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Topics - TobiasRoote

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Writers' Cafe / Google Books or Google Play?
« on: October 24, 2017, 09:56:21 AM »
I'm a new author on Google, but I'm not sure if I'm setup correctly.

I said yes to being on Googleplay, but does that mean I'm not on Google Books?

Writers' Cafe / Audio book narration and the marketplace
« on: October 22, 2017, 05:54:45 AM »
I'm in the process of having one of my books narrated. I have chosen British speaking rather than American because my writing is British English and will sound better narrated by a countryman. I also think it might be more interesting to the listeners, but I don't really know anything about that.

I have a further six books that I'm planning to have narrated by the same person. Is this ideal, or should I change regularly and give the listeners more variety - which would they prefer? (He's good, by the way).

Also, one of my books is a female protagonist, but all of the female narrators sound a bit 'awf' with the hardness of the characters. As a result I'm considering using the same British [male] narrator. Any thoughts on that?

All these are being done without royalty sharing, no long term contracts and with all rights to the audio books remaining with me. Any ideas how best to market these as a short/medium term strategy?

All coherent views welcome.

Writers' Cafe / Is it worth going to B&N direct?
« on: September 14, 2017, 03:09:27 AM »
I'm not in the USA so, I use D2D currently to shift my books through the major outlets.

I'm considering purchasing a Mac to give me access to Apple, and I have an account at B&N, but it doesn't look user friendly. I get reasonable representation at these outlets, but like all authors I want to be able to access marketing and deals and through D2D this isn't possible.

Is it worth going direct, or are they just as good via an aggregator?

Writers' Cafe / Metadata, do you?
« on: September 11, 2017, 01:54:19 AM »
You have the option of including metadata in your source document. do you? if you do what do you tend to put in?

Also, does Amazon leave it alone, or strip it out on upload?

Writers' Cafe / Googleplay - how do you get your books seen?
« on: September 08, 2017, 08:39:34 AM »
OK, this is weird. I was selling steadily at a trickle rate on Googleplay up to and including the 20th August via Streetlib. Since then and until Streetlib began poking around before and during this week there have been zero downloads or sales of any book English, or Spanish. I did a Bookbub on the 18th August and sales went sky high everywhere [even Googleplay]. They continue to sell well and increasingly in places I never hit any sales before. (I put it down to the Bookbub 'seal of approval'), but on GP they stopped 'dead' on the 20th August.

Streetlib have confirmed that everything stopped dead and they have ascertained that its' not their systems at fault. I can confirm it probably can't be them because I could search for my books by name, but could never find my books in the genre searches. This leads me to think that there is something else going on, but for the life of me I don't know what it is.

So, my point is: How do you get your books into the genre lists? Do Google only show a set number of books? Where can I search (besides name search) that will show me where my books are being displayed to the reader?

I'm prepared to accept I'm not popular so fall way down the list, but sales WERE running at a trickle, so someone, somewhere was seeing them, but now [post BookBub] - nobody is and I'm stumped as to why. Streetlib are asking Google for answers because they don't know either.

Has anyone here had this happen, or can you see my books (without searching for them by name) is there some magic formula that gets you onto the genre lists?

Writers' Cafe / Slow Movers - what to do?
« on: August 23, 2017, 10:54:12 AM »
I've got two slow-moving books which is a shame because they garner great reviews. So, I've taken a chance and put them both together in the hope of making them a more attractive proposition. With over 755 pages, 205,000 words and a price point of $9.99 i'm certain I cannot do more to promote these stories. It's not really a boxed set and both novels are first in series (but standalone stories). I've deliberately targeted Kobo because I understand they like this kind of thing and since my Bookbub earlier this month they are fairly sucking up my book sales.  Apple is next, along with all the wide outlets. I've yet to put it onto Amazon, but that will follow. What do you think, good idea, or bad move?

Writers' Cafe / Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 13, 2017, 02:18:13 AM »
I read a lot of threads on here about formatting and I really don't understand why people need formatters for ebooks. Print books, yes, but ebooks?

So, I assume that somewhere along the line I'm illiterate and missing something important. So can someone help me out here and tell me what are the general prerequisites for a well formatted page in ebooks?

Writers' Cafe / Streetlib - are you getting any....?
« on: August 13, 2017, 12:17:36 AM »

I've been in Streetlib a couple of months now and gained a total of $32 worth of sales for 318 downloads of my Spanish versions. Barring 4 incidents ( and perubookstore) these have been exclusively Googleplay.  I have one book on permafree, the rest on differing prices from 99p to UKL4.99'ish. My English versions are there also, but getting little reaction at all for them (17 downloads).

Anyone else in Streetlib getting anywhere with theirs?

Is Agency or Wholesale the best format? I've switched off DRM because I think it will have a detrimental effect.

Writers' Cafe / FINDAWAY - I've just chosen a narrator.
« on: August 10, 2017, 11:25:34 PM »
The last time I had an audio book made up it was via a chance email from a small company that was offering to do it for nothing in exchange for 50% royalties. There was no proper contract and today I still earn a bit of money from it every year. The narration was good (funny) and I'm not unhappy with the setup, except I have zero control over the marketing and it's exclusively on ACX. Recently, the price has returned to something akin to a market-rate due, I think, to the entrance of a competitor in FINDAWAY. So, there are high hopes of a better level of royalty in future years, but I won't hold my breath.

So, when D2D came up with their partnership with FINDAWAY, I decided why not, and proposed two books immediately for tender. The first one, Mutant Hunter, needed to be a British non-regional accent and an easy flowing manner. FINDAWAY found me a dozen different narrators within the first week. They were priced from $115 - $350 per finished hour (approx 900 words) and gave good samples of their range of abilities. Perversely, the more expensive they were, the plummier they sounded (which isn't what I wanted at all) and I ended up choosing the cheapest one because the voice was more naturally aligned to my requirements.

So, here I am three weeks later, ACCEPT button pressed and now waiting to proceed with the chosen narrator who I estimate is going to cost me $1,200 to do my book and if it works out, I'm considering doing several other books back to back with him. These will include the parts 2,3 and 4 of the series that I already have part 1 out there for and might include a rehash of that edition as well, if I do the rewrite I planned.

I don't know what market price I'm going to set and I also don't really know what level of royalty to expect once I get the audio book out there in the world. What I DO know is I am so pleased to take a route to market that isn't expensive, leaves me in total control over copyright and production AND isn't exclusive to ACX/Amazon. I can sell my audio books wherever I like, give them away if I want.

That is the way it should be done.

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Affiliates - I just discovered that....
« on: July 21, 2017, 05:32:34 AM »
I just discovered can join all the other countries as an affiliate and then link them together. (Having trouble with Canada, though. They won't dial my Greek number to validate the account).

So, my strategy is simple. I use D2D who also run Books2Read. Therein I can set up a universal code or a regional one. So far I have Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, USA, Mexico and I'm working on Brazil, Japan, Canada, Holland, China and India. It's all very simple thanks to Google Chrome translate.

The idea of using is to gather my clicks and sales through their link page whilst at the same time adding all my other links to places like googleplay, Apple, B&N etc.,

When I've done all that I need to make it work efficiently and hopefully profitably - any ideas anyone?

Can I test the theory that people have trouble with the link? Can you get to the page with this one?


Let's Talk Kindle! / Trying to read a paperback book
« on: July 16, 2017, 09:10:22 AM »
I'm trying to read a paperback by Dan Brown. You know the type - big thick bestseller, small print and on cream rough paper.

How do you make the font bigger, and where's the back light button?

I had no idea my eyes had deteriorated to such an appalling level. I guess my pension this year is coming at just the right time :/

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Print - Don't go there!
« on: June 04, 2017, 07:40:33 AM »
I transferred my books from Createspace - all good so far. They went LIVE, no problem. Still good. A couple of days later I had a problem with the description on one. I made the changes to the description only, set it to publish. REFUSED.

Reason: The file contains template text, PDF creation guides, or software references that should be removed. Learn more about how to fix this.
We thank you for taking the time to fix these errors, and we look forward to publishing your work.

I changed things, sometimes I changed the cover, others the content. It wouldn't accept PDF so I uploaded  a .doc. Eventually after a further 20-30 attempts it went LIVE again.

For reasons beyond this post a week later I set all my books back to draft (they were LIVE in Print) and a few days later put them LIVE again. Three books failed and went back to DRAFT. One with the authors name was miss-spelt (it isn't), another with cover issues and yet another with content issues.

I'm still unpublished on my printed books and the customer service at Amazon just says, we are having problems, but the system isn't going to be changed, so tough. What I'm looking for (and got one one occasion at the beginning) is some human help, but believe me the automated responses are more empathic.

I think the problem is firstly, that at Createspace they had a higher tolerance margin with the guidelines on the templates. On conversion, the Amazon automated system was biased towards accepting everything without question and sent it directly to LIVE. However, if you went to change anything it dropped into pedantic mode and if errors occurred, it threw the book out.

Secondly, Amazon appear to be fine-tuning the system and you might pass the first time, but get caught the second time as they tweak something in the backend. They are no help at all and my advice is to redo the cover, or reformat the content 'a little' until you have something that is acceptable to them. I spent several weeks on this and STILL have issues which require me to go back to square one. So, if you're looking to convert to their printed book service - be prepared for the long haul and stock up on nerve tablets.

Writers' Cafe / One Book, Multiple Prints
« on: May 26, 2017, 04:43:43 AM »
I've just transferred all of my books from Createspace to Amazon and only one book is hiccuping through the system (unknown reason). Already I have had a sale where there had been no printed book sales for this year on CS. So, a result, albeit small is still a result. I'm therefore, pleased.

Now, the question is. I want to increase my printed book sales across the globe to reach a bigger audience. Can I benefit from using Smashwords, Streetlib, Lulu etc., and have a different ISBN through each and hit their individual market places as well as Amazon? does it pay? Are there problems in doing this? Has anyone done it? What are the advantages/disadvantages if any?

Writers' Cafe / Spanish translation of Science Fiction
« on: April 12, 2017, 01:40:42 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm in the middle of getting my first book 'The Pattern Ship' translated into Latin Spanish. I know there are differences between European Spanish and Latin, but I'm not overly concerned about that. What I am more concerned about is marketing it to the Spanish readers once it's complete. I know a lot of people consider translation, but the hurdles can be enormous so I thought I'd give you the heads up on what I'm about to do.
Firstly, I'm going to have all my books translated by the same person - and as quickly as possible. No point in going off half-cocked. I would then release them one every month, or two into the marketplace. I'm wide so would put them into Kobo - where else?
Is this the best way to promote it?
1) Redesign the covers with Spanish text
2) Create my KDP author page on and have my blurb translated into Spanish.
3) Create a Spanish Author page on Facebook and link it to the Spanish versions.
4) Run Spanish ads on Facebook to link to FB and the books
5) Create a Spanish page on my website and a mailing list for sign-up's in Spanish
What am I missing?
I checked the KB archive and nobody has given a rundown of their progress with translated versions, If people are interested I can keep this thread open and post updates and progress reports.

Writers' Cafe / Check if you're on 70% or 35% royalties
« on: September 04, 2016, 12:45:50 AM »
I just happened to see that one of my books had sold a single copy and earned 67 pence. Normally, I would assume that it was to one of those 35% countries that Amazon sells your books to, but something made me check it out. I'm glad I did because it was set to 35% royalties instead of 70%. I haven't the time to go back and figure out how or why. It's always been 70% as long as I remember and I haven't changed the price on that book - ever, to my recollection.

Just make sure that some glitch in Amazon isn't mucking up your pricing structures. I'm putting it on my list of regular checks from now on. I wouldn't put it past me doing something daft in the past, but nonetheless, worth keeping an eye on it.

Writers' Cafe / Alternative to signed books
« on: September 03, 2016, 04:53:03 AM »
I'm travelling so it's almost an impossibility to carry books around, order new copies and ship them to people. The costs is prohibitive and takes weeks and weeks.

I really would like to offer readers something though, and I thought a nice postcard with the cover of their choice on the front, and on the back a message along with a photo of me and email address etc., I have a couple of companies who can print the cards and postcards are REALLY CHEAP to post.

Anyone done this? How successful was it?

Writers' Cafe / How do you get traction on XinXii?
« on: September 02, 2016, 04:04:54 AM »
I've been with them a while now, mainly because they got me onto the Google platform, but other than a few initial sales it''s been 'crickets'.

I have included Google books in my marketing, have tried promoting them, but still - nothing!

Writers' Cafe / Free Part 1 as intro to full book?
« on: August 30, 2016, 12:35:53 AM »
I have a book out that is in 3 parts. They have all sold well in the short story (under 90 minute reads) category. I also have it out as a full book and this is now doing well too.

I'm considering withdrawing Parts 2 & 3 of the book and then rejigging the backmatter of Part 1 to introduce the full book. Then I would offer Part 1 permafree in the hope of sell-through to the full book at the price the reader would have paid for part 2 & 3 combined ($1.99). Obviously the reader would then have to skip to part 2 in the full book. (I would have to give them a chapter number because the full book is not broken into parts). This free part 1 would then go wide (it's currently in KU)

Has anyone done this, does it work? Pitfalls? Negs?

Writers' Cafe / Are your books available at UK's W H Smith online?
« on: August 17, 2016, 01:42:56 AM »
I just discovered my first two books are available through W H Smith's online stores.

I don't know if this is through extended distribution or D2D (probably).  Edit: (Actually, it's through Kobo)

Are you listed? Are you getting sales?

Writers' Cafe / Profit in printed books - is there?
« on: August 11, 2016, 04:20:25 AM »
I have a variety of prices for my printed books, but it doesn't seem to matter how I price them they never sell anything near as many as my eBooks. I'm wondering if the printed book is a profitable exercise and what price you think SF books should be sold for to maximise sales and profit. I know Amazon reduces prices on some books, yet others it doesn't touch. Has anyone had any luck finding a sweet spot?

Writers' Cafe / Going wide was a mistake, but now what?
« on: August 07, 2016, 01:57:51 AM »
I went wide at the beginning of the year and initially, I thought Great! Kobo hit 43 sales in first month. Then I did a load of paid promotion with them and what, 1 sale in the last three months? D2D handles all my other sites except I went with XinXii for Google. I accidentally put Apple through them on one book , that did better than the rest but only 13 books in six months. The rest was 3 books - so, 16 books in 6 months. D2D should be pushing through more than it is, it handles the freebies through B&N and Apple (the rest is almost not worth ticking the box), but when it comes to sell through, then it's very slow. This month I matched the whole of last months sales in a week, but that was heavypromoting through various means. The end result is that whilst I was doing badly with KU page reads in the latter part of 2015, the conversion to going wide has fallen well short of making any impact in 2016. I know I haven't been doing enough promoting as my other post refers. However, going wide just isn't cutting the ice.

So, suggestions please on whether to go back into KU and promote from within, or what can be done to get sales up through D2D (B&N,Apple)

Writers' Cafe / When you don't market yourself or your books.
« on: August 01, 2016, 11:25:31 PM »
Well, I left here a year ago and spent the time writing a few more books and travelling Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Greece. In that time my income went down from a living wage to more recently a paltry few quid a day. Despite the addition of new books the lack of marketing meant the spike was short-lived and the decline continued.

Now, I'm settled back where I started writing - Corfu and intend to turn things around with some new books coming out this Autumn and Winter with a marketing campaign (starting this month) to pull the revenue up to a manageable level again.

Can it be done? I ask - I'll let you know.

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