Tag Archives: KDP

Something for the readers

This is not intended to be about my fiction. You can read it that way, if you like, but this is supposed to be more general. I’m taking a few shortcuts, because this is a blog post and not a novella.

Once upon a time, there were the big six publishers. They are the big five now. There also existed a group of smaller publishers.

Writers were required to submit manuscripts to literary agents and try to get someone to represent them. The agent shopped the manuscript around with the big six. If they failed to pique someone’s interest they went to the smaller publishers.

For an author it was a matter of appeasing the various gatekeepers along the path. An agent might require a rewrite, an editor might require another, and on down the line as long as it took. Many times the story actually changed from the author’s original vision.

Once the deal was struck, the manuscript was sold. This means the author had no more right to it, or to the characters in the story. They got paid an advance which was theirs to keep. A royalty was established, and each book sold was credited a small amount until the royalty was “earned out.” Then, and only then, the author might earn royalties for subsequent sales.

It sounds like a reasonable deal in some ways. Consider that many advances today are $1500 or less, and royalties float around 17%. Remember the author has to pay the agent out of his slice. The point is, very few writers were getting rich.

Along came Amazon with a way of selling electronic books. They also invented a device to make it easy. Consider they are paying 35% royalties, or 70% under the KDP program. Hold this thought for a moment.

People love paper books. I do too, and own many collectable ones myself. The newest generations have taken to ebooks with gusto. Hold this thought for a second too.

Most books out there are entertainment. We read them and move on to the next one. I expect nothing greater for my own stories. Producing hard bound books with gilt edges is not worth the cost.

Gatekeepers are good / gatekeepers are bad. The gatekeepers prevent a lot of bad fiction from being circulated. On the other hand, they are interested in a bottom line, and push what’s popular right now. Think of it like the influx of reality television. People want it, and the networks deliver. What program didn’t get a slot, because Hillbilly Hand Fishing sounded good?

I may have fallen into this myself. When I wrote a story about a robot that was built in a concept lab, the world wanted sparkly vampires and red rooms of pain. I, and many like me, write what I would want to read. I’m not going to write about sparkly zombies in a pink room of pain just to get picked.

I believe readers want what they want too. Many enjoyed the books I’m poking fun at. That other group that wanted robotics was left out of the market. Amazon changed all this. Independent authors are writing the kinds of books you might be looking for. (Westerns, historical pieces, horror where the vampires kill you.)

So here I am, self publishing. I own my characters and my books. If sales demanded a reappearance of Lisa Burton, the robot, I could deliver. If I’d sold her to a publisher, I couldn’t.

The younger generation always replaces the older generation. It can’t be stopped. I can see a possibility where paper books become a boutique item only.

What about that crappy fiction? Amazon let’s you read the first few chapters for free. You can read in a bookstore, and you can do the same at the Amazon store. If you’re not into the book, move on to the next one.

People complain about buying a Kindle just so they can read ebooks. I have two arguments in reply. First the newer Kindles are more than ebook readers. Many will rival an iPad for usability. Second, you don’t need a Kindle to read ebooks.

There is a Kindle app for almost every electronic gadget in existence. You can read an ebook on your PC during your lunch break. I’m going to provide you with a link: Kindle Apps. You probably already own the suitable gadget.

My challenge to you is to get the app and give an ebook a chance. You aren’t limited to self published authors either. If you really want to read something by Cheri Priest, you can. I have, along with Jim Butcher, Stephen King, and others.

Give an ebook a chance. Put the app on your Droid or iPhone. An author somewhere will thank you. Your book is portable, available while waiting in line, and works well during long layovers. (As I recently learned.)

Maybe after you’ve read a mainstream book or two, you’ll give an independent author a chance. Will you rise to my challenge?

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The work part of self publishing

Sound the trumpets! The Cock of the South is officially available on the Amazon store. The cover on my sidebar is a link if you’re interested. They make great Christmas gifts, yada, yada.

This is an epic fantasy set in a Greco Roman environment. It includes dwarves, centaurs, cyclops, fairies, a nymph, and more. TCOS is my first fantasy, and I’m pretty darned excited about it.

Now the work continues. As soon as Amazon emailed me the link I modified my “About Me” page. I added a link to my Gravitar, and used the image widget to make sure the book was findable from my blog.

Amazon doesn’t add new books to my author page automatically. I just went there and told it to add TCOS. It should show up in 24 hours.

I added links to all my previous books. Who knows, if someone liked one of them they might like TCOS.

If anyone finds something that doesn’t work correctly, I’d appreciate a heads up.

I got up early today and intended to write. I learned the hard way that all battery chargers are not created equal. When I flew home, I packed my chargers in my suitcase. The huge layover caused me to use my battery up, so I bought a charger in Phoenix.

My daughter needed a charger so I gave it to her when I got home. I just plugged my regular stuff in and didn’t worry about it.

Last night I plugged my iPad in whilst reading. The power continued to drop. I figured a full night would remedy everything, and left it to charge when I went to bed.

This morning, my battery was croaked. I went to my shaving kit and retrieved my old ghetto style charger. The iPad is taking on juice like a Marvel superhero now. It seems like an iPhone charger is not the same as an iPad charger. I had no idea.

So I didn’t get to add new words to my current story. Maybe tomorrow? I think I’m all set up for people to find The Cock of the South. Go get ’em you fantasy fanatics, and let me know what you think. It’s free to Amazon Unlimited members and through the Kindle lending library.

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Curing my knee with a panic attack

Okay, the the knee still hurts, and a thousand trips to the door to hand out candy didn’t help.

I had one teenager say, “Another Kit Kat, lame.”

I wanted to grab him by the throat and shake him until his Kit Kats broke. I didn’t. Maybe it’s time for him to get a job and buy whatever kind of candy he wants.

He was offset by an adorable Captain America, who was obviously on a sugar high.

Today, I decided to work on uploading The Cock of the South. This is where the panic begins.

I uploaded, and proofed. At least all the spelling errors were Amazon questioning the spelling of my last name.

Iris, the fairy noticed I’d left off my title page. Okay, create a new ePub and upload it again.

Lisa, the robot reminded me to include a link to her story, Wild Concept, at the end of the book. Yet another ePub and upload.

I went through this process four times. Right now it’s under review with Amazon. It might be available by supper time.

There’s a hint in here for all you fantasy fanatics. If you want to read an epic fantasy, set in a Greco Roman environment, I have a book for you.

The panic is at full speed now. I always wonder if I was true to my genre, was I true to the setting, environment, story structure, and a million other things. Is there enough character growth?

My knee isn’t bothering me quite so much. It’s like the old joke about curing a headache. Hit your thumb with a hammer; what headache?

My point is something I learned from Kristen Lamb’s blog. She has some eloquent saying that I’m going to screw up. Basically, she says an author ships.

Her point is that an author has to get the product to market. That’s what I’m doing today.

There are a million other little things to do after Amazon blesses my story. I have to update the blog with an active link. I ought to look at my Gravitar with fresh eyes, and my Amazon author page probably needs an update. I’m sure my “about me” page needs an update too. All of this has to wait until Amazon provides a link.

Earlier this week I participated in blog recruiting day for the Rave Reviews Book Club. I had a ton of visitors and comments that day.

The RRBC newsletter arrived last night. Here’s a bit from one of the articles: CONGRATULATIONS to the Winner of our Blog Recruitment Day Contest, CRAIG BOYACK!! Since he received the MOST votes as favorite blog post, he has won an upcoming “SPOTLIGHT” Author spot!!

I’m not entirely sure what this all means, but there’s extra promotion involved. It isn’t a bad time to have a new book coming out. I believe there is a blog tour involved, and TCOS gives me something fresh to talk about. I’m watching my email like a hawk to see what lies ahead.

All this means I’m not getting new words on paper. I’m still writing, because I consider all of this part of the writing gig. I don’t have to report to the office until Tuesday, and may manage some new words.

Today, I’m drinking coffee, checking my email like a maniac, and reading my Conor Kelly book. Once the Amazon link arrives, I’ll be updating everything in sight. I need to update Rave Reviews Book Club too. I need to have TCOS in their catalog.

Maybe I should add links to TCOS in back of all my other books. Hmmm.

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Long day

I didn’t get quite as early a start as yesterday. Lisa* wasn’t ready when I got to the cabin, so I slipped into my alternate office and wrote.

I managed about 400 new words on Will ‘O the Wisp. I swear, I have no idea what all Patty could find here, but I’ve plotted some things she has to learn. It’s a new location, miles from her home. Plotting isn’t as rigid as some people would have us believe. This whole thing could take a strange turn here.

I decided to do my taxes while I waited, and it’s ugly. Really, really ugly.

When Lisa was ready, she came down and we got started. I left the door open for Doubt**, and he flew to my main office.

Lisa was decked out in full pinup mode. This was always her style, and since it’s her book who could blame her. She had her strawberry blonde hair in victory rolls, and a poofy midriff baring blouse with huge polka dots. Her tight jeans were the kind that ended at her upper calf and showed off her high heels well. Her tattoos looked pretty alluring in this getup.

We edited until my eyes ached. (And until Olympic snowboard cross came on.)

Doubt croaked and I added a bit more emotion at those points. I still don’t know if it’s enough, and Doubt is always relentless. He’s a more, more, more kind of raven. Eventually, I’ll have to decide if it’s right and hit publish.

I have two more days off. I want to write, but Lisa’s story is getting really close. I may take some time to figure out what I need for Amazon’s KDP program. Then again, I may put it off and worry about what Doubt thinks.

I filled a growler with a local dopplebock last night. Lisa filled up the enchanted beer horns and we called it a day. The beer is from Payette, and it’s pretty good.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Has anyone out there blogged about doing this with a Mac?

* Lisa is the main character from Wild Concept. She is a robot and works as my assistant now.

** Doubt is a raven. He was a gift from my Muse.

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