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Messages - ShaneCarrow

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Black Friday relevant to ebooks?
« on: November 30, 2017, 01:39:30 AM »
Just an update on this - it wasn't exactly terrible, but this book launch/first book discount promo didn't do nearly as well as I'd hoped given how much money I put into it, and comparing it against past experiences. I don't think it was Black Friday so much as it was Thanksgiving weekend, when people are with family or travelling or just otherwise not checking their emails and looking for deals. Would not recommend.

Writers' Cafe / Re: When is Horror not Horror?
« on: November 22, 2017, 04:32:01 AM »
Your book sounds like horror to me. I know we're supposed to be marketers and publishers as well as writers now, but I don't know, as a reader I wouldn't flip out if I read something classed as "horror" and it didn't 100% live up to precisely what I expected from a really narrow definition of the genre.

Having said that I do wish Amazon let us categorise books as multiple genres. I wrote post-apocalyptic zombie fiction which I often feel is more action/adventure than what most people probably think of as horror. I remember reading a Stephen King interview once where he said he never thought of himself as a horror writer, it was just that that was what his first few books were along the lines of and people kept calling him that even as he shortly afterwards wrote a bunch of sci-fi stuff.

Absolutely. I used to rage at stories like "The Amitiville Horror" where the MCs could just walk out of the house. I'd be yelling, "Just get out of the damned house you idiots!" I'm always trying to create that "you can't escape" situation.

The Conjuring is not a great movie but I did really appreciate one scene where the hired ghost investigators ask the couple why they don't just leave the house, and they explain that they've sunk their life savings into the mortgage and they have five kids and they'll be financially screwed if they walk away.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Black Friday relevant to ebooks?
« on: November 22, 2017, 04:16:51 AM »
Well it depends what your goals are. There will also be a lot more eyeballs and some hungry shoppers.

What do you have planned and what are you aiming for?

Well, when I last did this same thing in June (released book 3, made book 1 free for a bit) I spent about $200 on promos and had a big, big spike in downloads and Select page reads. Book 1 is permanently 99c to make it desirable as possible and I more or less see it as a hook for the rest of the series.

I'm just hoping to mirror that again - this is the biggest gap I've left between books in the series (only started self pubbing in January) and there's been a noticeable drop because of that, once you start to slip down the algorithms. I made more than a grand in July (chump change for some people here but really exciting for me) and now I'm on, like, $80 for all of November so far.

All I have lined up is a bunch of paid newsletter promos for the free book, about $130 worth so far. That's generally the only marketing I ever do apart from AMS and Twitter, neither of which I've found to have any measurable effect on sales.

edit - when I say I do promos, I mean for the free book #1. Apart from announcing it on my mailing list and twitter account I always do zero promotion for a new book, since it's not a series people can read out of order.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Black Friday relevant to ebooks?
« on: November 22, 2017, 02:37:21 AM »
I think, in general, it's a bit like the Holidays that you either go big or go home. Mediocre promos might get steamrollered.

Haha, well... [crap].

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?

Writers' Cafe / Re: the mindset of a soldier
« on: October 18, 2017, 07:22:50 AM »
This is probably historically straying from what you're looking for (it's World War I) but for a war memoir by a guy who did what was asked of him and never complained, I highly recommend the classic Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Americans help foreign writers!
« on: September 27, 2017, 08:29:07 PM »
Interesting thread. My books are full of Aussie-isms, not in an over-the-top way, but it was only when I started writing (aware that my audience is 95% American) that I realised how many words I take for granted are purely Australian: ute, bonnet, doona, fossicking, occy strap, suss, stickybeak... So I ended up putting a glossary in which now runs to three pages!

And I've actually had a few reviews mention that they liked the exotic flavour of it. (Though I do write in a genre which is overwhelmingly American.) I think you can usually judge words from context anyway. I mean, the rest of us are expected to learn Americanisms...

Writers' Cafe / Re: Profanity. Profanity. Freaking profanity.
« on: September 27, 2017, 08:18:14 PM »
Now this is what baffles me so much about this debate.

I'm like, it's OK to show on-screen how someone gets shot to bits. It's OK to show a rape, but people get their knickers in a knot if someone utters a naughty word?

I don't get it. I don't get. I don't get it.

I think this is partly an American thing, but also partly a commercially driven case of self-censorship on the part of broadcasters/publishers/whatever, who are concerned about alienating certain audiences and decide not to take the risk however small it may be. Which I guess is also what this thread is about.

I suppose the question then is why profanity gets self-censored and violence doesn't. Maybe because violence, for certain genres, is simply unavoidable? Whereas editing out profanity you can get away with.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Profanity. Profanity. Freaking profanity.
« on: September 27, 2017, 06:31:57 PM »
It is in Australia, too. Not many people use it.

I wouldn't use it in, say, a workplace, or with strangers, but it's definitely more acceptable in a relaxed social setting than in other countries.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Profanity. Profanity. Freaking profanity.
« on: September 27, 2017, 05:52:12 PM »
My characters swear their heads off... but they're Australian.

Having said that I do entirely avoid the C-bomb because I think it's misogynistic, even though it's totally unrealistic that my blue-collar, Outback dwelling characters would never use it. (I remember once hearing my mechanic watching a co-worker load a motorbike into a trailer, and saying "You need some help with that, c***?" with honestly, legitimately nothing but concern in his voice - it means the same to him as "bloke" or "mate." Which I found hilarious.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Where can I sell my ebooks for bitcoin?
« on: September 11, 2017, 12:04:17 AM »
Haha damn it mate I just read through this entire thread without realising it was three years old!

And when you're a bitcoin bear like me I do have to admit I wish I'd bought a few bitcoin three years ago...

Writers' Cafe / Re: How much do you pay for book covers?
« on: September 10, 2017, 02:24:28 AM »
$60 for a premade up to $300 for custom.

this was $85 at:

I used Alchemy's $85 quick covers as well, because this is my first year publishing and I wanted to keep my costs down in case it didn't work out. Pretty happy with them, and sticking with them for the rest of my series for consistency's sake, but in future I'd be happy to shell out more. I think my first book recouped the cover cost in a matter of weeks.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How important is the author photo?
« on: August 31, 2017, 07:40:02 AM »
Yeah, related question: what are those of us who use pen names supposed to do? I feel like putting up my actual photo would defeat the purpose of a pen name.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Westerns
« on: August 31, 2017, 07:29:36 AM »
I also dig Larry McMurty's Lonesome Dove and many of his other big fat yarns.

I am amazed it took for the second page for someone to mention Lonesome Dove. I know the miniseries is beloved across the American Midwest but it staggers me how few people have read or even heard of the original novel - it won the Pulitzer Prize, people!

And because it won the Pulitzer I assumed it would be really heavy and difficult, I went in expecting Blood Meridian - but it's not like that at all. The prose is like airport fiction. It's the kind of thing you could give your Dad for Father's Day, the kind of thing literally anyone could read. But it's deceptively simple - it masks the kind of literature that everyone, from the most humble Father's Day gift recipient right up to the Pulitzer Prize committee, can appreciate. Despite popular perception, great literature can be accessible and readable and downright fun, and Lonesome Dove is absolutely great literature.

There are a thousand little brilliant things I could mention about how amazing Lonesome Dove is but virtually nobody has read it. All I'll say is - even for writers who aren't planning on penning a Western - you need to read Larry McMurtry. In fact if you haven't read Lonesome Dove, read Dead Man's Walk, which is chronologically the first. The entire series is really more like a single 4,000 page odyssey in these men's lives, which could theoretically begin and end whenever. Some of the best books I've ever read.

I'm an Australian author writing books set in Australia with Australian characters and 99% of my sales are to the US, which I've always chalked up to the fact that the US has the biggest population and the highest Amazon/ereader penetration.

Granted I'm writing in the zombie genre which is pretty universal, but I've always been dubious of the notion that Americans won't read something if it's spelt in British English or if it's in an unfamiliar region. That seems to me to be something dreamt up by publishers or Hollywood executives, the "how will it play in Iowa" school of thought. Entertaining stories are entertaining stories, and Western English-speaking culture is pretty interchangeable these days anyway.

Although that does leave the question of why some people are getting more UK sales which is a bit of a head scratcher. Are you targeting your marketing exclusively at the UK?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Getting paid in Bitcoin for your stories?
« on: August 17, 2017, 06:01:21 PM »
I still don't understand why you would want to be paid in bitcoin. If you're trying to accumulate bitcoin, why not just buy bitcoin with your US dollar royalties?

Because as someone pointed out above, bitcoin seems more like a liquid asset than a currency. A normal currency does not skyrocket in value - bitcoin has OCTUPLED in value in the past 12 months! If you had one bitcoin in August last year I'm sure you'd be very happy about that, but if that were me I'd also be selling it off and getting out now, converting it to a more stable currency and feeling pleased with myself.

Looking at a graph of bitcoin value reminds me of a stock market or housing bubble. Anybody looking to buy bitcoin now should be very wary of that. A currency is supposed to be stable, not attract the attention of small-scale investors and speculators. (Yes, I know people do FOREX trading, but I doubt any of them see an 800% profit in 12 months.)

So, if you want to invest in that, sure - but I don't understand what the difference is between setting up a system where people can pay for you with bitcoin, or just buying bitcoin with regular money, except that one of them would involve more hassle.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Payments with Kindle Unlimited
« on: August 02, 2017, 03:03:28 AM »
People here seem to complain about KU a lot, but I'd estimate about 70-80% of my revenue comes from page reads rather than sales.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« on: August 01, 2017, 05:25:22 PM »
I happen to fall into the "B" category (and along with my political-social-etc. reasons) so ease of travel in the future isn't a big consideration for me when it comes to renouncing US citizenship and maintaining just one passport.

Forgive me if you've addressed this - I looked but couldn't see it - but are you already a dual citizen through parentage or something? If not what is your intended path to Mexican residency/citizenship, and what visa are you on now?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Canadian authors and taxes
« on: July 30, 2017, 06:20:48 AM »
No, you do pay US taxes. You do however, have to claim your earnings with the CRA as self employed earnings. Use the 1042-S  Amazon (et al) sends out as proof of earnings.


...Hang on. My understanding was that because I'm in a country with proper tax relationships with the US, I just click that box when signing up to Amazon and the ball's in their court, i.e...

If you are a non-U.S. publisher interested in claiming tax treaty benefits to reduce your withholding, you will have to provide a tax identification number (TIN). If you have a U.S. TIN (ITIN for individuals, EIN for non-individuals), you must provide it. If you do not have a U.S. TIN and the tax authority in your country of residence issues an income tax identification number, you may enter it to claim treaty benefits.

Which I did, when I provided them with my Australian Tax File Number. I mean I assume maybe the US takes a cut via Amazon before it lands in my bank account, but I don't actually have to personally file a US tax return after that, do I? Because that would be ridiculous.

If you want to find your KENP count (I didn't realise this was different from the count on the regular page that customers see) go to Author Dashboard > Bookshelf > Promote and Advertise, and scroll down to the bottom.

For an example, my first book has a stated length of 165 but a KENP count of 281.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Canadian authors and taxes
« on: July 28, 2017, 01:09:40 AM »
I don't think you pay any US tax if you have nothing to do with the US - that's the whole point of the tax treaty.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Movie right legit or scam
« on: July 27, 2017, 03:34:19 PM »
Go ahead and reply to them. If it's a scam you'll be able to tell fairly quickly when they ask for money. A real studio will never ask you for money at all, the only thing you'd want to be wary of is them stiffing you on options rights.

It's not that uncommon. I has a few phone calls with a producer's assistant a few years ago about adapting a short story of mine which ultimately never went anywhere; I got the impression that they employ people to be constantly on the lookout for adaptation material so that they always have a good stock of stuff ready to be proposed at the next pitch meeting, even if 99% of it never gets used. The industry slush pile, I guess.

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