Thursday, June 18, 2015

More on Google Books

I now have 6 books for sale in Google Books/Google Play. I still think their interface can use some work, but when everything is exactly right (all the fields are filled in, the cover and book/epub file have been uploaded) it takes seconds for Google to process a book for sale. Amazon and Barnes and Noble both take hours.

Book 7 will be along shortly. My husband is home form the hospital, but he still needs a fair amount of help.

Friday, May 29, 2015

WFC Reminder!

If you have a membership in the World Fantasy Convention, you should have gotten an email with the nominating ballot, that allows you to propose people and works to be nominated for a World Fantasy Award. This weekend is the deadline for mailing (or emailing) your ballot!

I would post a photo of the award, but it's God-awful ugly, and it depicts HP Lovecraft, not my favorite person. I never understood why they used a horror writer's likeness in the first place, let alone that particular horror writer.






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Hugo Voter Packet Is Out

If you're a member of this year's Worldcon, you're entitled to vote in the Hugos. The voter packet (ebook versions of nominated works) is out and can be downloaded here. You need your membership number and Hugo PIN.

Voting is important every year but this year there is a firestorm about it, so make your choice while you can!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mostly offline for a while

My husband's medical emergency is ongoing, so I won't be posting much in the near future. Watch this space for updates!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

TRIBES is in Google Play!

I haven't posted much lately because of a family medical emergency, but I did find the time to investigate what it takes to load a book onto the Google Books/Google Play platform. Their interface is not nearly as easy to use as KDP, Nook Press, or Smashwords, but I managed to get Tribes loaded into their system.



Some early observations on the author interface are that it could really use some work. It requires an ISBN to even start the process, for one thing, as it uses that as an identifier for the book. Also, there are fields that need to be filled in that seem to rely on controlled lists, but the lists are not on a pull down menu; you have to type them. For example, the Book Industry Study Group (BISAC) subject/genre field. I had to find the online list to know exactly what to type. Also, the upload process is odd. It says basically "upload content" and you then upload the epub or PDF file and an image file for the cover, but there's not a specific place to do each. The first time I loaded the epub and the cover together and it only kept the cover file. I had to upload the epub again.

Finally, once the book is there, you can't see an online list of sales; instead you have to download a CSV file. That seems incredibly clunky to me.

I picked Tribes for this trial because it's standalone book, but when I have time, I plan to go back and add some more books, possibly the two Haven books. I got the idea to try Google Books from another author's posting on Facebook, so I will be curious to see how well the book does.

Correction:  Google Books doesn't require an ISBN, but it does use it as a file name identifier, so if you don't have one, it makes up its own identifier.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Borrow my book— please!

I hate the fact that Amazon requires exclusivity for a KDP book to be in Kindle Unlimited. Exclusivity means the ebook version of a book can only be for sale in the Kindle store. Amazon doesn't care about the print version, but the ebook can only be a Kindle book. Amazon calls this status being in Kindle Select, and they sweeten the deal by allowing a limited number of promotions for Kindle Select books: the author can make the book free or on sale. Of course, you can lower the price of your Kindle book to 99¢ anytime you want to, but that's not the same as displaying it as "Regular price, $3.99, on sale for 99¢, YOU SAVE $3.00!" which is what the Kindle store buyers see with a Kindle promotion. It eevn shows how long the sale will last, which is a good impetus for a browser to click the buy button.

To date, I've never kept a book in Kindle Select for more than a single 90 day cycle. In the past, being able to make the book free for a few days was a great way to get some reviews, and reviews sell books. But once that first 90-day period was over, I always loaded the book on other platforms. I still plan to do that for Saronna's Gift, but not for another 90 days. I've signed on for another cycle because Kindle Unlimited has been pretty good to this book.

As I said in my earlier post, the Kindle Unlimited per-borrow fee paid to the author is running about half of what the royalty is for a #3.99 book. However, that doesn't mean you always make less money with Kindle Unlimited. That's only true if people who would have bought the book borrow it instead. As a new author, I think the borrowers I'm getting are people who might otherwise never have seen or bought my book. Ergo, I'm going to give it another 90 days and we'll see where we are then.

Hopefully, by then that book will have more than 6 reviews. Honestly, people, would it kill you to post a review?  They make it really easy! There's a button right on the product page.






Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Value of Kindle Unlimited

Well, Saronna's Gift has been out for about six weeks now, and it's been a different experience from the other seven books. This is the first book I have marketed as a romance. Some of the others are very romance-friendly, but in this book, the point of the story is the relationship. It's also the first book I put out since Kindle Unlimited was an option.

In self-publishing ebooks, unknown authors have some tools (besides writing an engaging book) to get their work to readers. Two of the main ones are they can make books free (on some platforms), and they can price them very cheaply. Giving away a book works best as a marketing strategy if it's the first book in a series. But even that has limitations because there are so darn many free ebooks, that many of them are never read. People see “free” and click the button, but once they have the ebook, they don't feel any urge to read it right away. It might not even be a book they would want to read, but what the heck, it was free, right?


The Kindle Unlimited program is different. It's a subscription program, aimed at “heavy” readers, people who read a lot!  They pay a fixed price (I think it's $10 a month) and then they can download as many KU books as they want, but they can only have 10 KU books on their device at a time. Because they have already paid the fee, they feel a need to get their money's worth and read lots of books. They don't download as recklessly as they would totally freee books, but they are willing to take a chance on new (to them) authors.

Amazon pays KU authors for every time a book is borrowed and read to at least 10% of the book. Some authors are not happy because Amazon pays a flat rate, without regard to the book's price or length. Right now, the rate is approximately $1.40. That means if a book sells for 99¢, the author gets paid more for a borrow than a sale. But if the book sells for $3.99, the borrow pays only about half what the sale would pay.  Sounds like a terrible deal, right? I don't happen to think so.

Some people look at a borrow and see it as a lost sale. I don't. I see it as a reader gained. The thing is, if you're Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, anything you write will get a lot of attention. If you're Carmen Webster Buxton, your books have a ton of competition for readers' time and money. A program like Kindle Unlimited gets an unknown author over the barrier of the reader plunking down money to find out if they like a book or not. The free sample feature helps a lot, but I know a lot of people feel like it's not enough to really tell them if they'll like the book. With KU, there really isn't much of a barrier except the reader's time commitment, and they can stop reading any time, return the book, and go on to something else.

And I have to say, when it comes to “heavy” readers, romance readers have it all sewn up! They read more books than almost anyone. Which is fine with me!

Now if they would only write more reviews . . .

Addendum:  Adding a link here to an excellent discussion of this topic on Jane Friedman's blog.









Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The books are in the mail!

The Goodreads giveaway (see post below) is over, and the books are in the mail! If you were notified you won a paperback copy of Saronna's Gift, you should get it before the end of the week.

If you're not familiar with Goodreads, you should check it out. Lots of authors host giveaways. The cover all genres, and it doesn't cost anything to enter.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saronna's Gift giveaway on GoodReads

I'm hosting a giveaway of three paperback copies of Saronna's Gift via Goodreads! You can enter to win using the link below.  Note that you do need a US mailing address.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saronna's Gift by Carmen Webster Buxton

Saronna's Gift

by Carmen Webster Buxton

Giveaway ends February 20, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First US review of Saronna's Gift

At last, the US Kindle store has a review of Saronna's Gift. Reviewer M. Sutton gave it four stars. She wanted more sex (the reader has to wait a long time and nothing overt happens on the page) but she called it a good read and praised the lack of typos and grammatical errors, so I call that a good review.

She mentioned she borrowed the book through Kindle Unlimited. I checked and the review shows up on the paperback version, too, so they are fully linked.