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.

How to structure a novel

I’ve neglected the blog for many months, mostly because of the pressure of work on my now-completed novel, titled Painting of Sorrow. It has started its journey to various agents.

Several years ago, I wrote a (unpublished) book titled  Stolen Children. Three books later—No Motive for Murder, The Child on the Terrace and now Painting of Sorrow—and needing to begin again, I resurrected the manuscript. The major problem with it for now,  is structural.

An interesting article on structure from Randy Ingarmanson appeared in his website. You may know him as the Snowflake Guy, from his method of writing a structured novel, called, yes, The Snowflake Method.

The current article, Writing the perfect scene, gives a quick overview the structure of scenes and sequels,  covered however, in more extensive detail in Elements of Fiction: Scene and Structure, by Jack M. Bickham. Randy’s article is useful as a quick reminder and I store it under research in my Scrivener binder for Stolen Children.

Cheryl Freedman, writing to me about the Bony Blithe min-com this coming Friday, suggested the books by Karen Elizabeth Gordon as “grammar with a twist…or perhaps, twisted grammar”. I took a brief look and thought hers would be a sound (and fun) addition to my library of craft books.

That’s it for Monday, May 23, 2016. Forty-six years ago this afternoon, George and I married in Kingston, On. Forty-six years of love, partnership and friendship.

 

New Directions

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

My work-in-progress, a novel, occupies most of my time these days. I’m revising. Last fall, I won a prize at The Book Promoter: an editorial review by editor/agent Svetlana Pironko of the Author Rights Agency.

After talking with her and reviewing the changes she suggested, I began a revision, this time on paper. I’m eighty pages in.

BUSINESS WRITING

As well, I follow a course from Susan Anderson — Freelance Writers Bootcamp — on writing for business, either business to business or business to client. Some of the types of writing she teaches — blogging, content writing for web-sites, white papers — are interesting to me. Her course teaches how to do those and about 10 more.

WORDPRESS

Yes, I have a WordPress blog and even my own domain name at Wordpress —ginny200.com — but I set it all up with only rudimentary knowledge. An article on Mashable, 13 cheap(or free) online classes to boost your digital skills, led me to a course called WordPress for Beginners. I’m taking it now.

EDITING

I have an extensive library of books about editing, everything from Self-editing for Fiction Writers, by Rennie Browne and Dave King, to the most recent, The Frugal Editor by Carolyn  Howard-Johnson. A favourite is Revision and Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell.

All this to explain that I’ve been busy this winter.

Spring thoughts: Literary devices and Genre fiction

Spring has been creeping up, ambushing us with thunderstorms and lightning a week after a snowfall, with downpours that filled holding tanks and turned fields of clay to marshland, havens for the ducks. No flowers. Last spring at this time a solitary iris bloomed in the front garden. Spring Iris, 2014

It’s time to rake the leaves and twigs off the garden beds and plan a fresh covering of mulch. The chores of spring, a relief after a long winter of bone-breaking cold and ice and deep snow.

I’ve lost track of which draft of my work-in-progress I’m working on. It may be the 5th or 6th, but it’s growing closer to what I would like it to be.

That’s the problem, of course. What genre is it? Suspense, women’s fiction, commercial fiction, romantic suspense or my personal favourite: cross-genre.

My aim is a tightly-plotted page-turner that also says something about redemption and renewal in a woman’s life. Too lofty a goal, too literary for a novel that includes a brutal killer and guns?

In the U.K. newspaper, The Guardian,  Anita Mason, whose The Illusionist was shortlisted for the 1983 Booker prize, in an article that was adapted from an Oxford Literary Festival debate said:

So: of course there is a difference between literary and genre fiction. Our experience as readers tells us so, commercial practice says so. But it is not the difference between two continents separated by ocean. It is the difference between the two ends of a continuum. Between those two points is an infinity of fruitful positions.

In the Oxford Literary Festival debate, she spoke against the motion “Genre fiction is no different from literary fiction”. The article is worth the read and can be found here.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/apr/22/genre-fiction-literary-centre-anita-mason

That’s where I aim to be with this work-in-progress, on the continuum, moving a little closer to the hub where literary fiction lives.

Themes, symbols, literary devices of all types: all tools in crafting a novel.

Signs of Spring amidst Revision and Marketing

Ides of March. For Americans, the taxman cometh. We’re waiting for spring, a spring the weather gurus tell us is going to be delayed. No one told the buds on the chestnut trees out front. They started to swell before the deep freeze ended.

Work goes on. Marketing and revision of my work-in-progress. In June, I’m joining Barbara Kyle’s Master class for revision of my first thirty pages.

The Child on the Terrace is still in advanced copy mode but soon I must send the final changes to the publisher. Most of my  reviewers, busy people all, have yet to get back to me.

Revision is difficult work, akin to juggling multiple objects rather than a simple set of coloured rubber balls. I’ve been following a blogger, Janice Hardy who calls her site Fiction University. She is half-way through a month of blogs on the process and very useful they are. Today’s is here, http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/03/day-fifteen-clean-up-description-and.html#more but all the previous blogs plus a great deal more is available on her site. Well worth multiple visits.

This week I attended a dinner and lecture at the Canadian Club. The speaker mentioned a local artist, long-deceased, named W.A. Goodwin. As it happens we have one of his watercolours. When I bought it, I investigated him and found a lengthy newspaper record. He lived to almost 100 years old and was a well-know citizen. I did some of his family genealogy as well. Magpie that I am, I kept it all.

After the meeting, the manager of the local museum called me and asked to see it. The museum is mounting an extensive show from an archive of material the researchers acquired on loan from the family. I was pleased to contribute our painting and some of the information I’d gathered to their archive. Find the museum here: http://www.oldegaolmuseum.ca/exhibits.html

The museum created a Facebook page for W.A. with pictures, paintings, diary entries and more. An interesting and charming page.

https://www.facebook.com/W.A.Goodwin

 

Buds on chestnut trees, March, 2015

Buds on chestnut trees, March, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

New book: The Child on the Terrace

At last, the advance reading copies of The Child on the Terrace are available, in print for now, at Amazon.com and writewordsinc.com. Comments, reviews welcome.
Winters_Child_RT_jpgSM

 

 

 

Anne McPhail, retired pediatrician, shattered by her experience in Bermuda, rents a tiny house in Setenil, Spain, hoping to reconcile what she learned about herself and Thomas after the gunfire in that dark room on the island.

But she sees a child on the terrace of the local cafe who doesn’t seem to belong to her minders and then Ari, the Mossad agent who saved Anne’s life, seeks her out with a plan to rescue the child from kidnappers. Should she trust him? Three days later, she is on the run with Ari and the little girl, with killers Esti and Sergio on their trail. She glimpses a man she thinks is Thomas. Is he, too in Spain?

And why? How far will Anne go to save Naomi?

From Spain to France to Italy, this is Anne’s most dangerous journey.

 

Watch on Thursday for my interview with author Max. E. Stone about his new book, One Minute There.

 

16 ways to market a novel.

A beautiful Sunday morning here in Southern Ontario, cold but with a robins-egg blue sky and a touch of fresh snow, patterned with long shadows by the rising sun.

The work for this winter is two-fold: marketing The Child on the Terrace and rewriting Saving Fillide. Last week I reviewed a critique of the first twenty pages of Saving Fillide by an editor, Lindsay Guzzardo, of The Editorial Company. Included in her recommendations was advice that I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King, which I had some years ago and Syd Field’s Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting.

Screenwriting? No, I’m not writing a movie or television script, but Field’s book is an excellent source of advice about plotting.

Marketing. Marketing wasn’t a part of the writing career that I gave much thought to in 1998 when I scribbled the beginning of Murderous Roots but since then I’ve spent many hours thinking about it, designing web sites and book launch pages, researching promotional sites and twitter services. The list of people who would be happy to take money for alerting the world of the internet to a new book is endless. A list of sites I’ve looked at and think worthwhile to consider include:

1. Enchanted Book Promotions. This service provides everything from a one day book launch package to a full promotional service with blog tours of many lengths.

2. AskDavid. This tweeting service and book review site is inexpensive, easy to use and delivers.

3. BooksgoSocial Lawrence O’Bryan’s business includes promotion, book reviews, an author page and a very active Facebook page for authors to connect with other authors.

4. 1888PressRelease: Another paid service that I’ve used twice before. Packages vary in add-ons. You can pick which package has the most potential value for your writing business.

5. Booklaunch.io A site that allows you to design a book landing page with all the required elements, including video trailers and links to many online booksellers imbedded in the page. Click to see mine for No Motive for Murder.

Book review sites:

6. The Book Report Book review site on radio.

7. The New Kindle Book Review This site has a book contest as well as reviews.

8. Dealsharingaunt Book reviews, contests and giveaways.

Other Suggestions:

9. Authors you know. Ask for review.

10. Authors you have an introduction to. Can’t hurt to ask politely.

11. Local Media:

Newspapers, radio stations, television stations.

Other ways to market

12. The authors pages at Crime Writers of Canada, The Writers Union of Canada, Canadian Authors Association.

13. Email your friends.

14. Mailchimp: Mailchimp is a service which allows you to set up an email sign-up page, develop a marketing letter and send it off in a marketing campaign.

15. Email librarians in the neighbourhood that a new book is available.

16. Book contests: I’m looking at a number of contests and lists of contests to send The Child on the Terrace to this year.

US Book News

Epic’s  awards for e-books.

Ippys awards for books from independents, self-published, small presses.

Bath Novel Award

Exeter novel prize.

So that’s it so far. But the most important is word of mouth, so don’t forget Facebook, Goodreads, Wattpad, tell your friends, tell your aunt, tell your coworkers, tell the checkout girls at the grocery store. Take those speaking engagements, go to the book clubs. Blog. And sometime in there find time to work on the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

Editors and Writers

Autocrit, an online editing service which I use because it is useful in many areas of revision, offered a deal before Christmas: for $99US, editorial comment on the first 20 pages of a manuscript by The Editorial Department. Renni Brown, who wrote Self Editing for Fiction Writers, is one of the founders of the company.

The editor assigned to me, Lindsay Guzzaro, is a well-respected editor and author. She identified what worked and what didn’t in the first 20 pages.

Now I have to decide whether I can use her comments to improve not just the first 20 pages, but the remainder of the manuscript. She did recommend I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which I did some years ago and will do again, and Syd Field, The Fundamentals of Screenwriting, not because I am writing a script, but for his teaching about plot and dialogue.

I’m part way through Field’s book, and I must say he is an excellent teacher and I am finding the book relevant to my work.

When I finish reading, I’ll begin the task for 2015, which is a rewrite of the manuscript, bearing in mind advice from Lindsay Guzzaro,  teachers Ruth E. Walker and Gwynn Scheltema of Writescape, as well as teaching from Barbara Kyle at a recent retreat. Too much advice? Perhaps, but I see a way forward now.

Also reading Between Gods, by Alison Pick, an intimate biography of a woman’s search for her Jewish identity.

Finished reading The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis, a hilarious political comedy. A recommended read for political junkies.