Tag Archives: KDP

Publishing Industry Nightmares.

In the ongoing discussion about whether indie publishing is tenable, or even a thing, a lot of ugly business emerges. Most of it is discovered after some careful digging through sites like J.A. Konrath‘s and others in the field who have exposed life in the publishing tower’s secrets. Every year, it seems more of Big Publishing’s practices are exposed, and more and more, they remind me of Big Oil and other “Bigs” who are desperately struggling to understand life in this digital age, and failing.

I strongly believe that we are just as immersed in a technological revolution, that has really just started, by the way, as society was during the Industrial Revolution. Fists are being banged onto desks refusing to acknowledge new ways. Furious millionaires are determined to choke every last dollar from dying industries and practices before they draw their last breath. Men who rose to power with typewriters and letters in the mail scoff at those who dare to publish without them, and do their level best to crush their progress.

Don’t believe me? Read through Konrath. or read this:

https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/09/an-insiders-view-of-publishing-business.html?fbclid=IwAR1ltemVunMfjPrdJFe4_nvoayR-bm-KzCNZcNhlHdjV2MoQ1Py5EGO7UWg&m=1

I’ve written in the past about developments in the publishing field in the midst of all this; I find it fascinating to study. I also continue to describe my own journey through and around the barrage that is modern publishing. Note that I do separate that from writing; I don’t believe the two are necessarily connected, and for most people, shouldn’t be. (Same as self-publishing and indie-publishing are not necessarily the same thing).

Erica Verillo‘s not wrong. The chaos she describes is pretty plain to see; just look at your average bookstore chain’s shelves over a year and you’ll see it too.

I firmly believe the future is micro-economic. Small, cottage producers of content that grow organically to be sniffed at by Big Industry, prompting the creators of that content to decide to sell their wares to the machine, or not. And new, pioneering companies like Engen who take their drive and dreams and carve out a chunk using the current technology and craft relationships with their local writers who would never get a chance elsewhere. That is the future, friends.

This is not a new concept. See Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Call of Cthulhu, and every other small project that eventually became a marketing powerhouse.

And how did they do that?

Quality.

It always starts with quality.

I’m not saying I’m one of those. But I am saying I’m writing to write, small and in the dark every morning, shaping my stories, grooming them for the world that technology has finally made possible.

I’ve gone from coil-ring notebook, longhand writing to typing on paper, to blogging with clickable links, to printed copies in my hand and my amazon store of published novels and short stories.

And we are just getting started. But the journey, the process of this evolution, is really fascinating and worthy of recording. I really do see it as one of the greatest advancements of the arts in generations.

There was nothing like this for H.P. Lovecraft, or Charles Dickens, or Stephen King. Imagine if there had been! I’ve discussed such in The Write Podcast.

Society is quickly growing exhausted of reboots, and throwaway conclusions of stories because the writers had more lucrative things to do, and the endless mining of old material. They are starving for fresh stories, new worlds, and original ideas. There has never been a better time to have an idea. Everything you need to present it is literally at your fingertips.

And that’s me talking; the darkest, most jaded person I know. So, you know,…possibly relevant.







Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment
Saviour. Sniper. Survivor.
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Canadian Indies Rejoice! CAD List pricing detail I missed!

In my post last week about the recent Amazon move to provide direct printing, shipping, and list prices here in Canada, I missed a crucial upside detail.

Click on the link for the official edict from the ‘Zon!

While this development levels the playing field for Canadian indie authors by cutting the time from that holy ‘Buy Now’ button click to doorstep arrival just in time for winter, it also triggers an exciting benefit pointed out by Engen Books ‘ savvy entrepreneur Matthew LeDrew:

Canadian indies can now list their titles at separate prices than their U.S. listings!

Want to run a weeks’s sale (other than Amazon’s existing sales deals) for your Canadian fans? Well, now you can!

Want to drop the first novel in a series for a Canada-based promotional run? Now you can do that too!

While you could always drop the price listing of any title, the end price was bonded to the USD listing and automatically increased for exchange. This resulted in a discouraging price difference between the .com and .ca listings, and made the classic $XX.99 pricing option much trickier in Canada. Now, all titles in both Canada and the U.S. can be the same price listing.

What’s the downside?

Naturally, Canadian authors who drop their exchange-rate balanced price listing take a hit in their royalty payment. And, as the exchange rate fluctuates, that can be substantial. However, if indies are experiencing slowed sales because of awkward CAD pricing, the flexibility allowing them to adjust their price to a more palatable, attractive listing may be the boost their sales needed.

And, the optics of balanced pricing, plus the knowledge of CAD-specific listing for readers from home may be another benefit for all creators of independent Canadian writing. You couldn’t experiment with either if you were chained to traditional publishing practices!

I’ve standardized the price listing for the paperbacks of both of my novels, To Drown in Sand and To Drown in Ash. And, to celebrate, I’ve dropped the price of Book 1 of the Trilogy to $14.99 CANADIAN! Finally looks like something my mom would decide to buy!

$26.63?? What kind of price is THAT?!?



Beaver tails, Double-Doubles, and now, Canuck indie fiction! A super development!

Stay tuned, like, or follow for continuing news and updates on any further KDP developments!



Upon a Wake of Flame (A tale of The 10th Lunen Regiment) Kindle Edition
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Great Amazon News for Canadian Indies!

The recent announcement that Amazon’s KDP has begun manufacturing in Canada has Canadian Indie authors excited!

Click on the link for details!

What does this mean?

KDP books will now be printed right here in the True North. That means faster ordering time, less printing and shipping time, and FREE DELIVERY FOR PRIME CUSTOMERS IN CANADA.

This marks a huge step forward for Canadian writers. Now, Amazon Canada will work just as fast to get customer’s copies of their ordered books to their doors as the U.S. Amazon service does.

What other benefits does this bring?

Besides levelling the playing field for Canuck Indie authors’ customers, there are two other important changes that affect Canadian Indies’ businesses:

1: Canadian Royalty reports on our KDP reports will now be generated through Amazon.ca. No more converting .ca sales royalties from inherent .com royalties first!

2: CAD (Canadian Dollar) list prices! Print copies will be automatically listed in CAD on the Canadian ‘Zon. No more discouraging price differences between USD and CAD that can cause customers to not click that precious ‘Buy Now’ button!

What’s the downside?

Author Copy shipments and Proof Copies will still be printed and shipped from the U.S; “as of today” (October 16, 2019). That phrasing could be important, because it may be a hint that those important copy printing locations may someday change. Which would greatly reduce Author Copy shipping costs. Reducing the cost of tailgate sales production would be a game changer for independent writers in Canada.

Stay tuned, follow, or join my email list for updates on these important developments!




To Drown In Ash: Book Two of the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy Kindle Edition
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Great News! KDP FINALLY reveals your historical sales!

Not sure if you noticed (the savvy among you probably have), but KDP quietly rolled out their new reports format!

I’ve wondered since I started with Kindle Direct Publishing why they could not plot out the master sales list for the titles Indies publish. Not only would it make for great nostalgia during those cold, isolated months of dead sales, and drive writers forward after seeing that, yes, there once was a day when you were knocking it out of the park (regardless of numbers; in this day and age, all readers are precious readers, in my opinion), but it’s important to be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished in total.

At least, my accountant thinks it is.

Well, wonder no more!

screencap new archived database KDP

KDP’s new Historical Report gives you every single sale monthly since you started publishing, and every single KOLL page read. This enables you to accurately track total sales, identify trends, and total your copies sold and free titles distributed since the dawn of KDP-time.

The new format also sets up by sales period, and lists all royalties earned by country in total, which immediately gives you your best selling countries. The report still offers the month-to-date tables, but now provides a payments and pre-orders tab, all  in one header.

Slick, easy to use, and all in one place.

A huge development for Indie writers everywhere!

Stop looking at my short blue poles. I was busy writing.

Go check our your new KDP report page! What do you think of it?

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My Fantasy Anthology is Underway, and it is a Heavy, Dark Thing.

UPDATE:

Three short stories in the can, three others ready for the editor, and six more in various stages. My next release, an anthology to introduce the world of my fantasy novel, is setting up nicely. Twelve stories so far, each set in this new medieval world of shadows and emerging war. Here’s the finished (but nothing’s ever really finished) prologue:

The Maw of War has opened.

After a century of peace, the world is being twisted and bent by the ruthless egos and dark ambitions of man.

Across the Eastern Sea, a horde of monstrous evil drives the brave Dwarven warriors of Wendthairne into the ocean in a desperate flight for refuge, hoping for solace from their former enemies, the long-silent Elves of Ahmrael.

The north of the Realm has frozen into a wasteland. Deep in the ice-encased mountains of North Elan, creatures stir that the world has never seen. Their hunger for ruin is absolute as they are borne from the shadows, seeking to bleed humanity. Enslaved by a new God, they exist only for his revenge and the destruction of mankind.

In the west, Archduke Lierdstiern schemes for the fall of a nation and the usurping of order. His swelling ambitions seduce him to concert with madness under the corrupting power of a new religion. His lies and merciless drive seduce him to new depths of unspeakable evil.

The kingdom of man, tethered together by the dream of peace in the Hall of Kings, is crumbling. Betrayal and deceit erode the carefully constructed foundations of a centuries’ serenity.

Darkness shrouds the evil work of deceit and murder. Horror and madness are creeping out from under the shadows of the night.

The Age of Peace is dying.

The door to ruin has opened. These are the stories of the destruction of hope. The seduction of sanity. The revenge of the forgotten. The wrath of bones.

The Wrath of Bones will be available this November.
Probably.
Meanwhile, I’m approaching the halfway point (Chapter Nine, Scene One) of To Drown in Ash, the sequel to Sand. Issep and the Boddies are in desperate times, surrounded by imminent death and unrelenting evil. The sequel has a much darker tone. The central theme emerging is loss.
Ooh.
THAT sounded foreboding.

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Achievement Unlocked: You Have an Editor!

About a year ago, I stumbled over a title minnowing through my newsfeed. It was a free promo, and the description intrigued me, so I downloaded it. The book was called Sweet Violent Femmes by Holly M. Kothe, and it was one of the best Indie products I have ever, ever seen.

I ripped through the book in one night. The theme throughout was the violent revenge of several women scorned. The tone and the writing left me stunned. I love dark fiction that makes me uncomfortable. Holly’s setup for her characters, how vulnerable they were, how driven and intent they were, were the perfect recipe to keep me locked in her pages.

I remember thinking that I wanted my work to read like that. For my books to be packaged that professionally. I considered Holly’s collection of short stories my benchmark.

Holly recently sent another minnow down my newsfeed. She had started an independent editing business. I wondered if this would be the chance for me to climb the writer’s stairs and improve my work. To get it closer to my expectations. It was time for me to take that next step.

I scrounged my lunch money and emptied my writer’s account and borrowed change from my son. (Not really, but almost). I had no idea how much Holly would charge me for her work. I knew that editors are ridiculously expensive and meant only for the marble halls in New York and Who-do-you-think-you-are-anyway-having-real-writer-expectations-of-yourself?

I looked into Holly’s site. Read the reviews by other writers. Counted how many writers she had edited. I studied their covers and Amazon pages. I narrowed my eyes a lot. These were pro writers with solid covers and there were a lot of them.

I sent off the manuscript to Holly on May 6th . I received my contract and bill for half of her (VERY reasonable) price that afternoon. I signed the bill digitally, pressed send, and left the rest to the will of the Gods.

I had the edited manuscript back in my digital hands on May 13th, and the invoice for the rest of her fee.

Eight days.

Eight.

Her work on the manuscript for my short story was exactly what I had hoped for. She was supportive, objective, clinical, and precise. I could not be happier with her work. With her edits and her suggestions for certain story flow mechanisms, Upon the Devil’s Shoulder reads like a polished, professional work.

And I’ve already finished anther short for the anthology to send to her.

See, because that’s what I’ve learned. How it works when you don’t self-edit, and leave that up to the pros.

You can just go write.

A LOT.

It’s a tough lesson to learn. I know not everyone is in the position to afford an editor. But, after spending 2 years rewriting To Drown in Sand (AFTER it’s been uploaded), when I could have used that time writing its sequel, I can no longer really afford not to. And I’m pretty confident, after seeing what this short story is becoming, that the result in quality will help me afford access to Espresso Editor a lot faster.

I did not for a moment experience the insecurity/protective instinct that I’ve had in the past. Having read Holly’s work, I knew THAT was what I wanted my work to look like. In a way, she is her own best promotion.

And I genuinely feel that I’ve stepped to another platform: from hobby writer to the real thing. Once you’ve read Upon the Devil’s Shoulder, you may agree with me.

If you’re an Indie writer, and are considering going to an editor, stop. Don’t consider it. Go do it. And one of the brightest young women you could ever hope to find will edit your work quickly and quietly at Espressoeditor.

Just don’t get her too busy. I would now be lost without her.

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What KDP Select taught me.

Kindle Select offers quite the pull. As in, towards the Death Star kind of pull. I wondered. I agonized. I rubbed my knuckles on the bones of my forehead. The seductive potential of larger markets tapped at the glass in my dreams.

Giving up other publishing venues for exclusive access to the Kindle Select pool makes sense to the hungry-for-reader writer in me. (Also, making money from someone reading 30% of my work, when the work can be a short story, REALLY made sense).

So, I ran an experiment in KDP select.

The results were poignant and huge.

Like the Titanic.

I wrote a (quite) short story, thinking that the 30% point would be quickly reached by a reader, and then no big loss if they quit after the first page (a theory of mine about free sample readers). I could still reap the benefits of the zillions of dollars in the KDP fund.

Yeh.

Not so much.

I’m not the type to whine. This was a marketing experiment, and I’m glad I dipped my toe in the Kindle Select pool. And, there were inherent process issues against me. I’m an Indie. I’m an unknown. The story may have been too short (although, I thought, for free under a Kindle Select membership, that wouldn’t matter). But in this pool, a shark took my toe, my leg, and pooped them out in the deep end.

I also wanted an opportunity to start my fantasy writing. I find that genre has a wider base than the Military Sci-Fi market has for my other work.

All this knowing that I still have not completed the ‘magic number’ acknowledged by most successful Indies by my research: Three Full Novel Titles In My Genre.

Bone was released on Dec. 20th, 2014. It contained about four pages of promotional material, with links to my other writing, and about four pages of story. It has an awesome cover by the brilliant Dylan Edwards, and, in my humble opinion, is really quite good for a short.

Bone cover final

My free short story, Juris Lunence, had been enjoying at the minimum a download every day that led to one purchase of either Upon a Wake of Flame or To Drown in Sand every ten free downloads.

On December 21st, 2014, all downloads of Juris stopped dead and have never recovered.

I thought it was a glitch, or lead-in to Christmas, or celestial working of ancient, playful, blind Gods.

But, no.

All of my work over 2 years digging through The Algorithm in KDP was undone in one night by signing up to Kindle Select. And, to challenge my sanity even further, I was now locked in for three months.

KDP Select destroyed the momentum I had built with my other titles. Free DL’s flatlined, and only now, FIVE MONTHS later, has the ‘once a day a new reader finds me’ process staggered back out of the KDP Select Sales Shredding machine. It’s wobbly and bleeding, but has started taking baby steps for me, as long as I promise not to do that again.

No problem with that commitment.

Because, after 3 months, Bone obtained ONE download.

One.

And that person did not read the required 30%.

So, lesson learned there. KDP Select is not the system for me. At least not now, and not for my work in the Fantasy Genre.

Bone is now released from the KDP Select isolation chamber. Amazon refuses to price-match it to free (like they did for Juris Lunence), so I gave it the cheapest price they allow, and left it on Amazon. It’s completely free on Kobo.

So, from all things, lessons.

KDP is great for some. Not for me.

I got the coolest new cover yet out of the deal.

And, during my promotional blitz, when Bone ran for free, it was downloaded in Japan, so we cracked another country.

We are retrofitting the cover, and I’m hard at work on several short story projects (more on that in future posts) that is a construct for an anthology to introduce my fantasy novel series.

Bend bad things into lessons, use lessons for good things.

Such is life.

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