Saturday, August 24, 2013

"The Bridge" Is Returning....

*****ATTENTION NOOK, APPLE AND SONY E-BOOK FANS****
"The Bridge" is coming back to you. One week from today, the first book in the Para-Earth Series will be available once again through Smashwords. Psychics, ghosts, police and one hell of a mystery await you. More updates to come...



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Size Does NOT Fit All..

Okay gang, guess what I'm up to this week?  I'm redoing "The Bridge"...AGAIN!

Let me clarify, I'm reformatting "The Bridge" specifically for Kindle e-readers.  Last night I got a 3 star review on Amazon, which I've been anticipating for some time.  I mean, in spite of all the 4 and 5 star reviews, it was bound to happen right?  Of course.  But when I read the review I was stunned to see where some of the problems were for this reader.  They considered the story itself a 5 star read.  But the editing and formatting were barely 1 star.  Now I've known about the editing for some time and have plans in the very near future to get the book the professional edit treatment it needs.  I'll finally have the funds to do it, I'll explain how that happened in another post.  

But the formatting issues that were raised stunned me and I couldn't help but smack myself in the head for being a fool.  Especially, when I went over to Amazon and took a look at the sample of what the book looks like in Kindle form.

I had made the cardinal mistake of assuming that when I first created the book on Createspace and used one of their templates, that the system knew what it was talking about when it offered to send the finished product to Amazon for Kindle.  BIG MISTAKE!
Now please understand, I do not own any type of e-reader.  I'm still a "Turn-the-paper-page-by-hand" Man.  So I never considered what the format might look like on an e-reader.  What works for paperbacks does not automatically work for e-readers.  

First off, I have a tendency to use space gaps to indicate when I'm changing points of view in any scene.  But I also use those for entire scene changes.  In paperback this is forgivable, but in e-reader format it can be confusing to the reader.  And if the change happens between the bottom of one page and the top of another, it's even more confusing for which I apologize folks.  These things never occurred to me. 

Plus, I got a good look at how the indentations appeared in the Kindle version.  I nearly screamed.  I had no idea the system would reformat things so unevenly.  

So I'm reformatting the entire book right now specifically for Kindle e-readers.  I'm also trying to do a bit of editing along the way, but it's still a far cry from the professional job this book needs.  Yet, I'm also close to having the money to get that done, which leaves me with a quandary.  My KDP Select ends in about 10 days.  Should I just go ahead and take the book down and send it off to be given a proper professional editing job and then put out a really good 3rd edition, along with the new formatting?  Or just reformat for now and then have that much less to do after getting the book professionally edited?

I ask you all for your opinion on this.  Personally, I'm leaning towards doing the reformat now AND then sending it off right away to the editor for a good makeover.  Then re-releasing the book to Kindle, Nook, Sony the  works as soon as the work is finished.  My only concern is that this will leave me with no books on the market in the meantime.  But a part of me thinks it might be worth the risk.  What do you all say?  Please leave your thoughts and comments below.  I really need some feedback on this one.  

Thanks.  Take care and keep writing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Thoughts On KDP Select...

Today I'm going to talk about my experiences with Kindle Direct Publishing, aka KDP Select.  This is a special program offered by Amazon to help authors promote Kindle versions of their e-books.  The program is worldwide which really helps make your work available to a huge market.  You sign a 3-month contract, which can be renewed automatically or ended when those three months are up.  During this period you have the opportunities to raise and lower the price of your work at your leisure.  

This is where you will usually see the .99 Cent Weekend Specials coming from, or so I believe.  When I was not in the program I could only lower my Kindle price for "THE BRIDGE" down to about $2.99.  However, this might be so due to the size of the book (which came in at a little over 100,000 words) and/or the fact that I set my royalties at 70%.  When my current contract with KDP ends this month, I may experiment with lowering my royalties cut to 35% and see if I can lower the price that way.  I promise to do a follow-up after my contract is over and tell you what happens.

In the meantime, while under contract with KDP, you will also be given the option of having up to 5 days of free giveaways.  You schedule these days in advance on the system's calendar.  This let's the system know when to change the price to FREE for only those days.  After your selected days are over, the system will then change the price back to normal automatically.  It's that simple.

Now, in utilizing these special pricing features, you must have the right  mindset.  The purpose for lowering your price to .99 cents, or doing Free Weekend Giveaways is to simply INCREASE YOUR READERSHIP!  If you're an little known author like me, your number one goal is to get your name out there and your product into the hands of readers.  If they love what you've written they will be leaving reviews, which will be read by others who come across your work on Amazon.  They will also be telling family and friends about your book.  Some may even do a review on their blogs, or on Goodreads.com.  

This is free publicity folks.  It's not costing you a cent.  No you're not making money on those sales but you are building a following of readers who may be much more willing to put out money for your next work.  In the 3 months I've been on KDP Select the number of copies of my book in the hands of readers went from just under 100 to over 1400.   And I can tell you right now, even though there are only 15 reviews on Amazon, a number of these readers have told me flat out they can't wait for the next book. I've also been seeing a slow increase in the number of paid sales, I've gone from low single digits to double digits for the past 2 months.  It seems the word is already spreading.  Some authors in the past have seen huge increases in their sales, but I'm still waiting to see if that really happens.  I'll keep you posted.  But I'm very excited by the number of new readers who are eager to get my next book "THE SHIP" which is coming in December of this year.

Now, with all these good words about KDP Select, there is one downside.   While under contract with KDP they have the exclusive rights to the e-book version of your work.  This means you cannot have your book available in any other electronic book form (i. e. Nook, Apple, Sony and other e-reader formats).  Now, when I first put "THE BRIDGE" out, I had it available through Smashwords so it was available in those other formats as well as in Kindle form through Amazon.  But lowering my price for the Kindle version on Amazon or doing free giveaways, was NOT an option for me on Amazon because was NOT part of the KDP Select program.  So I had to make the difficult decision of taking my book off Smashwords and the other e-reader formats for the duration of my 3 month KDP Select contract.  When the contract is finished at the end of this month, I will be making "THE BRIDGE" available on Smashwords once again.  I basically used my time on KDP Select as wisely as I could, to increase readership and get my name out there more.  

I'm hoping there will be a good strong increase of sales on Smashwords when I get the book back up over there.  I've already had a number of people asking when will "THE BRIDGE" be available for Nook.  That will be happening in the beginning of September, so just hang in there a little longer folks. It's coming.

So how do I plan on releasing my next book?  Will I do KDP Select first for 3 months and then add Smashwords?  Or shall I simply skip KDP Select and just put "THE SHIP" out for Kindle, Nook and ht other e-readers all at the same time?  

I had planned on doing KDP Select first and then adding Smashwords (who distributes to Nook, Sony, Apple and the other e-readers).  But that when I had hoped to release "THE SHIP" in October.  By December I was going to add Smashwords in time for Christmas.  But due to a family crisis, where I wound up losing my father-in-law to cancer, all those plans got pushed back.  

Currently, I am planning to put "THE SHIP" out in December.  As to whether I do just Kindle or Smashwords as well still remains a question.  I don't want to leave my Nook and Apple readers hanging for 3 months AFTER Christmas.   It just doesn't feel right.  So if any of you loyal fans who have a Nook, Sony or other e-reader are reading this, please tell me if you want "THE SHIP" in time for Christmas.  You're wish will be my command.  After all, no author can survive without readers.  You are what make or break an author and their works.  

I hope this lengthy entry was of help to all of you.  If any of you have had other experiences or things to do with KDP Select, please leave comments below.  We'd all love to hear and learn from you as well.  Until next time, keep writing!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UPDATE ON MY KINDLE E-BOOK GIVEAWAY...

I want to thank everyone who participated and took advantage of getting a free copy of my paranormal/mystery "THE BRIDGE".  The first time I did a Free giveaway, less than 450 people took advantage of the opportunity.  This time I did wee bit better... 896!!!

And to all of you who helped spread the word to others about the giveaway...THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!  You gave me the opportunity to reach more people and hopefully turn them into fans. 

I know a number of people will be saying, "Gee... too bad those weren't actual money sales."  And they would be right.  However, when you're first-time author and trying to get your name out there, giveaways can be a powerful tool to get a fan-base started.  I've heard from a number of people who keep telling me they loved the first book and are looking forward to the next one.  

To date: 1408 copies of "THE BRIDGE" are out there in the hands of readers.  Of those about 100 were actual paying sales.  Now most of those people had never heard of me before and took a chance and from what I've heard, they were glad they did.  Those new folks are eager to see what I come out with next and will quite likely be willing to not just wait for the free-versions.  Yes, free giveaways are a gamble, but they can pay you back down the road, you just have to be patient.  

Remember you're in this for the long haul.  JK Rowling, Stephen King and other greats did not make millions overnight.  They had to get their names and products out there.  But they had help in the form of publishing companies and agents.  They still had to do a lot of self-promoting as well, don't get me wrong.  However, even with big name companies to help spread the word, but the authors had to get out there as well.  The same holds true for us Indie Authors.
I know I've mentioned all this before in previous posts, but it still holds true.  The greatest marketing tool is you the author.  Go to local bookstores and find out how they choose books to put on their shelves.  Especially local bookstores who may want to feature a new hometown author.  The same goes for radio and television stations.  Check your local ones and see if any want to interview you.  Talk to local libraries and book clubs to see if they want a speaker to talk about e-publishing.  Hold free giveaways on Amazon and Smashwords to increase your reader base.  Those who love your book WILL tell their friends and recommend your work to them.  It all takes time, have the patience and persevere.  That's all I can tell you right now.  

If any of you who read this blog have extra advice please leave those suggestions in the comments section below.  We're all in this together and sharing our knowledge can help everyone.  Until next time, take care and keep writing.

PS: My next entry will be my thoughts about KDP Select so stay tuned...

Friday, August 9, 2013

"THE BRIDGE" Is Free For Kindle On Amazon! Plus a New 5 Star Review!

"THE BRIDGE" Book 1 in the Para-Earth series is free this weekend (August 10-12) for Kindle on Amazon.   Here's the link so can get your own copy.  If you already have one, then share the link with everyone you know so they can get their own copy:


PLUS here's the latest review:
5 STARS - Special in many kind of ways!, August 5, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Bridge (Para-Earth Series) (Kindle Edition)

"The Bridge" is a paranormal novel of highest quality.

When one of the protagonists, Veronica Ross, a cop of 20 years experience, witnesses a strange car accident and tells her lover (and second protagonist) Alex Hill about it, she doesn't know yet, what she's going to face.

She doesn't know yet, that this case isn't simply a police matter - no, it gets further than anything she's ever experienced.

Not only does she find out that the case is deeply connected with her own past - she as well learns that her lover Alex is much more than merely a lover. There is in fact a loving and caring man by her side who is an anchor in her life - and well being - a man, with a past on his own and with abilities she had never expected.

There are in fact, several things to mention about this novel. I am a fan of supernatural novels. But during the past 15 years there were mainly female protagonists with special abilities. This time, "The Bridge", offers a man with this gift. Even though it surprised me at first, I do admit that while reading the book, this fact seemed more and more natural and I did enjoy the book immensely!

The final battle to me seemed a tiny bit too extended, but I doubt this is something that can be "generalized". I could easily imagine that another reader thinks exactly the opposite.

All in all I would say: To fans of the "Paranormal": This book definitely is a "must-read"!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Final Summer Blast: "THE BRIDGE" Is Free For Kindle This Weekend...

As my KDP Select winds down at the end of this month, I'm making my debut paranormal/mystery "THE BRIDGE" available for Kindle absolutely FREE!  Just click on the Amazon link below this Saturday-Sunday-Monday (August 10-12) to get a free copy.  And if you've already gotten yours, tell your family and friends throughout your network: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, the works.  I'd love to see a whole new crop of readers get hooked on the first novel of my Para-Earth series.  Book number 2 will be out in time for Christmas, so I'm making sure as many people as possible get a chance to see where it all begins.

NOTE: For those who don't have Kindle, fear not.  "THE BRIDGE" will be available for Nook, Apple, Sony and other e-readers starting September 1st.  Stay tuned for that announcement coming soon.

Here's the link.  Remember this all starts Saturday August 10th and ends at midnight on August 12th:



Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Great Man...

As most of you know, my father-in-law was fighting cancer. This past Thursday, that fight came to an end. He fought a great fight. He is sorely missed by all who knew him. 

I repost this photo to of happier days and all that he gave my wife, my brother-in-law and me...


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Postponing Release Of My Next Book "The Ship"...


Due to the painful situation my family is facing (my father-in-law is dying of cancer), I've decided to push back the release of my second novel "The Ship" until December of this year.  

Originally, I planned on releasing it in October.  And I will be making sure the book is available in Trade Paperback as well as all e-book formats such as Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, etc. at that time.  I want everyone who wants a copy to be able to get one in the format they need.

I will also be taking great care to make sure the book is properly formatted and professionally edited.  Most of my readers did not mind, but I want to make sure I'm delivering a great product as well as a really good story.

I apologize to any fans who are waiting to get their hands on this new book, which follows the events of my first paranormal/mystery "The Bridge".  I will release samples from the second book in the Para-Earth Series to help tide you all over.  

Thanks for your patience and support.  Take care and keep writing.