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Topics - ShaneCarrow

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Writers' Cafe / Box set
« on: July 02, 2018, 06:54:09 PM »
I wrapped up my 6-book series at the start of June and am now preparing to put out a box set. Two questions:

1. What's the ideal time? I know to play off your Amazon algos you usually want to put out a new book 4-6 weeks later, but since a box set is effectively eating into your own market maybe so soon after finishing a series isn't a good idea?

2. I've pasted the books all together into a single file (I assume that's the done thing?) and they come in at almost 1,200 A4 pages in Word... does Amazon have any upper limits on stuff like that? I assume not, since people book-stuff all the time.

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Writers' Cafe / Kindle Print question
« on: May 30, 2018, 05:20:33 AM »
This may be a dumb question, but is the page count of your final PDF manuscript the same as the total book page count? My cover designer needs the numbers before she does a cover, but you can't launch the final previewer before you upload the cover - catch 22!

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Writers' Cafe / Remind me how royalties by regions work?
« on: May 29, 2018, 04:37:36 PM »
I had an unexpectedly high payday in yesterday's royalty payouts - several hundred bucks higher than Book Report says I made in March. There are three of them in my bank account, one which says "Digital Services" (and is the largest, so I assume it's the US) one which says "Media EU" and one which says "Amazon Aus." I... vaguely remember something about only getting a payout per region once you pass a certain threshhold? How does that work? I don't think I've ever got royalties from anywhere or anything but my US sales.

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Writers' Cafe / Are any promotional newsletters still any good?
« on: May 22, 2018, 06:16:23 PM »
Apart from Bookbub, obviously. I see a lot of griping about them these days, and I've noticed diminishing returns myself, although it's impossible to tell if that's on them or if it's inevitable in me running the same book (#1 in a series, discounted to free) over and over again. I sort of had decent returns with Robin Reads and Ebookhounds a few months ago, but nowhere near what I used to see.

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I hate writing blurbs. I especially hate writing blurbs six books deep. Tell me what you reckon about this draft:

The end times are here: the final days of the war against the undead and their genocidal creators. As the year draws to a close, the ragged remnants of a hundred nations' militaries are mobilising and gathering for the final strike against the enemy.

Aaron and Matt King, once pivotal figures in the resistance, watch and wait. They think their part has been played. But they're not the only ones watching, waiting - and plotting. Humanity is not as united as it appears. And far to the south, an evil presence lurks at the heart of the wellspring of the undead...

From windswept mountains to baking deserts, from far-flung islands to deserted cityscapes, BROTHER'S KEEPER is the final adventure of the King twins: the thrilling conclusion to the End Times zombie apocalypse saga.


Two notes being:
- Halfway through the series it transpires that the zombie apocalypse was caused by aliens, but I don't like to give that away in blurbs for later books in the series, hence word choice of "genocidal creators" and "the enemy"
- Book five ends on a cliffhanger with Matt possibly dying. I don't like to give away his survival in this next blurb, but don't really see that I have a choice, since if I just say Aaron readers will assume he did die.

Also how much does blurb massively matter this deep into a series? I stress out about it, but also have to figure that if readers have come along this far, they're pretty much strapped in.

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Writers' Cafe / Steer clear of Book Skill, formerly Ebook Skill
« on: May 17, 2018, 02:36:26 AM »
You know how it is when you put a new book and do a free promotion and pay for maybe half a dozen or a dozen newsletter ads, and they all have really similar names like BOOK CAFE and BOOK BURST and EBOOK LOVERS?

I had a payment to EBOOK SKILL in my bank account last month, $28 USD. "That's odd," I thought, "I haven't done any promos since February. Maybe they're tardy with their billing... should check into it though."

So, I forgot to check into it, and then this month again: $28 USD to something now called BOOKSKILL. "Hang on a minute, why would I be having a recurring payment?" I thought. "And hang on - I always pay for these services in Paypal. And hang on - looking at my own records I've never used EBOOK SKILL, and looking at the internet it seems to be defunct, and there's no such thing as BOOKSKILL..."

So anyway I scrolled back and found that someone's been ripping me off $28 USD a month since June 2017, to a total of $400 AUD by now. I've cancelled my card but my bank says transactions can only be challenged within 90 days so I'll only get the last 100-odd bucks back, and that's if I'm lucky. Keep an eye on your transactions, people!

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Writers' Cafe / Review quotes in product description
« on: May 12, 2018, 10:56:30 PM »
This has probably been asked before but forgive me, the search function is borked. I'm checking the Amazon rules and it claims that:

The inclusion of any of the following information in detail page titles, descriptions, bullet points, or images is prohibited:
....
 -   Reviews, quotes or testimonials.


But this surely can't be right? Anybody who's been on Amazon for more than 5 minutes will see books that literally begin their product description with review quotes.

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Writers' Cafe / Increasing first book price from 99c to $2.99
« on: March 21, 2018, 03:32:34 AM »
The first book in my series is priced at 99c as a hook, while the rest are $2.99. I think it has enough momentum now to raise that one to $2.99 as well, but I'm also going to start doing rolling Bookbub applications from the end of March, and I vaguely remember reading that they don't like it if you think you're raising your price just to (from their POV) slash it for a promo... is that the case? Can't find it written anywhere.

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Writers' Cafe / Latest book not in series?
« on: February 27, 2018, 03:09:12 AM »
I released my latest book (in my signature) on the weekend and it hasn't been properly listed as part of the End Times series. I've checked with "edit ebook content" again, and I definitely have the boxes filled out right. Is there a delay while Amazon shuffles things into place? I don't recall that happening with the previous books in my series...

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Writers' Cafe / Blurb feedback - zombie apocalypse series, book 5
« on: February 22, 2018, 03:41:30 AM »
What's the only thing harder than writing a blurb? Writing a blurb five books deep in a series.

On the one hand it doesn't matter nearly as much as the blurb for book 1, because you mostly have a dedicated audience at this point. On the other hand it's easier to write a blurb for a story which is just starting, rather than one which is nearly done. I've found it harder and harder to write blurbs the deeper I get into the series.

Anyway here's what I have for End Times V: Kingdom of Hell, a post-apocalyptic zombie series. It obviously doesn't bog itself down with some massive recap of the series so far, but I hope it makes relative sense and might entice passers-by to click back through to book 1. I keep rewriting the middle paragraph, it feels clunky to me.

-----------

Matthew King is on the run. One of the last survivors of the catastrophic expedition to Brisbane, he's carrying a nuclear launch codebook vital to the survival of the human race - desperately trying to keep it from the hands of the rogue military forces commanded by the ruthless General Draeger.

Behind enemy lines, in the so-called Republic of New England, Matt discovers a very different place to the zombie-ravaged country he's come to know. In fortress towns patrolled by conscripted soldiers, people are not just surviving, but thriving - but have traded freedom for safety, ruled by a brutal military dictatorship.

Lost and alone, cut off from his allies and hunted like an animal, Matt is about to face his greatest challenge of all: confronting the darkness at the heart of General Draeger's kingdom of hell.

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Writers' Cafe / Is Black Friday relevant to ebooks?
« on: November 22, 2017, 12:43:09 AM »
I'm Australian so I forgot all about it - only remembered because the news is swirling up rumours that Amazon is going to launch in Australia later this week.

I'm releasing the 4th in my series this weekend and am making book #1 free from Sunday to Monday, with heaps of promo stuff already locked in an paid for. It's not like I can change things now, but just curious, does Black Friday affect things at all around this time? Do you deliberately organise promos for it, or steer clear of it because people's attention is elsewhere?

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