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Messages - WasAnn

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Anyone else gearing up for Prime Day?
« on: Today at 05:18:42 AM »
Prime Day is so chocker block full of objects that book recommendations take a back seat for those shopping. Between the constantly changing deals and the ticker on your lightning deal price in the carts, who can browse?

Writers' Cafe / Re: My dashboard is bleeding sales
« on: July 14, 2018, 05:21:23 PM »
I went and looked after seeing this thread, but honestly, I wouldn't know if sales were gone. I think this means I'm not looking properly.

Do you guys keep track of sales on KDP monthly sales or the dash with the chart every day? Several times? Do you record them? I mean, I feel like I'm doing it wrong by not noticing these things.

You think that's it's on Goodreads! No kidding. I was doing a search for my latest release on Google to see what shows up (always some shady pirate) and lo and behold, there's a user on Goodreads who has opened a whole bunch of groups with just he book number, posting links to PDF downloads of the pirated books.

I reported them.

Given the conversion of calories, processes and processing, and extraction per ounce of baby, you'd have to create something that can do that without killing the mother. Growing a baby, shockingly enough, actually requires all the calories of an adult human body and is limited by billions of years of evolution to go only as fast as is possible.

So...yeah...biologically, not likely.

On the other hand, if you're talking magic, then have some baby growers with some kind of process for taking from grown humans some bits of what they need and focusing it on the mom.

That said, she's probably die anyway. Body adjustment for the mom needs to happen more slowly or you'll break her bones, rip her skin wide open, tear organs and all the rest. Imagine trying to grow that big belly and make that much room inside on short order.

Great news! She won!

I know most of us have been focused on Christine's fight, but Rachel Ann Nunes also deserves kudos and the results deserve publicity. It sets a great precedent in my non-lawyer opinion. Spread the word!

Wow...As I read that letter of apology, I realized how instructive that would be for anyone else who knows they are absolutely in the wrong during any sort of court process. For example, anyone who knows that even if they dragged it out for four years...such as T Rushton did...the end would still mean a letter of apology at the end that lays out the entire dirty thing.

So glad she won!

I guess that is a problem.  I believe these were identified by someone who does a lot of online gaming.  The designer may have a lot more covers out there with elements drawn from less well-known sources than these obviously popular ones.  I don't have any real answer to this, except to verify a designer's reputation by word-of-mouth.  And to be very wary of places like Fiverr and 99 could also ask the designer to give you the reference to the source stock models used.  Even designers who hand-paint digital art usually use models as a reference.  They need to be careful not to use popular actors and copy their faces.

[Link redacted for the time being.]

Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

I just went and looked at here. Nothing at all in her stats indicates even one tiny problem! And she ain't cheap. Her work looks absolutely amazing.

Which scared the bejeeberus out of me.

If you can't see anything at all wrong, how in the world can an author know. I mean, I know my *current* cover designer's are good because I see the digital sketches of each element and approve them individually for the custom artwork, plus approve all stocks for the other designer, but if I just went shopping for someone new, I would suspect nothing wrong at all with that one.

Edited. See my post below. - Becca

Oh my goodness! I haven't had that problem, but I also use very few designers with wide trust bases.

That said, looking at the combined images above, all I'd wonder is where they got such an awesome digital painter for their book covers. How in the world would an author know how to find those images after they've been diddled like that? Is there a list of designers who are doing this that we can avoid?

Writers' Cafe / Re: BookReport down again?!!!
« on: July 10, 2018, 01:42:04 PM »
It's free if you're earning less than $1000 a month on kdp.

Well, if that's true, then mine should have gone free a while ago. It didn't. I still got charged my renewal fee and no credits. (I took a couple of years off to write a book slooow.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: BookReport down again?!!!
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:54:00 AM »
Mine still won't update at all. I've tried it on two different computers, restarted, cleared, new page...yada yada. I can get past figures, but not today's.

Writers' Cafe / Re: BookReport down again?!!!
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:05:20 AM »
Considering that I'm launching today after a nearly two year absence (minus a limited availability thing), I'm behind the 8 ball. This is not the time for a lack of numbers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Books Butterfly mailing list
« on: July 10, 2018, 05:47:44 AM »
Here's my take. Lots of us went over what we could find out from them with a fine toothed comb and the problem is...there's not much to find. The absence of an easily found place for readers to sign up is a huge, giant red flag.

Given the way Amazon reacts to anything at all that might be seen as fishy, it would be foolish to use any service that a) guarantees results, b) has no obvious reader portal, c) has had this many reported problems, and d) has an owner that will come into threads and do their best to throw shade on any author that complains.

These are all things that by themselves should make anyone want to stay away. All four means run the other direction, quickly.

Ask yourself this question: If they have no place for readers to sign up, who is downloading those guaranteed results books? Both options for an answer are not good. One of those options will get you banned on Zon.

Writers' Cafe / Re: BookReport down again?!!!
« on: July 10, 2018, 05:42:41 AM »
I'd prefer to get stability than new features. And I'd be interested in competition. I've been using BR since the beginning...and am still considering the cost issue. My annual comes up for renewal in December and I'm not yet convinced.

To get off the free price match, just set your new price at the other retailers, then if Amazon doesn't do it automatically, send them an email through the "contact us" button on the kdp help screen and ask them to change the price.

BUT, don't do that until you really want to do that. It can happen fast and then you have to run the hoops to get it back to free if you change your mind. Like C. Gockel said, the key to a better bookbub result these days on a freebie seems to be leaving it open ended in terms of date. Loads of people scroll those book lists on their site, and yours will stay up and keep getting downloads for a long while.

As to AMS...yes. I do those and they work for me, but I don't bid super high and I work my keywords and cull as necessary. It's not a huge return, but it does get eyeballs on them and if the book is appealing, they'll grab it. Mine are all for paid books, so not sure what the expected return would be for freebies.

BB ads can really rack up the bucks (as in, bucks you pay) fast. If you do those, you either need to set aside time to laser focus on them, work A/B testing, and all sorts of bother. I hate all that, so I don't. AMS is about as much fiddling as I can handle.

Instafreebie still works, but you have to make trade-offs. Only use optional sign up. It will get you less signups, but the ones who come want to be there. Also, the book you give out should have the signup in the back, like a regular kindle book would, because if they love the book, they might change their mind and sign up anyway.

Also, I wrote a book specifically for Instafreebie. Full novel, stand-alone, no cliffies. It's a prequel to one of my series, but they don't have to read the series after that. They will if they love it, which means it should be great writing with a great cover. That might seem like a waste, but the goal is quality signups, so it's worth it. Also, they now have a bunch of group giveaways. I got loads of signups from those, even though I'm all optional. Plus more that used the link in the back of the book. And because I gave Instafreebie a full novel exclusive, and it did well compared to other books in the various giveaways, they put that book into one of their in-house promos. Loads of copies moved there, loads. Plus signups. My opinion, Instafreebie is once again worth using, if it's used wisely.

I took time off to go back to sloooow writing, deciding to take the hit in terms of visibility and churn just to keep loving writing. It was burning me out. That said, depending on your general standing before, you can get most of that back with some new releases and smart advertising. It just takes time.

Just wanted to show off my new cover. Normally, I'm sort of anonymous, but Tom did the most splendid cover for me, and I have to show it off! I'm absolutely in love with it and he was (once again) a dream to work with.

This wasn't a pre-made, but it sure does depict his amazing breadth when it comes to cover creation.

Super highly recommended!

And smaller:

Eerie and beautiful!

Patty - I'm really looking to update my website and I would love to know who, if anyone besides you, cooked all that up. I would *love* that sort of update system.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What Would You Say to B&N?
« on: July 06, 2018, 04:06:46 AM »
You're both right, as far as I'm concerned.

B&N is definitely TP centric, and they didn't make any bones about shoving Indies to the back on the webstore, even making it near impossible to come across an indie when looking for a new read. It's also true that B&N (and indies are still hard to find there on .com) got used as the price-match dumping ground once it became obvious that we couldn't do on their site what we did on Zon.

BUT, it's also true that times have changed for both parties.

B&N might be looking at their bottom line and wishing they could reap in some indie money and...more importantly...welcome in the customers that click links in indie newsletters. And we might be looking at B&N and wondering what they have for us to make it worth the jump.

So, seriously, give Fred Argir (Digital VP) over at Barnes and Noble your best ideas here.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What Would You Say to B&N?
« on: July 05, 2018, 12:25:06 PM »
1. The biggest thing they could do would be a functional affiliate system. Amazon became Amazon on the backs of tens of thousands of affiliates doing the heavy lifting for them because the affiliate program is so darn easy. I tried to do the BN affiliate thing years ago. By the gods, it was a cumbersome hot mess. I just gave up because I couldn't be bothered learning quantum physics to get it to work (okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration...)

2. Do search better than Amazon. The first company to have a functional search where people can actually find what they want wins. The biggest addition would be the ability to EXCLUDE some items from search. For example:

search term: vampires
Exclude: romance

search term: LGBTQ
Exclude: erotica

search term: horror
Exclude: ghosts

This would eliminate or reduce the negative impact of keyword stuffing and miscategorization and help people better find what they want.

3. I support the idea of returning BN to a bookstore. The last time I walked into a Barnes and Noble, it was less than 50% books. Replace all of those toys, games, and non-book nonsense with big comfy chairs and a cafe and encourage people to spend time in the store. In all seriousness, the mark-up on food is ridiculous and you could even counter the "showrooming" effect with "Buy a book, get a free coffee!"

Exactly my thoughts! Given that they don't sell everything from hammers to inflatable mattresses, they could optimize search in ways that Amazon can't. Totally focused on readers without giving all the love to tradpubs.

Phoenix...can you PM the name. Also, this might be important for S3G to know.

Writers' Cafe / What Would You Say to B&N?
« on: July 04, 2018, 10:48:28 AM »
...except sarcastic things.

Seriously, in a roundabout way this keeps coming up. The missed opportunities, taking the wrong fork in the digital road, and focusing on the wrong things have all come up repeatedly. So, I'm curious. If you had a chance to sit down with Fred Argir at B&N, what would you suggest to him?

Anyone game?

I'll go first:

- Get authors to drive the customers to you preferentially. Do it the same way Amazon did (and their DM-share went up, up, up). Smile upon a few indies, give some exclusives, work on promos, let them start sending their newsletter lists to you.

- Keep working the app. It's good, but constantly needs to be better. Advertise it. Put Audible style commercials up showing smiling people reading on their phones..etc.

- Stop featuring only what we've already see on the NYT and WP book pages. Customers have already seen it. Show them dynamic and new things.

- Work on the recommendation engine.

- Make an agnostic hot sellers list that updates hourly.

- Marry up features to go with Bookbubs (and indies doing huge sales).

- Actively work a promo division of their SP section. Make it daily, like daily deals.

- Work their newsletters to be less TP and more agnostic.

What about you? What do you think would work to bring them back into the DM as a strong competitor?

Writers' Cafe / Re: To all the other US authors
« on: July 04, 2018, 06:09:30 AM »
Happy Fourth of July to you and your families. I hope it's a fun, safe day. And a special thank you to all my fellow veterans.

As a 28+ year Navy Officer, I thank you both for your words and your service! Happy 4th to you too.

Writers' Cafe / Re: B&N CEO fired for "policy violations"
« on: July 03, 2018, 03:43:49 PM »
That's exactly right. He was fired immediately, no severance, and kicked off the board. That's about as harsh as it gets. Then the company says he wasn't fired because of "financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto." In other words, he didn't do any of the thinks that get you summarily canned. Something doesn't add up.

Right, that strikes me as odd too. I can only imagine that it relates to something hot-button, which would bring so much bad publicity that they had to take this action in hopes of avoiding such publicity. What comes to mind with that is the obvious one consuming the media over hte past year, which I won't mention because it's speculation.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb comments?
« on: July 03, 2018, 03:41:28 PM »
I'm absolutely awful with blurbs, so I can't help too much, but the first part strikes me oddly. The quotes are good, but the next part takes me away from the story. Perhaps make it more personal to the child?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are multiple author box sets still a thing?
« on: July 03, 2018, 03:34:51 PM »
I did one last year with all new novels by all authors in it. We made both the USAT and WSJ at a shockingly high point. Not the NYT because there was no paperback version to go with it. Made back our money.

The key for ours was there was a kerfuffle at the beginning with the majority of us absolutely demanding all high road behavior. So, we were squeeeeaky clean. That's the only way to do it now and feel at all safe.

Funny enough, when the box discontinued, I didn't publish the book again, wanting to wait until I had the second in the series done. I didn't think twice about it. Turns out I get more mail on that one than almost any others. Go figure.

Boxes are still out there. You just have to stay on top of all the behavior and stop those that might give into the temptation to do something close to the line.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Novellas versus novels
« on: July 03, 2018, 01:10:31 PM »
As a fellow SF writer who has put out novellas, I can give you some info. I'm not an Amanda. I cannot churn out that rate of material. I was a fast writer (but not that fast!), but I quit that because I stopped loving the work. I sacrificed keeping up the sales cycles for the love of it.

I'm a slow writer, one who does it with many deep revisions, months of chewing over side plots and all those gray-matter gymnastics many eschew as a waste of time now. But, I'm also not shooting for a bagillion dollars either. So...

My view on novellas is that whether or not they're successful depends on your definition of success.

Julie is right. Many of the novellas you find out there are churned, very light, popcorn reads, which is not what really what most novella readers are after. A true novella is a crafted thing that's got a power punch to the solar plexus in it, without wasting words or getting into too many side plots. If that's what you write, then you should do it because that's your art. Pshaw to the torpedos and full speed ahead.

That said...

Published individually, with a length from 15-25K, my novellas didn't do great compared with novels. I actually unpublished them and collected them into a single volume since they were in a sequence anyway. Once I did that, they did much better, though still not anywhere near my novels and I'm definitely low end midlist (down from firm midlist when I slowed down production). The demographic is different, for sure. Readers who like my work will often pick them up because they want to read everything I wrote, but new readers are a harder thing.

I looked at your ranks, and honestly, you might actually do pretty well comparatively speaking. I see you're doing well in the UK Amazon store, but the US one not so much. (Gosh, I hope that doesn't sound bad!) I know tradpub can't discount and promote, so it's more difficult to boost a catalog. If you book an AMS ad, focused on other similar novella authors, you'll probably get some sales that will help point your book toward the novella crowd, particularly here in the US. You just have to be patient when you publish.

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