Monday, April 29, 2013

Getting back your Copywrite! #amazon #kindle #amwriting #finally!


COVER REVEAL - SOON!! ...for TOGETHER AGAIN   
                                           
How do you feel about getting the rights back on a book that's been out of your reach?

I know how I feel—thankful, ecstatic and darn well excited. Add in just a little rejoicing that the day’s finally here and it would about cover it. Overwhelming relief comes to mind also when I think I’ll finally be able to set it up on Amazon the way I want.

It’s about control. Something I never thought about in those first few years of being in the business. A contract back then was the golden globe. An award that everyone I knew craved for. Guess it’s still the same for some people today. Traditionalists think a contract from a publisher will give them everything they yearn for.  

1.     Their name on a book cover, one they wouldn’t have to pay for. Except there’s no choices involved either.

2.     Their editing done free of charge. In one way, that is a bonus unless the editor forces you to make huge adjustments in revising your work, changing your voice and altering the whole concept of the story.

3.     Free promotion. Not so much! Unless you’re a best-seller, the publishers ignore you and the only commitment they give to your work is to put your book on some bookshelves for a limited time.

4.     A good price for their work. Except that they’re in competition with so many new self-published authors who are willing to set their prices at a reasonable rate, knowing that it’s only fair to give the readers a chance to discover them and their work.  

I’ve recently gotten the rights back for my book “Together Again” which is the 5th book in The Vicarage Bench Series. It’s one of my favorite books because it was my first full-length novel that was publishable.

My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, charged $5.25 for this book. I’m sorry, but I totally understand why the ranking on that book stayed so low over the years. I’m sure the only copies I sold were to the people who knew me personally and wanted to support me.  (Thank goodness for mothers, sisters, and best friends.) **Funny thing is, as soon as I started selling well on Amazon with my self-published work, the ranking on this book started to climb, benefiting …

You got it…!

 Next blog - Setting up your own work versus having no say at all.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sales Info on Amazon Central


If you go to your Amazon Central page, you'll see above the button “Sales Info”.  If you’re like me, curious as hell, click on it and there's a window that says “All Books”.

Goodie! Here we go…! Now pick out your latest release and whaaa!!! As long as it’s a self-published book, you’ll get a message that basically reads – You’re out of luck!!! Or if you want the literal blurb – Nielsen Book Scan does not aggregates sales data for Kindle or ebooks blah blah blah...

So how does a person find their sales info? I know!! – I know!! What you do is look on the left where it says Sales Rank and there is a wealth of info on each one of your books

Nooooooo!!!!  Amazon's note:

***Looking for Historic Sales Rank?
We’re doing an overhaul of our historic Sales Rank graphs, and we’ve temporarily removed this feature while we work on it. We will re-introduce the graphs in May 2013. We apologize for the inconvenience while we do this work. ****


How can they do this to me when I’m writing a blog about this wonderful tool? Sheesh! All I can do is try and explain from memory. Every time I go into a Freepartay, I have to fill in a form that asks me about the best sales ranking and the average ranking for the book I’m promoting. This is where I can find that information. You can bring up every one of your books on a graph, with a choice for a short period (weeks or months) or over the whole year. (I think??? Did I happen to mention I have a bad case of brain malfunction due to overuse?) Really, it’s great to be able to see how each book is doing for comparison say with other books in a series or just so you can sit and gloat.

This is also a place that shows you each book's current sales ranking (which you can also see on the Books page as well.

The button called "Rank" is for the author. Again, this is a great place for you to follow your own path as you progress. As we all know, this career we’ve chosen doesn’t kick in overnight. It takes time and another book and another book and…

So to be able to see where we sit in the Amazon kingdom at any given time is pretty darn cool. This is what Amazon says about the Rank  -  *Amazon Author Rank is based on the sales of all of your books on Amazon.com and is updated hourly.*

These are the categories Amazon has placed me as of 5:49pm PMT:

All Books #1,246

Kindle eBooks #765

Literature & Fiction #644

Mystery & Thrillers #477

Mystery #245

These placements have to do with where your books are in certain categories. I know that when my Christmas book Lovable Christmas Angel was ranking near the #300 mark, the book was placing from #1 - #10 in categories such as christmas and holiday books. I had sold my way onto the Amazon's Authors 100 best-sellers list. Golden moments – this year’s goal – to get back on that list. But that’s another blog - Oh yeah!
The next link on this site is the Customer Reviews. Pretty self-explanatory. I answer all my reviews. Figure if people take their time to leave a comment, the least I can do is thank them.  But that’s just me – part of my old-fashioned upbringing.
 
  ***
 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Author Profile on Amazon Central

 

I know many of you are sick of filling in profile information on all the various sites that demand it. Since the day you became serious about promoting your work, I bet there’s a lot. I know I have a whole freakin, 3-ring book full of the different places where I’ve filled in my name, various tidbits of information and my books covers, etc. Then I promptly forgot about most of them because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The one place you don’t want to forget about and that’s the store that sells your books.  Amazon sends you your paychecks and so they are in a whole different category than any of the others that are plain promo sites. (My books are totally with their select program, so for me Amazon is my only employer.)


When it comes to setting up my author page here, I decided that it had to be done well. I wanted to get “likes” for my page and I hoped to get fans to follow me on twitter and my blogs from there. As a technically challenged, middle-aged chick, I fought with getting the RSS feed from my blog, but with perseverance and Google, it’s amazing what you can achieve. I knew it was a good place to have it show up and so I’m glad it works so well. Setting up the twitter was a snap.

Writing an interesting Bio that engages the reader and doesn’t make them yawn took a few days, but then again I’m a wordsmith – it’s my profession . Have to admit, it was darned difficult writing about myself.

The photo – I fiddled and stressed about that because many of the traditional authors feel it’s a must to have a professional photograph done. When I first started this career, I just couldn’t justify the cost. I decided I’d rather use the money for a book promotion. My husband took his digital, made me sit nice and polite and went to work and we chose the best. Not sure if I’m right about this, so it is on my to-do (maybe one day) list.

Once you have filled in this profile, Amazon will add it to your page where a customer can go to see all your books. In other words, rather than putting a book title in the search box, they put in your name. It opens up with your personal profile mixed in with all your books (and some from other folks also – so what’s up with that??? All I know it’s got something to do with the keywords you used when publishing – I think???)

I absolutely know there have been a number of readers who’ve checked me out – there’s over 130 likes and so if this profile does bring traffic. Therefore,it’s gotta be done right. Right???

Have I forgotten anything about the profile? If you know of some other important point to bring up, please leave a comment for everyone.
Next blog – What I know about the “Book Statistics in Amazon Central”.
 

 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Author Central and what New Authors need to know!!


 I have watched my friend, Jodie, traverse the many obstacles of Independent Publishing and it takes me back to my first few months as a Newbie.

I remember when I first heard about Amazon Central and how the books were to be set up there in order for us to be able to watch statistics, fill in book descriptions and share other necessary information such as our author profile. The information here is going to show up on each of your book’s Amazon pages so don’t make the mistakes I made - no typing errors J (Go to Google and look up Amazon Central Sign In.)

I wonder how many new authors still have their back page blurb that they uploaded when they published the book as their main description on their Amazon book page. Mine sat there for quite some time until I found out about Amazon Central and how very important this whole site is.

Once you’ve joined, check out the link at the top that says “BOOKS”. And read very carefully. Then add your book.

It can take more than 24 hours before that book will show up on the page so keep going back to check and see when it appears. When it does, be prepared to spend some time. Cclick on your book title to take you to the working page and the first slot you will see is Reviews.

Everyone must have is at least one review to put here. If you don’t have one, get a friend or a colleague to read your book and write something for you. (It must be under 600 characters or they won’t allow it.)

Next, and most important, your book description is not the same thing as the back page write-up. This is where the promoter in you must be allowed to go a little insane.  The place is where you can sell your book to the lurker who wants to know WHY they should buy it. Your chance is here to WOW them so they can’t help but push the buy-now button. Persuasive adjectives are necessary—words with impact that will evoke either shock or titillation.  It’s the movie trailer with strong language that sparks your interest and all the best shots from the movie put together that will whet your appetite. Use your talent as a wordsmith and let yourself go a bit crazy.

The rest of the slots,” From the Author”, “From the Inside Flap”, “From the Back Cover” (your back-page blurb goes here) and “About the Author” are all areas where you can share more information about you and the book. In case it’s not your habit to read through this collection of material, just know that many readers do or else Amazon wouldn’t have it there. So, if you want to dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s, then do your best.

 

***Next blog will focus on the Author Profile on Amazon Central

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do you remember your first time?


~~~~~***~~~~~
 
 


 Hey! Get your head out of the gutter - I’m talking about the first book you self-published :-) (Gotcha!)


I recall it as being one of the scariest days of my life, full of angst and pressure.  Everything that should have been easy had taken on huge propensities to screw up. Especially when I was locked in my office, three o’clock in the morning and I had loaded the file for the 8th time and the paragraphs still weren’t formatting properly on the viewer.

Swear words were escaping in a surprisingly fluent manner.  I didn’t even know I knew some of those phrases, probably because I made a lot of them up. Foot stamping, a behavior I’d given up at the age of two, had reappeared with a vengeance. And tears were sniffed back and due to a stubborn streak weren’t allowed to fall. My husband came to announce bedtime and left with a huge bite taken out of his face.
 

Finally, giving up due to exhaustion, I remember just hitting the save-and-continue button and promising myself I’d fix it to be perfect the next day. To be truthful, it took a week until I’d finally gotten the advice I needed to make the changes which were my paragraph indents.

So… that was my first time.
Tonight I helped a friend, Jodie Esch, with her first time. We had a lot of laughs, clicked through each of the Amazon stops with ease. Worked our way through the various selections for categories, keywords, etc and uploaded the file where it proved to be perfect the first time. (Years later, I’m now aware that a professional formatter is worth every penny he/she costs and Jodie thankfully agreed with me.) Her file was already perfect before she started.

After a lovely supper and delightful evening, we’re going to get a good night’s sleep and wake up to her being a debut author and me proudly sharing her joy.


My advice to anyone who is looking at self-publishing a book on Amazon for the first time:
– Find a friend who’s already had the experience and is willing to help you when the time comes.
– Get the book formatted properly by an expert.
 – Make sure you’ve already perused the KDP site so you know what to expect when the time comes.
 – Choose the categories and keywords you want for your book ahead of time, they are so very important.
 – Have a bottle of wine or at least some great dessert on standby to celebrate
 ~~~~~***~~~~~
 



 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lessons from a Wise Old Woman!

*****  *****

 
I’ve been living with a dilemma for the last few days and it made me wonder how others might cope with the same situation.
I’ve been involved in helping my older parents move into a lodge for seniors and it’s taken weeks to help them sort out all their “stuff”.  What to take?  What to give away?  Or in many instances throw away? As much as I personally think some of the things they’ve chosen to take with them aren’t worth keeping, I’ve been taught a very important lesson.
The expensive articles like antiques, jewelry and fancy expensive dishes have been easily given up. My siblings and I were asked – no – begged to take anything we wanted, which wasn’t much since we all have too much of our own “stuff”. Therefore, Mom decided that she was more than happy for us to take these things to an antique shop or goldsmiths and sell them.
What she wouldn’t part with turned out to be what I considered trashy trinkets. A faded stuffed elephant she’d gotten from my brother. An old ashtray, cracked on one side my dad won for her many years ago at a fair. A collection of angels she’d received as gifts from friends over the years which were mostly cheap and even gaudy. The list goes on and on and….  
It was these types of belongings she fought for when I explained for the umpteenth time that there was only one closet in the apartment and very little space for storage. The scads of photographs of people who were long gone, the many letters received over the years – these boxes had to be made to fit into that one closet somehow because they weren’t to be left behind. My questions of – how many times have you taken these letters and photographs out to look at them – didn’t compute. That had nothing to do with the fact that to her they were priceless and she needed them nearby.
The lesson I learnt from these last weeks reminded me of the drawers I have in my own home crammed with this same type of memorabilia. Maybe mine is newer now, but when I’m her age it’ll be old then. To my children it’ll be more rubbish that needs to be taken and stuffed somewhere when there’s no room. But to me it’ll be my precious memories. Then I’ll remember my mother and the lesson she taught me. What really is important to a wise old woman.
 
 *****

 
 
 


 

 

Friday, April 5, 2013

My promised excerpt from the newest - just released - Vegas Book #4



Review #1 - Shirleen Miller  (a wonderful review!!! Read the full )

The way Mimi writes the story all of sudden you go woops it is 2:47 AM and your cheering for a book finished. You can only smile. And then say "I want another book please" 



Back Page Blurb:

Aurora loves her mommy role and is fascinated by her little angel, Lily. When babies start disappearing in Vegas, not once did Aurora ever imagine that Lily would be one of the kidnap victims. So when the unthinkable happens, it forces Aurora to once again partner with Lily’s daddy, Kai, who’d previously walked out on her. This time, her heart will be kept firmly in lock-down where it’s safely resided since he disappeared and left her high and dry.

Almost a year later, still heartbroken over having lost Aurora, Kai learns he’s become a daddy. When a crazy lunatic kidnaps his baby girl, nothing can stop him from working the case, not even Aurora’s gun pointing at places on his body he’d like to keep intact. Hope arises when Aurora’s lips tell him to drop dead, but her hungry eyes plead for more of his tender brand of loving.



Excerpt:


Seconds before the doorbell rang, the hairs on the back of Aurora’s neck stood straight to attention, whipping up shivers to shoot down her back and into her hair, making her scalp tingle painfully. Her ears joined in the fun and a whining noise made her jump as if she’d been stabbed.

She knew… Just like that. Kai was the only person who could unsettle her to this extent. Anger boiled and fizzled over to fill her small body. Slowly she stood and moved to look out the peephole.

Sure enough, a man who resembled Kai stood leaning against the doorjamb, a thick file of papers in one hand. An L.A. Kings cap covered a full head of hair.

He looked away from the door and she saw him swallow then turn. As if he felt her eyes on him, he lifted his face and those sorry blue dazzlers stared straight through the tiny window and into her hardened heart. Then she noticed Cory next to him. She retrieved her weapon from the hall table, opened the door and stood back.

Cory moved in front of the chicken-bastard and held his hand out towards her. “Put the gun down, Aurora. I’d planned to shoot him myself but I listened to his story first. It’s cool, brat. Trust me. You’ll want to hear what he has to say.”

She leaned to the side in order to get a better aim and held back the grin that threatened when she saw Cory scoot out the door and close it very carefully behind him. Fucking coward!

Kai dropped the papers on the table. “Baby—”

“Don’t you call me Baby. You gave up that right.”

“I know. I was talking about our daughter.”

As if the idiot had no idea that her finger itched to pull the trigger and pay him back for the pain he’d put her through, he stood facing her, hands on his hips and a stubborn glare on his face.

“Where’s your bald head?”

“Under my hair.”

“Looks weird. I like it better the other way.”

“So I’ll shave it. You gonna shoot me?”

“Like to. Just can’t decide if the satisfaction would be worth the years in jail. It’s a tough call.”

“I thought of you every day.”

“You’re making it easier every time you open that lying mouth.”

“I was undercover… deep undercover. I brought a copy of the case files for you to read because I knew you wouldn’t believe me any other way. Started a few days after I got back to L.A. until yesterday when I got debriefed.”

“And the first few days you were in L.A.?”

A blush appeared on his cheeks that arrested Aurora’s gaze and made her remember why this man had captured her heart when no others had ever come close.

“I guess I drank enough to forget my own name never mind yours. Not proud of being such a jerk, but it’s the truth.”

“A fucking jerk you mean!”

“I stand corrected. You gonna put the gun away soon?”

“Just so you know how much I hate you and how hard it is not to pull the trigger—”

He interrupted, his voice harsh. “Got it!”
 
Buy now on Amazon for only 99 cents!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pricey Advertising - Should I or Shouldn't I??

 
 

I’ve just taken a workshop on how to promote with Google and I find everything about that type of                       advertisement overwhelming. The costs are really high and I’m thinking maybe I’m not quite ready to spend that kind of money right now.

My promoter has warned our group that unless we have a consistent ranking of #5,000 or less on any book, we should not put our prices up past 99 cents. Sadly, all my books are priced at – you got it - the bargain price of
99 cents!!

It’s hard to stop myself from marking them up when I see competition pricing their books at $2.99 and $3.99, but then I check their ranking, and in most cases, I get it. It’s the numbers of books being bought that matter, not the prices. So therefore, what she says makes sense and keeps me from following the others.

It’s about those darn algorithms. If Amazon sees your book staying at a consistently higher ranking, I understand that they automatically pick you up and put you out in enough queues in order to try and help you stay there. Good thing – right???

And every time I have played with prices, my books drop rather quickly and drop hard. I lose ground and then it takes all kinds of promotions to get the darn book back into a higher bracket again.


I guess what we all need to do is write lots of books and gain new readers with each new book released – easier if you’re writing a series – and once you have a number of books selling fairly well – then the time will come to put out the big bucks for the Google kinds of promotion.

Now that’s when the prices can be increased to make the payment of the advertisement cost effective.

Oh Happy Days!!!
 

 
Another great type of promotion is giving your books away for FREE!!!
 
 
And FREE PARTAY will be doing that very thing for you April 2 & 3
 Roll the Dice from the
Vegas Series
and...
 
 
My Cheeky Angel from the Angels with Attitudes series will be available free as my
gift to you.

Share the good news with all your friends!!