Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My books are back on Diesel!

Actually, I don't know if they were ever gone;  I think Diesel simply changed their search syntax as far as author names. When I searched for "Carmen Webster Buxton" in quotes I got nothing, but when I searched for the books by title there were there.  Next I tried searching on my name without the quotes and all three books showed up!

Now if I can just get No Safe Haven to go to Blio I will be happy.

Monday, May 28, 2012


My first sales from Blio (online store with ebooks distributed by Baker & Taylor) came in! That means Smashwords now has another retail ebook outlet up and running.  For some reason, No Safe Haven is still not available in that store, even though The Sixth Discipline and Tribes are both for sale. I have not had any luck getting Smashwords to remedy that, either. I will have to try removing the book from the distribution list and then requesting it to ship again.

I spent the morning updating the Books tab on this site (click the tab above to see) and my Shelfari shelf (see the bottom of the home page).  Having thus taken care of some housekeeping chores, I am now going to reward myself with some reading time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

London calling?

I get email from Amazon on a regular basis, both as an author and as a customer. But recently I got email from the UK version of Amazon recommending some books to me, and one of them was my own Shades of Empire, which I had been checking out on that site.  I wanted to see if any UK customers had reviewed it yet (none had, although my lovely US review does show up), but while I was there I noticed that because I had opted to let Amazon use the US Kindle store price to set the UK price, the book costs £1.91 in the UK, which is a nice change from everything ending in “99.”

It was fun seeing my own book in the email.  Hopefully, other Amazon UK customers are seeing it, too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It gets better, ebook edition

There used to be so many error in ebooks! I can't tell you how frustrated I was, especially when the errors would be totally obvious things like diacritical marks becoming garbage characters, so that any word with a tilde or an accent became unreadable. I recall being overjoyed to find out a book I had loved in high school (Rebel Spurs, by Andre Norton,long out of print, but it appears to be free in the Kindle store, although possibly it's a different edition) was on Kindle, and crushed when I read it and discovered just how badly a careless publisher could mess up a scanned book. I also enjoy the novels of Georgette Heyer, the historical ones more than the mysteries. Often those had errors, too, but recently I read The Toll Gate on my Kindle and was pleased there was exactly one typo (or possibly scanning error). The word “too” followed by an exclamation mark had been rendered as “tool” (with no punctuation to end the sentence). I used the spiffy new feature I mentioned in my post on the new Kindle Touch upgrade to report the error to Amazon. I will post about the results, and what feedback I get. But still, one typo in an entire novel is not bad, not bad at all! It did get better!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sometimes content DOESN'T want to be free

A favorite slogan of folks who pirate other people's work is that content wants to be free (as if books were zoo animals or something!). I don't agree with that; if I wrote it, I want to decide when it's free. Nevertheless, there are times when giving away content is a good idea. When you are an unknown writer without a publishing house behind you, being able to give away your work is actually a useful tool.

The trick is to give it away in such a way that readers a) know it's there and b) can get it easily. Thus, many more established writers rely on giving away their books directly. Their readers are already trolling their websites, so announcing that a DRM-free copy is available will get them lots of takers.

Those of us who don't have eager hordes of fans need an more direct channel. Amazon has a program called KPD Select that requires writers to make their ebooks available exclusively on Kindle for at least 90 days. Amazon then allows every participating writer to make their book free for 5 days during that 90-day period. They have an easy-to-use interface that lets you schedule the free days, one or more days at a time. The free period is supposed to start and end at midnight, Pacific time, but the KDP site warns you it can sometimes take a few hours to kick in.

The free day worked flawlessly for Where Magic Rules when I scheduled it to be free the first Friday in May. When I checked online, first thing in the morning, I had already given away 20 copies for WMR. For Shades of Empire, which was scheduled for yesterday, not one copy had been given away when I checked, even though the promotion showed as "ongoing" in my KDP author dashboard. When I went to the product page for SoE, I was shocked to see that the buy button still said $2.99 and there was still a "give as a gift" button (free books don't have that button). On the other hand, the book didn't have a sales rank, or a rank for "free in Kindle store," either. Having announced the freebie was coming on the eBook giveaways page on Goodreads (a useful site if you're a Goodreads member!), I was a tad annoyed.

Amazingly, Amazon had someone working on Saturday, and they advised me there had been a glitch. They promised to provide an extra free day to make up for it. Shades of Empire did finally become free at 5:00 pm, but of course, it didn't do nearly as well in its 7 hours as Where Magic Rules did in 24, except in the UK and Germany where the numbers were almost identical.

But, at some point in the future I will try again. If I weren't stubborn as hell, I wouldn't be a writer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shades of Empire is up and reviewed!

Shades of Empire is now available in the Kindle store, and it already has a really nice 5-star review!  No, it's not from Harriet Klausner! But I did provide an ARC (advance reader copy) to a woman who is an active reviewer on Amazon and has reviewed my books before. Fortunately, she really liked the book.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Where Magic Rules got its first Amazon review!

A book lover (based on the number of reviews she has written) named Tina gave Where Magic Rules a very nice 4-star review! A lot of her review is a darned accurate plot summary, so don't read it if you don't want to know the plot ahead of time. I will only quote her assessment:
 “I simply base my reviews on my overall impression at the end of the story, and I liked this one.”
She especially liked the dragon!

Amazon delivers an amazing update

The other day I found a letter from Amazon in my Kindle home screen, alerting me that my Kindle Touch had been updated and listing some of the new features.  I have to say, it was an impressive list!
  • You can go to landscape mode from the document menu. Yay!
  • You can highlight across pages by dragging your finger down to the bottom right corner; this turns the page and lets you keep selecting the text you want to highlight.  Yay! 
  • When you have text selected, in addition to the Add Note, Highlight, and Share options, there is now a "More" option that lets you either search the highlighted string in Wikipedia, translate that text into one of several foreign languages, or report problems with the content! Triple yay!
  • You can set the KT to use a language other than English for menus.
  • The Go To menu now includes the chapter titles as destinations, if the book has a table of contents. 
The translation feature is amazing!  I can't wait to try it out.  As part of the upgrade my Kindle downloaded a boatload of foreign language dictionaries, and I assume the translation program must use them.

The letter also said they had changed the home screen slightly, but the biggest difference I can see if the author name appears in smaller text underneath the title, instead of to the right. I think the sort menu (most recent, by author, by title) is a little cleaner, too.

This upgrade was so full of features it made me feel like I was getting something for free! If you have a KT, I think you will get the upgrade automatically, just by leaving your wireless on in wifi mode.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today is a windup day

Today I sent my corrected files for Shades of Empire to 52Novels, the conversion/ebook design house I use. I also got the count for the giveaway yesterday of Where Magic Rules, which is back on sale today for 99¢. 

I gave away over 300 books in 24 hours, which isn't bad, for a brand new genre novella without a single review (it's only been out a couple weeks). I plan to wait a while before doing anymore Kindle promotions, but it was interesting to see how it went. Surprisingly, a number of copies were “bought” in the UK and a handful in the one in Germany.  None in Italy, Spain, or France, though.

Now if only Smashwords would update it's Apple iBooks sales figures, I could decide whether it will be worth it to launch Shades as a Kindle Select book! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where Magic Rules is free today!

My newest release, the fantasy novella Where Magic Rules is free in the Kindle store, today only!  Get it now!

Joseph Andrews wandered away from an Army Reserve training exercise and into an alternate world where magic rules science and mages rule the land. He has learned the language and taken service with the kindest mage he can find, but he still dreams of the real world.
When Joe rescues a wounded soldier in service to a dark lord, he finds he has saved not a young boy but a woman who calls herself Phillip and insists she's really a man. Joe is shocked when the Great Mage orders him to go on a quest with Phillip but his surprise is mild compared to Phillip's outrage. 
Part road movie, part romantic comedy, this novella follows Joe and Phillip as they try to fulfill the Great Mage's demand without killing each other along the way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I know better than this!

But I can't help myself! I'm thinking of changing the title of my soon-to-be-released novel! I was thinking of calling it . . .  50 Shades of Empire.

Sorry, I never could resist a play on words. In case you're been living under a rock, the words I'm playing with are in the title of this best seller. Check the cover in the right-hand column for my real title.