Marketing and other publishing mysteries

The Jewelled Egg Murders, published on December 1. Marketing the fifth book in a series depends, as I see it, in letting readers of the first four books know that it is available. To that end, I bought a package from Books Go Social, enrolled in Book of the Day at BGS, and took an ad in the holiday magazine at that site. I also have a package of twitter opportunities that goes out to about 10 thousand readers.

My dilemma is when to place it on Kindle Select. I hope to publish a volume of short stories, five of which involve the main character from the series. With luck, that will appear in February. Which leaves January as the most logical month to enroll in Kindle Select.

Another issue is spelling and grammar. I tried to write the first 4 books in American English. This was not successful and many Canadian/British spellings crept in, all interpreted as typos and mistakes in grammar. I wrote The Jewelled Egg Murders in Canadian English. The British editor, noticing that I spelled some words in American, thought those were typos. ie I use spelled not spelt(which is a variety of wheat here and in the USA).

No reviews as yet. I get it. It takes time, especially if you want to leave more comment than the stars you gave the book(if any), but even the star count would be encouraging to the authors of the books you read.

On a personal note: Our new puppy, Cully came home a week ago. She is now nine weeks old.IMG_1646

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS: THE JEWELLED EGG MURDERS

From the River Publishing announce the arrival, on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes&Nobel and other fine online retailers, of The Jewelled Egg Murders, vol. 5 of Dangerous Journeys.

The Jewelled Egg Murders

A Christmas holiday in Vermont turns deadly for Dr.Anne McPhail whose hopes for a quiet family celebration with Thomas Beauchamp derail when his children reject her, and his mother falls ill.

Anne flees to her friend Catherine’s B&B for comfort and a place to stay, but when she goes for a walk in the snow to the town square, she stumbles across a body in her friend Erin’s antique store. A few hours later, Erin disappears.

Is Erin a suspect or a victim? While Anne joins the search, an old adversary, plotting revenge, arrives from Europe.  Anne stumbles over another body, and then the killer closes in on her. 

See it on Amazon.

To Press(continued)

The proof copy of The Jewelled Egg Murders arrived last week. Proofreading revealed further work needed. That’s now complete and the final editions uploaded to Smashwords(for Kobo, iBooks, Barnes&Nobel, and others, Amazon, and Create Space.

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I’m working on my short story collection and, as well, a re-edit of Vols1,2,4 of Dangerous Journeys. I completed Vol. 3, No Motive for Murder, and published on Amazon and Create Space. Add managing and improving a backlist to the routine chores of a self-published author. And I still need to find time to write!

On a personal note, we met our new puppy on Saturday, a black female Standard Poodle who is very active and friendly.

IMG_0318She will come home the first week in December.

That’s all for a lovely winter’s day in  Kawartha Lakes.

To Press: The Jewelled Egg Murders

Done! The Jewelled Egg Murders, book 5 of Dangerous Journeys available for pre-order on Amazon and many other e-stores through Smashwords. Smashwords is an aggregator that sends the book out to Kobo, iBooks, Barnes &Nobel and many other sellers.

The editing process included an Autocrit Review, a Grammarly review, Word spell check, a Quality Mark review at Books Go Social where The Jewelled Egg Murders achieved a Gold Mark after another Autocrit review and a human perusal of the manuscript.

 

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On to marketing. Amazon and Smashwords both have a pre-order function, so the book is now online and can be purchased ahead of the release date of December 1.

I’m waiting for the paperback version to arrive from Create Space. The online review copy seems to be fine, but one never knows what errors might have occurred in the printing. Release date also Dec. 1.

I decided against Kindle Select for the launch as some of the marketing I want to do isn’t compatible with Kindle Select rules. I plan to enrol in 2018, likely in January.

What’s next:

I’m working on a collection of the short stories that I have written over the years. Some are published, some not. Several of them are Anne McPhail adventures, including Homicide in Haliburton.

That’s it for an overcast morning in the Kawarthas.

 

 

 

Kindle Select Progress

Two months ago, I decided to take my books into Kindle Select. Since that time, my sales have continued, although somewhat lower than my best month. However, the pages read in Kindle Unlimited have made up for the lack of sales and extended my readership, so I am pleased with the result.

The Jewelled Egg Murders is on track for release on December 1. I haven’t decided about taking it into Kindle Select, although doing so would give me more options for sales and promotions. My current chore is proofreading.

Steps in Editing and Proofreading.

  1. I reviewed the manuscript in Autocrit, correcting as I went.

2.  I ran it through Grammarly.

3.  I submitted it to Books Go Social for their Quality Mark programme. The manuscript received a Gold Mark, but the reviewer noted that it needed further proofreading. As well, she found a mix of British and American spellings, i.e. Canadian. She suggested I choose one, but I prefer to write in Canadian English.

4.  I used Word for Mac 2016 to identify spelling and grammatical errors. Word does allow one to choose Canadian English as the default.

5.  Now, I shall upload to Vellum and use its proofreading tool.

Why not engage a professional proofreader? Cost.

I shall rely on Books Go Social for most of my marketing efforts and turn my attention to the next book.

I have a collection of short stories in mind, five of which are Anne McPhail adventures and the remainder Dangerous Journeys of other kinds. Taking a page from Agatha Christie, I could expand one of them into a novel as she did with her short story, Yellow Iris.

That’s all for today from the beautiful Kawartha Lakes.

Kindle Select, first month

Sixteen days ago, I pulled my books from all other sites and enrolled them in Kindle Select. A few observations:

My sales have plummeted. I hadn’t had a day with 0 sales since I took over the publishing of my books, but since enrolling in Kindle Select, no sales on four days.

Pages read have replaced some of those lost sales. My readers are strong users of Kindle Unlimited, but unless the earned per page royalty is higher than July’s .00402, it won’t replace those sales.

In fairness, I haven’t used the promotional tools yet, although I have a promotion on Murderous Roots scheduled for October and will use the available promotions for the other books, including the boxed set of Dangerous Journeys, in November as part of the launch of The Jewelled Egg Murders.

Sixteen days don’t make a trend, but those 0 days were a shock. The question now is what to do about The Jewelled Egg Murders. In Select or out?

 

Choosing Kindle Select

Another Sunday, another beautiful day here in the Kawarthas. I’m working on a revision of The Jewelled Egg Murders and as always on marketing.

I decided this week to enroll all my books and the boxed set in Kindle Select after they had been in Kindle plus Smashwords for six months. My receipts from Amazon have been steady although not spectacular and from Smashwords, nil.

Removing my books from other ebook sites should have been easy and indeed all it took was a few clicks at Smashwords. I checked around the net to ensure that they were indeed no longer offered at Kobo et al and then did a further few clicks at Kindle Direct Publishing and it was done.

The benefits I hope to see in the three months period of exclusivity include an income stream from the borrowed books, increased exposure at Amazon, and the facility to run discounted or free periods in the lead-up to release of The Jewelled Egg Murders. I will keep the latter out of the boxed set for a period of time.

I had the usual fear that no one would bother to access the books on Kindle Unlimited but so far more the page read count is above 3000(in 2 days). As far as I can determine from checking information around the net Amazon pays about 0.005 US cents per page, with a limit of 3000 pages per book per customer.

Next, I have to use some of the promotional tools available to Kindle Select books. I hope that the exposure will create interest and readers prior to the release of The Jewelled Egg Murders.

After The Jewelled Egg Murders, I’m planning to release a collection of short stories, five of them Dangerous Journeys adventures, and others that have been published over the years.

In 2018, I plan to release two books, neither of which are in the series.

That’s about it for this September Sunday.Dangerous-Journeys-Kindle

 

Publishing Journey: Boxed Set

Summer’s over, unless we get a spell of warm weather in September. Like so much in 2017, it came and went so quickly we almost missed it.

I’ve been writing and editing my next Anne McPhail novel, The Jewelled Egg Murders, these past few months and the end is now in sight. At least, I hope it is. My projected date for publishing is November 1, 2017 and I need to get advanced reading copies out before then. This business of working for yourself is great but the deadlines loom regardless of who sets them.

Before I publish The Jewelled Egg Murders, I’ve gathered my first four books to form a boxed set of e-books at Amazon.com, .ca, etc. Look for it as Dangerous Journeys Vols. 1-4.

Dangerous-Journeys-KindleI used Vellum for this task as well. This was amazingly easy and no rejects from Kindle Direct because of formatting or other issues. I can’t say enough about this programme. Tasks that took as a long as a month to get through, now take minutes. Well worth the cost.

Marketing, as always, must be done but I enroll my books at Books Go Social, Laurence O’Bryan’s terrific business in Dublin, Eire. Reasonable rates and terrific results.

That’s about it for today. Do check out Dangerous Journeys Vols. 1-4 and let me know what you think. Cover art as always by Karen Phillips of PhillipsCovers.

2 more publishing lessons

In my last post, I detailed some of the lessons I learned about publishing while I prepared my 4 manuscripts for my new company From The River Publishing. Since then, I discovered, thanks to Joanna Penn, a terrific new tool, Vellum. By the way, if you are a writer and haven’t discovered Joanna’s website, have a look here. Lots of great information.

Vellum is a somewhat expensive, but outstanding program that takes all the worry trouble and hard work out of the final stages. It would have saved me 3 months had I read about it long ago.

Rather than struggle to format a manuscript correctly for uploading to different platforms, such as Kindle and Create Space, or to aggregators like Smashwords, I used Vellum.

The program requires a Mac and a Word document in .docx format. Input the file and the metadata, and Vellum shows you the file converted to e-pub, mobi and pdf. Proof as much as you need, input other books if you want, and, when you are ready, push the buy button, purchase the program and generate the books you need in the required formats.

If you review and want to proof further, go through the process again until the manuscript is polished and upload to your chosen publishers. Nothing more to pay, no annual fee, no rejections, no trying to analyze the mysterious messages about pagination from Create Space, just a seamless process that results in books that are ready for the buyer.

I’m working through my list again, and have finished Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. Both will soon be live, as revised, on all the platforms mentioned above.

Lesson # 2? Read The Creative Penn often.

5 Lessons about Publishing

I’m at the end of my first publishing adventure. All 4 of my books are now on-line again at Amazon in both e-book and paper. Also at Smashwords for distribution(and purchase) for Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iBooks and many others. I started with books that were  available but I wanted to add new covers and add a chapter of the next in the series, so I had to remove them from sale and begin again. Four books in 3 separate formats each equalled 4 months of work. Volume 5 is coming in the fall.

I learned many things but the first one is this:

Use the tools in Scrivener to help produce a manuscript that is easily uploaded to the publishing platforms. I write with Scrivener for many reasons. I store all my research in the appropriate(preset) folders, everything from photos to websites to clippings. I use the character building function to add depth to my cast. And I colour code to keep track of the POV in each scene. Doing that, I can tell at a glance if someone has been off-stage too long, especially my protagonist. When I’m done, I can export in any format, from standard manuscript, to e-book, to paperback novel. Genius.

The second lesson is read the guidelines and if necessary(Smashwords) the books written about formatting. I read all three of Mark Coker’s books about Smashwords and formatting and marketing. Helpful.

The third lesson is to buy Acrobat Pro DC and use it for your PDF’s. I found that the capability to review the pages and particularly assess them with the preflight function saved grief(rejected submissions.)

The fourth lesson: Pay for decent covers. I hired Karen Phillips of PhillipsCovers to create unity out of my chaos and the results are below. I love them and I’m sure they have increased sales.

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The final lesson is about marketing. Seek out as many online groups, services etc. as you can find or afford to help get word out about your books. Booksgosocial is a terrific organization founded and run by Laurence O’Bryan. Services range from twitter campaigns(paid) to several Facebook sites for authors that include a book review group.

I’m going to do it all again in the fall when volume 5 is proofed and ready in time for Christmas.