, Tempting

I'm only human after all, nor am I particularly ethical.

But when these ugly thoughts nest in my head - I'm better off to write them out - then get over it. I'm still whining (whinging for my British friends) about sales, or the lack of sales, in the UK especially.

Could I be so crude as to offer to take bribes for space on my book shelf. To sell my vote for a mere $.35 each? Would anyone be desperate enough to spend a buck, or a quid or something?

There is a very nasty little troll on my shoulder who is chortling wickedly, licking her lips and rubbing her hands together with glee. "So what if you get caught?" she says. "Laugh it off. Look at the 'slut backings,' the two for one backings. You didn't invent that crap, nor did you take advantage of it. Wimps never win you know. Cheaters win. They win all the time."

"TRY IT!" She jumps up and down like an excited Min-pin dog.

I flick her off my shoulder like a booger.

"I'll be back!"

I'm not that pathetic.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kitty Caves In - "Let's Do Lunch" Now $0.99

After reading everything on the e-book price debate on the blogs of 'e-book' and 'Indie Publishing' community, I have caved to the pressure to sell my book for the bare-assed minimum price.


My BFF and I went to eat Chinese while I sniveled about it for an hour. Bless her heart, she agreed, this is a big bummer. That's the beauty of having a BFF.

Pricing by length is common sense. Pricing a 75k novel the same as a short story is just crazy. Whatever, its done, it's over and anyone who wants to buy it cheap can from here on out. I'm not going to change prices again.

Now I'm going to get over it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cool New Widgets - Sales Rank and Badge

I've added two new widgets to this site.

The first is the Kindle Sales Rank widget. It will show the ranking of "Let's Do Lunch" for the Kindle. Eventually, I think I can compare the sales of "Let's Do Lunch" and "Swallow the Moon" when it comes out this spring.

Since I just added the widget, it will show zero sales. However, should the book start selling, the sales rank will be recorded. Now, if I can just figure out the right marketing technique to get the ball rolling.

The second is a badge for Barnes & Noble. If only the sales reports for B&N's Pubit worked - I would have good news to share. Alas, the glitch goes on.

As far as I know, the sales for B&N and Kindle are tied at - 1 sale each.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Home Sweet Home

News from my home town.

I suppose that having the home town make headlines this way should make me embarrassed.

But frankly, this is why seems fitting to write a paranormal romance set in Ashtabula.

The Agent Debate - Continues

Dean Wesley Smith is one of my heroes. He 'tells it like it is' to newbie writers like me. What I find most interesting is that I agree with more than 80% of what he says, just from a couple of years of lurking around the publishing e-world. When his latest post hit my email this morning, it was the first thing I read.

Take a look, the New World of Publishing for today is about the role of agents in the wide-open frontier of e-publishing and Indie Publishing. The first thing is a reference to this page by Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Mary talks about the New Agent's role, I quote:

Whether we're presenting a book to editors or an app proposal to a digital publisher, we will have had a more active hand in its reaching "market ready" status.

The Agent's Role in Today's Digital Book World | Digital Book World

This article gave DeanWS the screaming shudders, because this "role" would also give the agent a larger (50%) share of a work. It would also perpetuate the myth that 'Writers Need to be Taken Care of" because we are unworldly (and stupid) enough to take the bait.

What gave ME the screaming shudders was her reference to Four Fathom Five – John Frey's you-write-it-for-$250-and-I'll-take-the-rest scheme. Now, Mary Kole is in the world of children's books and apps, far from my corner of the market. Still the idea will spread – the author is the goose of content, and everybody wants the golden eggs.

I mean I get it, agents have very, very little to offer a tech-savvy writer. THE Rock Star of Agents got a Real Job. The writing is on the wall, there will be VERY few agents needed in the future. A handful will have best-selling clients, the rest, who knows?

Not all writers are silly geese who don't know which end of a USB cable is up.

DIY is where the Mid-list will live from here forward. Readers (a lot of them women) are STARVING for good Stories. They adopted e-readers like MAD this Christmas. Barnes & Noble website is still staggering under the load. B&N did 1.1 billion dollars in sales in December. Writers are screaming because the sales data isn't updating fast enough to be accurate. My report shows only my first sale, but my book has jumped 300k in sales rank. (Batch file processing in the 21st Century? What Cobol programmer designed their software? GAG me!)

It is a fact the generations coming up ARE computer savvy. Now the Baby Boomers who refused to learn more than word processing and email will be suckers for these "Let Me Help You" schemes. Still, it is something that anyone with a pair of ovaries can learn. (Tee hee, I made a sexist joke!) Sorry guys, any woman who has worked as a secretary in the last 30 years can figure this out.

I spent years working my way into, then out of, the Secretarial Pits only to end up in Call Center Hell. Now those years are going to pay off, because I have formatting and design skills as well as hardware and networking.

So, I've done my bit by passing this on. I have chapters of "Swallow the Moon" to work on. In spite of Real Life throwing curves at me, I'm back to work. It's a new year and I'm determined to make the most of it.

Just be aware that any writer who doesn't pay attention is going the way of the Goose that laid the golden eggs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"A Snake in Paradise" by Brenda Sedore

A Snake in ParadiseA Snake in Paradise by Brenda Sedore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a cold snowy weekend.

So a light romance about sunny Italy, and hot Italian men, was the perfect escape. Brenda Sedore has a good touch with characters, and a great feel for the setting.

I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. 

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This

I've been working my butt off today.

I created a PubIt! account - uploaded "Let's Do Lunch" tweaked the formatting until I couldn't look at it again. Kicked around the Nookboards, Kindleboards and - gasp - Authonomy.

I've had a bee in my bonnet all week about my sluggish e-book sales. I re-joined Authonomy because I feel that I lost a lot of visibility when I left. At the time, I couldn't stand the bullshit. I lurked from time to time, checked out the new system, and wondered if going back would reconnect me to potential readers.

I just posted this little gem on the forums, I'm posting it here because I think I should look at it from time to time, and recall why burning bridges sucks. The idea behind Authonomy was golden. The original algorithm sucked. I still don't give a damn about the Editor's Desk. But the community is priceless.

I don't see the big publishing companies going anywhere. They will lumber around and eventually figure out a way to keep going just fine. Best sellers will still hit their stride and leave the rest of us envious. Celeb's will still give us the shudders.
Amanda Hocking and Zoe Winters sell oodles of paranormals and are banner examples of 'Yes, it can be done.' I admire the heck out of those gals. I don't know Amanda, but I've 'talked' to Zoe. She's an astute business woman as well as a good writer. She's gonna break out all over the place, because she's a hard worker. I'll bet Amanda is equally as hard working - but not as colorful - as Zoe.

There are still going to be plenty of writers taking the tradtional path of agents, editors, publishers and so forth. This economy has slowed the industry down a lot. Indie writers are coming out of the woodwork because the new technology has allowed them to take their best shot. Eventually this will all shake out.

I don't agree with those who yell that 'Publishing is Dead!' I think that fiction has taken a big step forward in a market that adores $0.99 e-books 'cause everybody is broke and the books are cheap. I think this is a great time for mid-list writers to upload their backlist. I think it is a tremendous time for those who can afford it to take the plunge. (The cost is time, IMO, which is more dear than money.)

But I very much doubt that everybody here is going to jump on the $.99 novel bandwagon. Heck, I don't want to jump on that bandwagon. But guess what - I may end up there.

What is going to hurt everyone - Best Sellers, Mid-listers, back-listers, new Indies and all - is if people who don't have a top-notch manuscript self-publish. The Kindle store is NOT the place to send your rough draft! You are going to get slammed on Amazon Forums as a poster-child for self-published fungus-eating morons. The trolls will leave only scraps, like teeth and toe-nails.

Which is what makes Authonomy a great proving ground. I was able to do a lot of work on my second manuscript because of the people who reviewed it - (t)here. Now, everyone may want to take a turn on the ED. They can spam for backings all they like, because the important thing is getting the help revising the manuscript so you can decide what to do with it from there.

I think I'll get off my soap box now.

I know that I've got a good story in 'Swallow the Moon' - as the time comes for me to 'pull the trigger' on it (love that term!) I'm getting antsy.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting Ready for the Book Launch

There is a very interesting conversation on Kindle Boards with Joe Konrath and the other Kindle authors on the subject of pricing. There is also a very interesting conversation on Goodreads about pre-publication publicity.

As I'm getting ready for a spring launch for "Swallow the Moon" I need to figure out what to do to generate some 'buzz' for the new book. To that end I have done a few things that I thought I would not do otherwise.
  • I re-joined Authonomy, posting "Let's Do Lunch" and creating a presence in the forums. The reason that I took this (drastic!) step was to promote my books. The changes to the rules appear to be working, so I will give them a chance.
  • I dropped the Amazon price of "Let's Do Lunch" to $1.99. This price change is in support of the Authonomy posting. We'll see if it does any good.
  • I've dug out and dusted off a couple short stories that I can turn into novelettes. These will go on sale for $.99 each.
  • I have actively started looking for opportunities to promote my books and my blog. This means dusting off an interview with Zoe Winters and being interviewed by others.
  • All of these action items are contingent on family matters remaining constant, at the very least, but I pray that the worst is over. Last year was 'interesting' in the worst possible sense of the word. It could have been a lot worse. Still my parents' illness, my husband's bike wreck and multiple hospitalizations sucked pretty damn bad. 
I've got my goals and my action plan. Stay tuned.