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Messages - Jackson Lear

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Readthrough
« on: November 08, 2017, 04:38:59 PM »
Question for Mark: are your Milton books able to be read in any order? If yes, that might skew your data quite a bit, especially if someone starts at, say, book 4 and then reads book 1.

If you're talking to Mark from Kobo a lot and if he's taking suggestions, I'd like to see:
How many people buy a book at 99c and then go on to buy a second book at full price, compared to how many people buy the first book at full price and then buy another.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The Decline of the Promo Sites
« on: November 03, 2017, 07:03:55 PM »
Having just booked a bunch of promos, two things still irk me about a lot of the sites:

1) They will all happily link to Amazon, but few go wide (and of those few, they don't go wide enough).
2) 'Please describe your book in 150 / 300 / 600 characters, DO NOT copy your description from Amazon.' (I'm curious how many of us just copy as much of the blurb as we can get away with.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Am I drunk or is this confusing?
« on: November 01, 2017, 02:30:38 AM »
*currently drunk. Rolls up sleeves. Let's do this*

...What the hell did I just read?

...Like ... what?

Writers' Cafe / Re: My AMS impressions/clicks have all disappeared
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:56:27 PM »
They've disappeared from my dashboard but they're still there when I click on the ad itself. I'm sure it will sort itself out in a few hours.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads Learning
« on: July 22, 2017, 05:55:10 PM »
Some very minor findings I have found ...

I ran an ad using only author names who use a full stop (J.K. Rowling, for example). I got tired of adding the varieties of those names into each ad (J.K., JK, and J K), so I ran a test with 100 author names and tried out 3 variations for each one. After running it for 2 weeks with 2,000 impressions, my results are:

No full stops and no spaces (such as 'JK') is by far the most popular. It came up 73.52% of the time.
No full stops but using spaces (such as 'J K' is the next most popular. This and the above makes up 94.93%
Full stops in the name was by and large a dud. Sometimes the J.K. version of an author's name was more popular than the JK or J K version, but the full stop versions would've been at 5 impressions and the others were at 1 or 2.

Now I can stop typing all of those pesky full stops. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Advice on the new Inkitt contest
« on: May 24, 2017, 08:01:50 AM »
I just got the email.  :D

Anyone with a reasonable wariness of spam emails will recognise this sort of thing, but there are a lot of new faces here who might who might engage with the spammer with the 'what's the worst that could happen?' mentality.

My Google-fu was better than the emailer's, since I found their company and their contract easily enough and amused myself by looking for a 'contact us' or 'about us' link on their site, which is mysteriously missing. Why wouldn't they provide the name of their company in their email or a link to their site for me to check them out? Bah.

The most puzzling thing for me is that all the spammers seem to choose the fourth book in my first series. Always. What weird combination of keywords are they using to find that one?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Problem with making my last day in Select free.
« on: December 15, 2016, 04:21:59 PM »
Thanks Shayne! I just got an email from kdp support saying 'we advise you to avoid making the last day free.' Bummer. Time to email a bunch of promo people and change my dates.

Writers' Cafe / Problem with making my last day in Select free.
« on: December 14, 2016, 04:40:04 PM »
Hi all,

I've checked my enrollment dates for a book I have in Select, which ends on January 3. When I try to book a free promotion January 3 is blanked out, but January 2 is fine. I've used 4 out of 5 dates already, so it's not that I've run out.

I've been able to book the last day in the 90 day term before, so why not now? This wouldn't really bother me except I've started to book promos for that date so should I cancel them?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Full-Timers, a moment of your time please!
« on: December 12, 2016, 11:09:30 PM »
Major caveat here: I'm earning around 50-75% of what I need to survive, but I guess you're looking for as many answers as possible, so I'll chip in. :)

1) How long did it take (from your first published book) to become a full timer?
2.5 years and 5 books.

2) Did you have an "action plan"? More importantly, did you stick to it? Was there ever a time when the plan was derailed and you had to struggle to get back on track?
A year and a half ago I started working out how much I needed to quit my job and spend a year writing, publishing, and promoting. It went like this: drop my hours at work from full time to part time, be a tight-ass for a year, do as much promoting as possible to learn as much as possible, stalk kboards and read these type of threads, quit in August 2016, spend a year trying my best not to haemorrhage money, and write a to-market fantasy series that I've been kicking around for a while. I fully expect that this year won't be enough to keep me self employed, but I do expect that by the time I need a job I will have figured out how to do it so that 'Quit my job v.2' becomes the big success.

Did I stick to my action plan? I quit my job when I intended to, but the 2 books I published this year were majorly delayed (my editor politely told me the first one needed another look at).

My current action plan: I thought I could write the first book of an epic fantasy series in 150,000 words and that I could do that in 3 months. It's been 3.5 months, I'm 150,000 words in, and I'll be lucky to finish in under 200,000 words. Bah. There'll be no getting on track with this one.

3) Did you ever have moments of self-doubt about a career in publishing? If so, how did you overcome them?
Self-doubts come with the territory of hoping like hell thousands of people like the sound of your book enough to buy it, and that you can convince another thousand people every month for as long as you live. But what's the worst that will happen? No one buys my book? I had that happen for 2 years straight. That makes me a seasoned pro of licking my wounds and getting on with what needs to be done (the answer: write another book).

4) If you didn't have a plan from the beginning, was there a tipping point where you went, "Huh, I could maybe do this full time."? (a certain number of books in the backlist, a certain point in sales numbers, had enough of the day job and contemplated egging your boss's house more times than was healthy, etc.)
The tipping point came this month. Last month I published book 6, a stand alone mystery / suspense. My previous books were a zombie apocalypse tale and a fantasy series that can't be summed up in less than 100 words (reeeaaally difficult to promote as well). From July (when I published the zombie story) I was able to earn $100 a month (give or take $20). Then book 6 came along and I sold 72 copies at $3.99 in a single day.

5) How did you balance a side career in writing while working full time at the day (or evening) job?
I went from full time to part time at work doing 3 days a week in a warehouse doing a [poopy] job, writing on the other 4 days and whenever I could on the first 3. I did that for a year. The pay was good, but I almost rage-quit every week.

6) Any advice you'd care to depart on those wishing to make a living from their writing?
You don't earn money from writing, you earn money from selling books. Book your promos so that the results look like a staircase going upwards. Never end a promo on a weak site. Spend $250 a month on promotions as you try to figure out what works well and what doesn't. If you spend 6 months on kboards reading every thread, you'll get 99% of the answers you need. If you're going to quit your job to write full time, you better have a year's worth of money to live off at a minimum.

I had great results! My book is still in its first month of release and I ran ads, but even so: thank you Renee!

Day 1 - 1,080 (ran a bknights ad)
Day 2 - 4,100 (ran a Freebooksy ad)

I just did a search on

3,395 results for Books: "j.k. rowling"
2,571 results for Books: "j k rowling"
3,395 results for Books: "j.k. rowling" (I typed in 'JK' and it converted it to J.K.)

Her name is also down as J.K., not JK or J K, so if the author has initials, use initials, if they don't, you don't. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Book Sends Worth $50?
« on: December 09, 2016, 05:08:34 AM »
I used book sends in November for a mystery new release, 99 cents. I got 67 sales. I had a bunch of promos in that week and averaged 2k page reads a day for the following 10 days. Maybe that will help? I have a freebooksy ad going on Sunday for the same book. No idea how that will go but I'm optimistic on getting some good page reads. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Your reasons for going indie?
« on: December 06, 2016, 05:20:27 AM »
It seemed as though the publishing industry was following the same turmoil as the music industry went through a few years ago. The ability to actually 'make it' by being independent was suddenly an option, and hearing horror stories of publishers expecting the author to be happy with a 10-15% royalty rate on an ebook was absurd.

Plus I was a crap at writing query letters. I had over a dozen books sitting on my hard drive and all of my ideal agents seemed to be moving into cook books.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Returns for Genre Pulse $0.99 NF promo?
« on: December 05, 2016, 04:57:09 PM »
I launched a fiction mystery / suspense book in November. 99 cents, spent $18, and got 8 sales on the Genre Pulse day.

Writers' Cafe / Re: When it's too good to be true....(Honest Few?)
« on: December 03, 2016, 04:56:12 AM »
My first two reactions to getting these kind of emails is to: check to see if they've actually mentioned a book I've written in their text (otherwise it screams of a copy and paste email), and then to google: '' alexa ranking. I like to compare their ranking to other promo sites to see how effective it might be.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What time does Amazon end its KU page reads day?
« on: December 01, 2016, 06:20:05 PM »
I've just refreshed my dashboard, both my 1st of December and 2nd of December pages have gone up. Maybe Amazon now reports on the time zone its readers are in?

Writers' Cafe / What time does Amazon end its KU page reads day?
« on: December 01, 2016, 06:08:14 PM »
Hi all, sorry if this has been answered somewhere else (maybe in the 101 page topic), but at what time does Amazon end its KU page reads day? It's probably worth while saying that I'm in Australia (g'day!), so my reporting time might we very different to the majority of kboarders.

Over the last two weeks I've seen their reporting time shift. Sometimes it was eight pm pacific standard time, sometimes it was 7pm. Today has been the earliest. It's lunch time on the 2nd of the December for me, and 6pm pacific standard time on the 1st of December, yet my 2nd of the December page reads started showing up an hour ago (these are page reads from the US site).

I'm thinking it could be:
Amazon has shifted to Greenwich Mean Time for me (and possibly others),
Time travelers,
Or Amazon is drunk.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum: the official thread
« on: November 28, 2016, 05:57:28 PM »
Jackson, this isn't just a problem with Vellum, it is a problem with ebooks in general.


Presenting a table as an image is, for now, the best solution for general consumption, particularly on smaller devices like ebook readers and smart phones. As Brad pointed out, on many ebook reading devices, an image can be zoomed in for a better view. Just remember that a lot of images can make an ebook file excessively large.

Thanks WDR! That does make sense. I only have one table in a book, a zombie apocalypse story where the main character lists the countries and how many people are dead, missing, or have risen from the grave, etc. Even as a paperback I was having to squeeze the tabs and fiddle with the font size to get everything to fit. Thankfully the image in the ebook isn't too large and the delivery costs are under control. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum: the official thread
« on: November 27, 2016, 04:47:13 PM »
Is there a way to create or import a spreadsheet-like table into Vellum? So far the best result I got was to turn the table into a picture and import that.

Thanks Dean! I had great success the last time with your instafreebie promo!  :)

My November has been dismal. I had 1 book in KU that averaged 8,000 - 16,000 monthly page reads since July (it's launch), but November has seen only 1,000. The last 2 weeks have had only 38 pages read.

So I ran a freebie to boost KU a little. I had 500 downloads and 0 pages read. That doesn't align with every other freebie I've tried in the past. There is *always* at least 1 person reading a page or two.

I also just launched a new book. I had decent purchases, nothing earth-shattering, but in July on day 1 I had 1,000 pages read. This launch? 0.

I sent an email to Amazon, got the typical response, and was expecting a big spike in page reads as they fixed whatever issue was plaguing me. Nope. No spike. 0 page reads.


It's never been published before. After I clicked 'approve' on CreateSpace I went to my website and added the first chapter as a teaser. The book had already appeared in the CreateSpace store by then.

It's possible that my website was what triggered their copyright infringement. Maybe it got resolved quickly because I had some human eyes on the problem so they could see the problem with a Jackson Lear book came from

Ah well, I'm chalking it up to one of life's weird and minor mysteries.

The other day I loaded my new book onto CreateSpace, then I got an email from them saying they were suppressing it because:

'Your content appears to have been published before, therefore this material has been suppressed through your account until we can confirm you hold the necessary rights to publish your book.'

In that time I googled the hell out of Broken Toys (the book in question), any author with a similar name to mine, and the opening line to a couple of chapters. I found nothing that screamed 'copyright issue'.

I got it resolved in under a day, no biggie. I'm just curious what triggered the alert in the first place. Any ideas?

Writers' Cafe / Re: You Know You're An Author When . . .
« on: October 10, 2016, 06:04:22 AM »
It's midnight, you're in bed and should really turn off your laptop, but you'll just check kboards one ... last ... time ...

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about KU
« on: August 29, 2016, 06:17:22 AM »
What Melanie said. And I'm pretty grateful for that, because I'm not sure what I'd do if I had to analyse a hundred people's quit point in each book.

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