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Messages - ShaneCarrow

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Writers' Cafe / Re: eBookHounds Fail
« on: July 03, 2018, 05:10:32 PM »
I did a small free promo recently with only two bits of advertising, Ebookhounds for day one and Robin Reads for day two. Ebookhounds yielded less than a dozen giveaways, Robin Reads over 400.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What do new writers obsess about but shouldn't?
« on: July 03, 2018, 01:22:29 AM »
People stress over pricing for their first book; I definitely stressed about whether I should kick mine off at 99 cents for the start of a series or if that made readers think it was worthless. What didn't occur to me was that it's not set in stone and you can change it later.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set
« on: July 03, 2018, 01:19:17 AM »
Nope. You want to bundle them three by three. Or maybe just do one of books 1-3 and then apply for Bookbub (presuming you're wide). Bookbub loves those three-book sets. Don't worry about bundling up all of them. You can do it, but sell them on your website only, because six books you're going to want to sell for (much) more than the $9.99 cap. Or just sell the full six-book set at non-Amazon retailers.

Then entice people to buy the three book set and sell books 4-6 at full price.

Just box sets by themselves tend to sell like crap on Amazon, but they're great for promotions. However, promotions require that you have some full-price books for people to buy after.

edited bc autocorrect :P

I'm not wide and my first book is 99c with the others at 2.99, so I was pretty much thinking of pricing it at either $9.99 or $11.99 (wasn't aware there was a cap). And honestly half the reason I'm doing a box set at all is because I've heard it's way easier to get a Bookbub with them.

I've already got my cover artist to do a "complete series" cover but that was like $50 or something it doesn't matter if I get another... although if I do books 1-3 I can't really charge much for them, unless maybe I put book 1 back up to $2.99, then I can charge $5 or $6 or something. Feeding into the later books would be good because while books 1 and 2 sold like hotcakes, book 3 was a bit lower and books 4-6 really dropped off. Of course I released book 1 in January 2017 and book 4 in November 2017, but that's still more of a drop off than I'd expect from chronology + natural series drop-off.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:34:56 PM »
In terms of size, there's the 3000 KENPC limit that you don't want to hit.

Uh oh. Just added up the KENPC count of the existing six books and they come to 3200...

Writers' Cafe / Re: I got a BookBub! (International)
« on: July 02, 2018, 07:17:10 PM »
I never worry much about US/non-US markets since 90% of readers seem to be in the US anyway (or is that just me?) but I find Robin Reads to be the most effective of the newsletters after Bookbub.

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.

Everything these days is a hellish web of interconnected web cookie tracking to build a massive profile on you and target you ads, to the point where there are now conspiracy theories (or aaaare they?) about apps hijacking your phone microphone to eavesdrop on your conversations.

If you've been doing any kind of publishing research at all and clicked on anything to do with romance or erotica, anywhere on the internet, I wouldn't be surprised if suggested reads for them then pop up on a different device.

My own favourite targeted ad: I was researching military jobs at work on my work desktop, and then when listening to Spotify through my PS4 and TV at home, I got served up ads for the Australian Defence Force.

You guys are all so on the ball. I don't even pay attention to those emails!

If earlier slots are available I'd be happy to shuffle up the queue!

I recently had good ROI with Robin Reads and poor ROI with ebookhounds.

Writers' Cafe / Steer clear of Book Skill, formerly Ebook Skill
« on: June 20, 2018, 05:42:46 PM »
You may recall I posted about discovering I was getting scammed a month ago -,263466.msg3665508.html

Well, my bank says the merchant is disputing my dispute, with the message "What follows is compelling evidence, and a valid remedy for this chargeback." Quite odd phrasing, almost as though it was translated from Mandarin, hmmm. So anyway this is the first I actually managed to find a website for these guys, when they provided it in the dispute record, because googling "book skill" gets you nothing:

And this is their sign up form for paid advertising:

Take a gander at that and ask if it's clear that you're signing up for recurring monthly payments.

Anyway, I'm just venting because they had the gall to dispute the chargeback after successfully fleecing me for a whole year, I know I should be more careful when throwing my card details around on the internet. But never ever advertise with these guys.

I was listening to a Mark Dawson podcast earlier (a facebook live thing) and he was saying to release sequels etc when they're ready. He did make a really good point which is a book's not earning any money sitting on your hard drive.

That's true, but the amount of money it will earn is a Schroedinger's cat. Self publishing on Amazon isn't like leaving a rental property vacant or keeping your cafe closed for a week. The key point to remember is that the people who have already read your first book and are likely to buy the next one is a much, much smaller number than the amount of people who would read your whole series if only the Amazon algorithm decided to put it in front of them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: My KU page reads have died. How about yours?
« on: June 20, 2018, 05:07:08 PM »
Mine have been doing a steady decline since the September Slash.

What was the September slash? Because mine have also been declining since September '17. Not just the expected drop-off which makes sense as readers peel off as you go through a series, but also the proportion of sales to KU reads (using the new BR feature). In fact June may be the first month since I started publishing where I'll make more money from sales than from KU.

edit - in fact checking BR now my last release on June 1 has 16 sales and 9 estimated borrows which is a first. Compare that to the first book in the series which has a ratio of 1,121 sales to 1,765 estimated borrows. The four books in between them also have a higher (but steadily declining) ratio of borrows to sales.

It would be one thing if Amazon was ratcheting down the payment per page resulting in less profit from borrows, but if they're declining out of proportion with sales then yeah, I think the only conclusion you can draw is that readers are going off KU.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for authors to interview on my podcast
« on: June 07, 2018, 04:31:12 PM »
Have PM'd you - would love either of the remaining spots or to take the place of any drop outs!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Expatting to write, one year report.
« on: June 06, 2018, 05:32:55 PM »
Something I always wonder about - more so since you said you just walked in without getting your passport stamped - is how easy is it to just ignore regulations in Mexico and live as an illegal immigrant? Not making a moral judgement but by the letter of the law, that's what you are.

Obviously as you point out it's fairly easy to enter Mexico, and I've also heard stories from Americans that if you have an American passport neither the Mexican border guards nor CBP will hassle you if you try to go back north for whatever reason. But I just wonder if it would come back to bite you later if you're trying to actually legitimately get married to a Mexican resident or get your permanent residency or Mexican citizenship or whatever. Or is Mexico pretty much full of American expats and the government turns a blind eye to it because they're bringing money in? Or is it all pretty much a bribery economy anyway?

This may be the Australian in me talking, since we're an island and the only way in our out is under the fanatical, paperwork-checking eyes of airport gate attendants. But it's the sort of thing I find fascinating, I've had enough hassles at various international borders or living in the immigrant-hostile UK for it to be the first thing I always think of.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any promotional newsletters still any good?
« on: June 06, 2018, 05:20:11 PM »
Yep, Day 2 and Robin Reads (just in the horror category) netted me 397 free downloads. So they can stay on my list of worthwhile promoters, done with ebookhounds though.

It does occur to me that limiting my promotional material so I can more accurately gauge what I'm getting out of it might have been better to do in the future, rather than on my launch for the last book in my series... Whoops.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: June 06, 2018, 05:15:29 PM »
I have used Accounting Solutions, Bairnsdale for years. Excellent service and they know their stuff. I've never met them personally - all done by email. Easy peasey. Link:
Colin Perryman. He works remotely if needed and has loads of experience in the creative industries. He’s also very nice and quite affordable.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any promotional newsletters still any good?
« on: June 04, 2018, 10:25:26 PM »
Follow up to this: I've launched Book 6 (final in my series), and made Book 1 free to download for June 4-6. Because I'm getting skeptical about them, the only advertising I lined up (apart from my own tweets which I can tell from the metrics tab are pointless) were Ebookhounds on June 4 and Robin Reads on June 5.

It's now past midnight in the eastern US and day one, with only Ebookhounds advertising (in the horror slot only, mind you) has netted me a grand total of... (drumroll) 39 downloads.

For comparison's sake, all my previous free book promos have usually spent between $50-200 on various newsletters, along with submitting to 10-30 free ones, and my results were generally in the vicinity of 1000 free downloads, and the bulk of those on the first day. Of course that makes it impossible to determine exactly which places are sending you the most traffic, which will make this interesting.  I'll be keen to compare Ebookhounds to Robin Reads tomorrow.

I don't see an issue with that at all. You could probably get away with using it for the first book, really.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Ultimate Author Insult!
« on: June 03, 2018, 06:37:43 AM »
If a friend or family member says they're going to read my books, I smile and nod and never bring it up again. Sometimes I go so far as to tell them I will never ask them if they followed through or what they thought, because I really don't want to put them on the spot. Here's how I learned that lesson ...

Tom McCallister (whose podcast Book Fight I love, but whose books I've never bothered to read - wrote about something similar recently.

I know I'm in the minority on this but I'm amazed by how many people happily share the fact they write books. Maybe because I grew up in a fairly traditional masculine part of Australia where even reading was considered pooncy, maybe because I have deep-seated hang-ups about nothing I do being any good, but I would personally rather slam my hand in a car door than have anybody I know in real life ever read any of my writing. (Shane Carrow is, of course, a pen name.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: June 03, 2018, 06:23:31 AM »
Probably a bit early for this, but does anyone (particularly anyone in Melbourne) use an accountant for their book stuff? My day job and financial life is straightforward enough that I don't need one for that, but I did have a good one last financial year - good except he was damn near impossible to get in touch with when I was trying to get my tax bill paid off* before the deadline. I could just go to HR Block I guess, but if anyone in Melbourne has an accountant who's used to doing small (measly small) business stuff, especially anything to do with self publishing, I'd love to know.

(*You might wonder why, if he was a good accountant, I ended up with a tax bill at all. Turns out my day job didn't tell the ATO about my HECS debt. Whoops!)

Incidentally I also just finished reading book 7 in Patrick O'Brian's brilliant Aubrey-Maturin series, which contains this little exchange I fell for hook, line and sinker (that's an easy one):

Why, sure,’ said Evans, in his harsh nasal metallic bray, ‘the right American English is spoke in Boston, and even as far as Watertown. You will find no corruption there, I believe, no colonial expressions, other than those that arise naturally from our intercourse with the Indians. Boston, sir, is a well of English, pure and undefiled.’

    ‘I am fully persuaded of it,’ said Stephen. ‘Yet at breakfast this morning Mr Adams, who was also riz in Boston, stated that hominy grits cut no ice with him. I have been puzzling over his words ever since. I am acquainted with the grits, a grateful pap that might with advantage be exhibited in cases of duodenal debility, and I at once perceived that the expression was figurative. But in what does the figure consist? Is it desirable that ice should be cut? And if so, why? And what is the force of with?’

    After barely a moment’s pause, Mr Evans said, ‘Ah, there now, you have an Indian expression. It is a variant upon the Iroquois katno aiss’ vizmi - I am unmoved, unimpressed.’

It wasn't until I googled this that I realised the joke - Evans is [bullcrap]ting to cover the plainly false assertion he just made about Bostonian English. It seemed plausible. Possibly because of another fun fact I learned recently: emoji is a Japanese word meaning "picture symbol," and its similarity to "emotion" and "emoticon" is purely coincidental. Also, the Japanese word "origato" is derived from 16th century Portuguese traders using the word "obrigado," which I imagine is closely related to our own "oblige."

As a subeditor the one which drives me up the wall (hey, there's a phrase to look into) is how many people think it's "tow the line," as though it's a ship towing a line. No - it's toe the line, as in, the drill sergeant has you all lined up on the parade ground and you'd better keep your toes perfectly behind that line.

Strange, isn't it, that all these 'help the little guy' laws end up helping big corporations?

It's almost as though someone planned it that way.

I'm sure Amazon could easily deal with these changes in Australian law, but just don't want to.

I'm pretty confident this has less to do with tax collection and more to do with Gerry [expletive]ing Harvey and his perpetual whingeing about how the retail environment has changed. He and his ilk are the sort of dinosaurs who reminds me of the old Heinlein quote (I find Heinlein's politics insufferable but he's bang on the money about this):

“There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to the public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals not corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.”

35 years.

Many 3rd party sellers on Amazon won't ship internationally, so maybe that's it?

Hmm, could be. Or I might be making the mistake of assuming that everybody else's habits reflect my own. I only ever really buy books (Abebooks and Book Depository), clothes (ASOS, Borden, Huckberry or bricks and mortar) or house stuff (again, bricks and mortar). I suppose if you're buying board games or electronics or stuff like that Amazon might be the better option.

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