Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comments on the Great Experiment

Last Sunday I had my day in the sunshine and put Penelope and The Movie Star out for free on KDP Select. The expectation with this experiment was to try out the marketing tool and obviously drum up new readers.  Here are some of the results.

Free downloads
Amazon US      310
UK                     48
Germany              7

For "Customer Who Bought This Book Also Bought," I now have 95 links.  I thought this might be a good thing, but it worries me that perhaps I have just lost my book in another forest of trees. When I look at some of the books in the list, I find that they do not always link back to my book. Another point to ponder is many of the books linked to mine are not related to middle-grade mysteries. I mean is having a tween mystery linked with a book on serial killers a good thing?

I also pulled in 2 real sales out of the experiment. One occurred so close during the give away I didn't see it until the final numbers for the week were tallied.  The other came the day after. By day number two things went dead again.

An interesting fallout was with Barnes and Nobles sales. Penelope and The Birthday Curse took off on the same day of the giveaway.  While it may be coincidence and I cannot help but see a cause and effect.

Another note is that I have not had any "borrows" yet. Of course, if its free why borrow?

Time will tell.  At this point I am not greatly impressed with the results.  But this was an experiment and perhaps in a few months I will be singing praises for KDP Select.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Free Penelope Book for the Kindle

As many of you know, last week I signed up PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR with Kindle Select. One of the features of the program is I can offer the book for free for limited times.  Yeah, I know, I can offer it free at other places, too. The big difference is promotion versus just another free book.

Sure right now you're thinking what a great guy, but there is a selfish motivated part to this.  Again called marketing. First goal is to generate links in "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought." The more links the more chances to get page hoppers that may be interested in the book.

The next idea is to get a Penelope book in circulation. The more readers that like it the more likely they will tell someone who will want to read about the antics of Penelope, and they may want to pick some of the other books.

Finally it pushes the book up the ladder nearer to the top where it will get more notice. The goal of course is to get into the top 100 free books.  

It's worth mentioning that the Penelope books are written for tweens ages 10 through 13, but many adults are reading them too. From a Review at Book Bags and Cat Naps: "’s easy to enjoy this book as an adult and simply be swept along by the mix of mystery and humour..." Even if you're a big kid, pick up a copy.

Stop by Amazon on Sunday February 19 and pick up a copy of PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR...for free!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on KDP Select

Near the end of last year Amazon introduced KDP Select. Some hailed it as a fantastic idea. Others decried a marketing scheme to further push out the competitors. I thought I'd give my spin on the whole thing.

For a three month commitment, you sells your ebook on Amazon. Nobody else. Amazon Prime members are able to check out your ebook, much like a library, without paying for the book. In exchange, you get a credit  for every checkout.  All those credits you accumulate are tallied at the end of each month and the pot set aside for KDP Select is divided proportionate to the credits. Also, you get to do five free days in the three months and give away your book.

At first glance, this may sound like a win-lose and you the author are on the losing end.  Giving away free books goes against the whole goal of being an author...selling books.  The key word is selling them for some profit. This plan does not guarantee what profit you get from the pool of money.  Typically $500,000 is set aside, but if 5 million books are checked out that comes 10 cents a pop.

From what I have heard the profits have been better from books checked out to prime members. December payout was $1.70 per loan.  January's fund climbed to $700,000 and February is at $600,000. So there is money to be made.

Giving away a free book goes counter to everything I believe. But from what I have heard it can help promote your book. How Amazon KDP Saved My Book is a testament to that. I've seen other books that were floundering and after a give away skyrocketed up the ranks.

I have enrolled my latest book PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR in KDP Select. I hope in the weeks ahead to give you a good report of how it helped me.  No matter what happens, I will give you the full story.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some of My Editing Secrets

I’ve heard writers tell: they hate to edit but love to write the first draft. Personally I'm the opposite. Get the story out of my head is the painful part.  Once I have it on paper, the fun begins.  I liken it to sculpting with clay. Getting the initial shape done is the hard part. After that the thing starts to look like something.  Here are some of my editing secrets.

1. Read it aloud with Adobe Reader X or programs like Read Aloud. Listening to your work read while following along can be a great way to find typos, missing words and repeat words.

2. Look for overused words. Many times these are words used too often and sometimes not  necessary.  Here are a few from my list...justthennowwell.

3. Read out of order. Reading them out of order keeps from getting lulled into reading the story and missing something.

4. Look for repeat words. The same word repeated over a short section of text begins to stand out.

5. Look for too much similarity between scenes. It’s easy to duplicate information or a situation.

6. Using was, is, were or are can be a sign of weak or passive sentences. Eliminate them where possible.

7. Find someone to proofread your work.  A second opinion is valuable.

8. Read it on an ebook reader.  I’ve found if I turn my work into an epub format and put it on my reader, I find typos I never saw when editing in Word.

9. Put the work away for a while and come back later. Fresh eyes can do wonders.

10. Run the Grammar and Spell Checker. Just take whatever it finds with a grain salt.

That’s some of my suggestions. What are your editing secrets?