Updates on Publishing

Another chilly Sunday in the Kawarthas and it’s April. At least the ground here is bare of snow for now.

I’ve been working for the last few weeks on re-editing The Facepainter Murders and I’m happy to say that the new, better version is up on Amazon and Create Space.

I’ve also explored some further advertising opportunities.

Bublish

I’m in the midst of a 2 week free trial with this company, in which a membership costs 99$ US a year. A lot, but that lets me upload all my books and get them before the thousands of people who follow the site. Every weekend, Bublish hosts a twitter campaign that ends with a virtual bookstore on Monday. Whichever bubbles(see below) are new the week before are featured.

The bubble includes an author biography, an extract from one of the books and an insight section. The latter is a short paragraph about what ever the author might think would interest a reader, such as an introduction to why the book was written or how the writer coped with a particular scene. I started with book 1 of my Dangerous Journeys series last week, wrote two bubbles and have had 187 views so far and 2 clicks thru to Amazon. I’ll see how it goes by Thursday.

Amazon Ads.

You know the books that appear below the one you have searched for on Amazon? Those lists result from Amazon Ads that are written by the author or publisher. Amazon runs a bidding programme so that each ad, once clicked upon, costs the author what she bid for placement of that particular ad. It’s not a great system. The results are delayed, sometimes by as much as six weeks and the sales are not in real time. However, the clicks data and the information about sales form Kindle Direct can help determine whether or not an ad is working.

Brian Meeks wrote a book on the subject called Mastering Amazon Ads, which is helpful although a bit confusing for a non-analyst(Brian is one). There is also a oa free course in the subject. You can find it here. I’m in the midst of both the book and the course and setting up ads. I think it’s useful to do all three in conjunction. Brian runs a Facebook group about the ads as well.

 

Publishing, Cont.

A Superior Crime and other stories is set to go on Feb 13. at Amazon. Karen Phillips(PhillipsCovers) completed the final version for print and I think it’s terrific.

Anthology_5_25x8_final copysmall.jpg

I’m continuing with the re-edit of Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. I completed No Motive for Murder some time ago. Only one to go after that—The Child on the Terrace.

Painting of Sorrow is back from the editors at Books Go Social with a gold mark of excellence. I have only a few corrections to make so perhaps it will be out in May rather than September.

I noticed discussion recently on some of the author sites I follow about writing programmes, editing and publishing.

Over the last year, I developed the following steps:

  1. Write in Scrivener.
  2. Export to Word as a docx file.
  3. Upload to Vellum.
  4. Edit chapter by chapter in Autocrit and Grammarly.
  5. Generate books from Vellum in all the formats available. The print version should be generated separately as it requires a different ISBN. Also, ISBNs for Smashwords differ from those at Kindle. Amazon doesn’t require an ISBN for books published on Kindle.
  6. Publish at Kindle and Create Space.
  7. Market. I use the book promoter service at Books Go Social and tweet with askDavid.

That’s about it for a snowy Sunday in the Kawarthas. We’re supposed to get 10cm more today and there’s about that much on the ground. Winter was hiding after all.

 

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

 

 

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.

JewelledEggcoverSmall

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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JewelledEggcoverSmall

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.

My Publishing Journey

When my publisher retired, I had 4 books at retail outlets online, POD at Amazon, and distributed by Smashwords. Changing over to self-publishing would be easy, I thought.

Not so easy. At CreateSpace, the POD arm of Amazon, I began the process, submitting PDF’s for each book and cover, getting new ISBN’s(free at Library and Archives Canada) for each version and making sure that no vestige of the old publisher remained in the documents. These were then uploaded, assessed and if passed, a proof available on line and if wanted, in paper(for a fee). It’s taken longer than I thought it would and the books aren’t available on Amazon as yet. Along the way I  used Acrobat Pro DC, a terrific program. I’m proofing No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace, while en route to visit my family in Bermuda. I started at the end of the series rather than the beginning because I am making changes in the cover art.

Karen Phillips, of Phillips Covers, is designing covers for all 4 of the published books and for the as yet untitled fifth book in the Dangerous Journeys series. The covers will have common fonts and set-up and a logo. When the latest book is ready to go to press, I’ll present them as a boxed set wherever that is possible.

That brings me to Smashwords, the company set up by Mark Coker, that publishes and distributes e-books to all the major retailers except Amazon, unless one has sold $2000US of the title at Smashwords.

The initial process to change over to me was easy. Arline Chase, at Write Words Inc. turned over the files to me and there they were, all set up to go. Except, her publishing company’s name was in all the books, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to add a chapter of the preceding book to the next one in the series. That meant getting the original files, adding matter at the end, learning about the page numbering system at Smashwords, and then uploading.

The page numbering? It has to be consistent with their’s and changing it, with my rudimentary knowledge of the finer points of Word, meant hours spent learning and then renumbering. Finally, both cover and content were through the Meatgrinder(that’s the name) and on to Autovetter. This program found errors that at first I didn’t even understand that were left-over ghosts of a pdf file in the Word document I was using.

I’m at the end of the Smashwords process for No Motive for Murder and it and The Child on the Terrace are available under my new imprint From The River Publishing, at Smashwords. The older books are there as well, and at Kobo, Nook, and many other fine e-book retailers.

Oh, yes. The first of my series, Murderous Roots, is free online at all those retailers. No time limit on that and I’ve developed new lower pricing for Volumes 2-4.

One final thought. I’m working on a new web site for my imprint From The River Publishing. It will be available at fromtheriverpublishing.ca. I’ll post the news when it goes live.

That’s it for a sunny Sunday in March.