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Messages - Karen Monroe

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1
Writers' Cafe / What is KDP Select All-Star?
« on: November 16, 2020, 10:36:36 am »
Seriously, is this how Amazon applies the ďTop 100Ē tag? I have never heard of this, but an email I received on Friday mentions it. I am wondering if this one of those weird algorithms that I will never understand. If anyone has any knowledge of this I would greatly appreciate your insight.

Thank you!

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: How many books does it take?
« on: October 25, 2020, 11:18:01 pm »
I published my first book with Amazon in August. I paid for an inexpensive cover and did my own editing. At this point between sales and KU reads, I am already averaging $800/mon. I tend to sale about 1-2 books a day and my average KU read is about 10k per day. So itís doable.

My next book is scheduled for release next month (fingers crossed), and if I am able to sustain those figures then I can see $1500/mon easily.

Iím still not going to quit my day job though.

3
Thanks for the responses. I could not use BookReport. It wouldnít load on my iPad Pro, and my laptop PC needs repairs.

I think it may be better to decrease or use last monthís rate in KDP reports. I would rather low-ball my estimate. That way extra money is a gift....lol

4
I will be honest and admit I still struggle with and other basic grammar. My focus is on the story and itís easy to miss the simple stuff.

Thank you!

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: Greetings! I just published my first book on Amazon
« on: October 16, 2020, 11:48:15 am »
For easier managing, I am going to keep my questions to one thread.

First, I think my first book is doing well. Based on the convos here, I think itís doing well. So, I am still learning the ins and outs. I recently ran a very cheap FB ad promoting the first book because itís been so long since I have run any adds, and I wanted to get a feel of for the process. Now I am preparing to launch Book 2 in November. I have an editor, and I feel confident in their abilities.

I am wondering what I could or should do for this next release? Keep in mind, I am a novice.

Thank you,

KM

Edit:

I am not ready for mailings lists and what not. I am just talking about basic strategy.

 

6
If you're using BookReport, you can set you estimated KENPC, I believe on the Settings page. It has a few different options. I manually put in .0041, since that's the lowest number we've seen in some time.

I'm not sure about using other tools. You can always manually multiply the pages on your KDP report by the estimated borrow rate. But I never look at my KDP reports without using BookReport. It's just so much easier to parse at a glance.

Okay, when you say Book Report you are speaking of the reports from Amazon. I only have one book, but thank you for response. I am now able to see the reports from August and September in my KDP reports

7
If you're using BookReport, you can set you estimated KENPC, I believe on the Settings page. It has a few different options. I manually put in .0041, since that's the lowest number we've seen in some time.

I'm not sure about using other tools. You can always manually multiply the pages on your KDP report by the estimated borrow rate. But I never look at my KDP reports without using BookReport. It's just so much easier to parse at a glance.


What is BookReport?

LOL...Iíll look it up.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum: the official thread
« on: October 15, 2020, 11:07:44 am »
Karen, you don't need a MacBook Pro, but it will last you longer. I bought a 2015 Mac Book Air and Vellum works flawlessly along with Scrivener and a host of other apps I use daily. The new stuff is just up to you and your budget. Bottom line: Vellum is worth it even if you only did MacInCloud.com when you go to publish your new books. But I'm a Mac person through and through.

I am PC.....transitioning to any Apple device outside of the phone...I just think they are overpriced, but you canít seem to get Vellum on the PC.

[illegitimate persons]! :'(

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum: the official thread
« on: October 15, 2020, 11:00:03 am »
I have read a lot of KU books with Velllum. I am thinking of saving my profits to invest in an a Mac Pro Laptops  and lifetime Vellum.

My question is it worth it?

10
The conventional wisdom is to underestimate earnings. I have my BookReport KENPC set at .0041 and I base my decisions on that. I'd rather underspend than overspend (though I have a pretty aggressive strategy overall compared to most).

That's the safer choice, but there's really no right or wrong answer. If a higher estimation motivates you to write more, then that might be better for you.

Still new at this.

How do you set your report?

The reason I am asking is there was a difference of $70 that was on the estimated page, I am finding it hard to set a budget.

Thank you again.

11
I have a question...???

Is it better to over estimate your KENP read with the higher estimation, assume the same rate, or decrease? Thereís about a $50 difference from the high and low.

Thank you.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: 60+ Ways to Replace "That"
« on: October 14, 2020, 11:59:29 am »
PDF Index of GrandmaBirdie's Lists
I remove the oldest lists from this post as I add new ones. If you want a complete index, you'll find it in the PDF archive.

60+ Ways to Replace "That"
If "that" is a word that plagues your WIP, I'm here to tell you that there are methods that you can use to cure that plague.

60+ Ways to Replace the Adverb "Just"
Are you just astounded by the number of repetitions of the adverb just in your WIP? Just try these alternatives.

4 Ways to Turn a Notebook Into a Powerful Writing Tool
Lori Wade explains how writers can turn a paper notebook into a powerful writing assistant.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part Two
Five more grammar blunders that might raise eyebrows at the office or alienate smart readers.

Grammar Goofs to Avoid at the Office: Part One
This is the first in a series of posts about grammar goofs that might irritate people in your office or alienate savvy readers.

How to Create a Title for Your Book
A title might not seem important when starting a WIP, but once a book nears completion, a definitive title becomes increasingly important.

700+ Ways to Describe Villains
Alfred Hitchcock said, "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture." Try these ways to create word pictures with believable villains.

Tips to Stack the Odds When Submitting to Literary Journals
An excellent way for writers to build a portfolio is to be published in literary journals. This post provides a few tips for improving the acceptance odds.

200+ Ways to Say "Excited"
Writers want readers to be excited by their words. This post will help wordcrafters create excitement without overuse of "excited" or "excitement."

150+ Ways to Say "Disappointed"
If you're disappointed by the number of times you've found "disappointed" in your WIP, these alternatives might rescue you.

150+ Ways to Say "Overwhelmed"
Book characters should experience emotional overwhelm when the story calls for it. Here are a few tools to overwhelm them without undue repetition.

150+ Ways to Say "Confused"
Confused about how to mitigate the overuse of "confused" in your writing? Relax. That confusion means you recognize the problem.

300+ Ways to Say "Love"
Some people toss the word "love" around like confetti. This post provides ways to show how characters feel without overusing "love."

200+ Ways to Say "Embarrassed"
People show embarrassment in many ways. Some are visible, and others aren't. This post provides the tools to embarrass characters as often as you wish.

300+ Ways to Say "Happy"
Rather than say a character is happy, writers can show the happiness or provide context that explains the reason for it.

500+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Make"
"Make" often invades writing, unnoticed until a WIP is read out loud. No wonder it's a nemesis for so many writers. Try these replacements.

350+ Ways to Replace the Verb "Take"
"Take" appears so often you might want to take a whip to the next writer who takes liberties with it. Take a look at these alternatives.

200+ Alternatives for Wide Eyes
Whether characters widen their eyes or exhibit wide-eyed gazes, those actions soon bore readers. Try these alternatives.

1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 2
In the second part of this post you'll find sun verbs, nouns, props, cliches, and idioms.

1200+ Ways to Describe the Sun Part 1
Does your WIP include the sun? Find sun adjectives, similes, metaphors, colors, and shapes in the first of two posts.

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 23-26)
This is the sixth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 2
How to add the magic -- or menace -- of snow to writing. This the second of two posts about ways to incorporate snow in creative writing.

1000+ Ways to Describe Snow Part 1
Snow can add intrigue or ambience to a WIP. This the first of two posts about ways to incorporate snow in creative writing.

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 19-22)
This is the fifth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 15-18)
This is the fourth in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 11-14)
This is the third in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 7-10)
This is the second in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them? (Rules 1-6)
This is the first in a series of articles about so-called writing rules. When is it acceptable to break them?

1300+ Ways to Describe Fingers
Fingers perform complex tasks, soothe fevered brows, and wipe away tears. Discover ways to describe them in Part 1 of this post.

700+ Ways to Describe Eyebrows
Eyebrows, forehead fuzz, eye coifs ... No matter what writers call them, eyebrows can enhance descriptions, show emotion, or add humor.

600+ Ways to Describe Chests
Whether you need literal or figurative ways to describe chests, you'll find helpful resources in this post.

600+ Ways to Describe Toes
What if a barefoot character has missing toes? Or her toe ring traps her foot in a crevice near the beach? Story prompts?

600+ Ways to Describe Knees
Whether you're looking for literal or figurative ways to depict knees in narrative, you'll find more than 600 options here.

400+ Ways to Describe Knuckles
Do you crack your knuckles while waiting for inspiration? This post will help you knuckle down and get creative--with knuckles.

500+ Ways to Describe Elbows
People tend to overlook elbows. However, judicious inclusion of this oft-ignored body part in your WIP adds depth to characters.

Very helpful.

Roger that.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
« on: October 12, 2020, 12:50:55 pm »
Based on my experience with my first book published on Amazon, you are better off investing as little as possible in the beginning. Get a decent cover and focus on the blurb. I published my book on 8/20 and I have made decent money because my investment was low. I took the profits from the first book and paid for an editor for the second.


14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Greetings! I just published my first book on Amazon
« on: October 11, 2020, 08:56:11 am »
Never heard of such option, how do you do it?
Is it Listopedia? Thanks for mentioning, I haven't heard of this option before!!!

No, GR has list created by users. For instance, you can Google best murder mystery books or something like that and there is usually a list on GR that users have created for that type of book. Anyone can add to the list once it is created if you have an account. An easy way to find a list is to look up a similar type book, and see if that book is on a list. Or just Google.

I canít really say this is a marketing tool, but I use the lists to find a specific type of book when I donít know what I want to read next. I figure other people do too.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Greetings! I just published my first book on Amazon
« on: October 10, 2020, 01:43:44 pm »
Let me begin with saying that YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ALL OF IT ALL AT ONCE! LOL
There's a L O T to learn as a newbie on how to turn electrons on a screen into money. For cryin' out loud, if it was easy, even MORE people would be doing it! So I don't blame you for being apprehensive at all.

Yeah, and I'm willing to bet $$ that your hand shook a little when you hit 'Publish'. I'm confident there were tons of times you found yourself facing something daunting and backed off. Believe me, I get it. There's a lot of stuff about this biz that makes me skittish. But it's important.

I'll be surprised if there's ONE successful author on this forum who didn't wish they didn't start their mailing list right at the jump. (Now let all of them pipe up! LOL)

OK, my 2 cents.
First, you need a good book. I read your look inside and there's no doubt you got the chops as a writer. The vast majority of Indie stuff is dreck, and out of the gate you got the goods. I'm envious, b/c out of the gate our stuff (wife & I) was dreck. Actually, dreck's too charitable a term. You blew past that.

Second is a decent cover. You got that.
Third is your blurb. Yours is good.

You're a natural at this.

OK then. Now let's build up your skills. TRIGGER WARNING: each skill I describe is going to take time for you to first learn, then get good at. They're SKILLS.
BUT
Once you get proficient, they're always there. Maybe a bit of sharpening up here and there is required (for me, NINC is where that happens) But on a day to day basis, those things I once struggled with are now second nature. For example I put together a big newsletter yesterday to our small list of 1,400 readers. From copy, artwork to upload took 3 hrs. (copy writing took up the bulk of the time)

First newsletter? HAH! A couple of days. Seriously.

So...SKILL NUMERO UNO:
Keywords. You need to spend time on this. When I first started out, I honestly thought it was seven individual words. For real. I was at this for about two years until I took a dive into that and found out that it's not seven words. How many sales did that cost me? Oh boy...

Here's a link to start learning them. Dave Chesson is a fantastic guy; he's as legit as he seems. He's also a gifted teacher (and a USN vet/reservist?) The course below is free, but don't be fooled by the cheap price: it's gold, pure gold. I refer to it at least 2x a year even now.
https://kindlepreneur.com/book-marketing-101/

He's got some awesome tools that can help at a great price, but you can hold off on buying them. I love his 'Publisher Rocket'.

Go through that instructional series I linked up above step by step over the course of a few weeks. You'll be blown away by how much you'll learn. I owe a large chunk of my current dream life to him. (And, TBH, this forum.)

I'm harping on the mailing list, but you can start one for free, and go from there. Just work at it for 20 mins at a time over a couple of weeks and you'll be ready to go. If you need a hand, PM me. I put up a post years ago on how to get started w/ Mail Chimp b/c I tore my hair out trying to figure it out, but Mailer Lite's got all the bells and whistles you'll need and a pretty darn good start up series of instructions.

Ads? You don't need 'em at this stage. You're gaining readers and only have the one book. Watch this video:
https://youtu.be/ZVi5BM8_z9I
Chris Fox is another awesome guy.

FINAL NOTE:
Take your time. Success in this biz is a long term process. BUT each success can be compounded by the next.
Best of luck!

Roger that!

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: My sorrow
« on: October 09, 2020, 01:32:34 pm »
Iíve tried to respond with numerous messages that for some reason are not worthy of the pain you are feeling.

I am begging you to keep writing your story. Itís not over.  ;D

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Greetings! I just published my first book on Amazon
« on: October 09, 2020, 01:14:40 pm »
NOOB author, no marketing and $335.00 on one book in a month?
WHOA. That's impressive. I'm serious. My wife & I do about 100K/year at this, and have been at it for seven years. The market it tremendously competitive right now.

OHHHKAAAY rookie LOL a little advice:
Start a mailing list immediately. Put the link in your book (I'd suggest at the front as well as the back. I suggest MailerLite; Mailchimp used to be wonderful, but they're going after bigger spenders than Indie authors.

Other than that single peice of advice, keep writing. Your readers are going to want to know what the heck is going to happen w/ Cassie & Griff. Your covers are servicable-- not great, but it doesn't suck. And as far as editing goes, yes its important, but for now, grab one or two (or 3?) of those people who reviewed Book 1 and ask them to proof/beta for you. You can pick up pro's down the road.

Indie writing can change your frikkin' life, Karen. (USN or USMC?) You'd be amazed at how many people started out on this board who were driving a truck or pushing a cab and now life a wonderful life.

Keep dreaming, but girl- WRITE. 1-2K /day is fine if you can maintain that 5 days a week. That's a new book every 3 months at least.
Congratulations.

USN...and no jokes about the menís room if you are a devil dawg.

Thank you for the words of encouragement. I have to admit I am terrified of mailing list. Iím not sure of what to say. I just donít know how to manage it. I am afraid it will take my focus from writing.

Welcome, Karen.
From one rookie to another  :D
Sounds like you're off to a good start. Feel free to take or leave my advice, as I am by no means raking it in LOL

1) Having used one, I do recommend an editor. I learned a lot from her, and feel a lot better about my final product.
2) Look into facebook and amazon ads if you are looking for sales/exposure.
3) Above all else, keep writing. But make sure that you find the product worthy!

I understand that some people make a living at this, but most writers do not. Yours truly included  :) But I'm OK with that. So my final piece of advice is don't lose sight of why you write in the first place.

All the best of luck to you!

I am still confused about ads. Iím not even sure I understood the key words when I published. I have no idea about key words. I donít even understand mailing lists.

 :-X

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: why is my book not selling?
« on: October 04, 2020, 02:09:33 pm »
i will give a reply to all the posts in this thread. i just kept procrastinating. also, it's kinda threatening to my ego. i am not very tough to criticism and physical and online confrontation. will do so soon

for all those people who have commented, i have to thank you. at least you said something.

Why ask for it then?

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Is my description too vague?
« on: October 04, 2020, 12:39:38 pm »
I like the first one, but I would add a disclaimer at the bottom about cheating. I am slow on the uptake, but Homewrecker didnít immediately make me think one of them is married. Also, most romance readers are gun-shy when the cheater is a woman. For some that will immediately turn them off.


20
Writers' Cafe / Re: How long does it take for the ebook to show in ranks?
« on: October 04, 2020, 12:35:27 pm »
I published a novel about 10 hours ago. Reports show 8 sales today and a bunch of page reads but it doesn't show in the ranks yet. How long does it take? I published another novel in june and I recall it showed pretty quickly (and had less sales the first day)

Experiences please?

In my experience it seemed to take about 2-4 weeks. Then after that my author page fully loaded with a link to the book on Amazon, then the rankings showed up about a week after that. Even ratings and reviews didnít show up right away. I could tell my book had ďloadedĒ via the Kindle app. When I would click on the author link in the beginning, i would get no information or an error. Once I could click on my name in Kindle app and my information appeared, then everything else appeared on the traditional site, including ratings.

As I newb myself the best advice I have is wait at least a solid month before you get nervous. You have no control over Amazon, so best just to stay stress-free.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Which book cover is best?
« on: October 02, 2020, 03:34:58 pm »
I am going to chime here.

I really liked the first cover. Itís mysterious and it does pop. I donít think you need the woman at all

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Which book cover is best?
« on: October 02, 2020, 12:36:43 pm »
Thinking of changing it to suit the series. Background: She is Jamaican and has recently started working for the Scottish Police Force.

Latest image: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RwQPTQRdYUKHP-RjsWUsHMStPkU6eGB6/view?usp=sharing

Old Image: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yYjPQQhIgCY6T0XbLh0hiqHQIaD538Gp/view?usp=sharing

This is a tough one, Weary. I need to think about it.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Greetings! I just published my first book on Amazon
« on: October 02, 2020, 11:17:29 am »
Hi Karen!  Congratulations on the book - from another nervous newbie.  You also come from my fave US city, I remember happy childhood times with my uncle in Point Loma.

Can I just say - this isn't my genre, but I read your look inside and you write very well, the book flows.

Good luck with it and the next one.

Point Loma is beautiful. When I was active duty I worked at the sub base. It was the most beautiful base. You could eat lunch on a cliff that overlooked the ocean. Plus, they have some great seafood restaurants.

Thank you for your kind words. I did my very best. Iím halfway done with the other book. Fingers crossed 🤞🏽

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have you ever written a sex scene in crime fiction?
« on: October 01, 2020, 01:46:46 pm »
Neither do I. That's the point; it is what you expect from a genre. If I choose a book about the Black Death, that's what I expect. If I choose a sweet romance, I would not expect the plague to seep in. Same with sex scenes; does it belong there? That's the question.

I think...you and I understand each other. Thank you! True discussion seems to be lost in this age.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have you ever written a sex scene in crime fiction?
« on: September 30, 2020, 11:39:06 pm »
That would depend on how it is written and on whether it is necessary to the story. If I'm reading a romance, I expect a few sex scenes. What I don't want are crude words which, if the writer was anything of a writer, can be written without those words. You were the one who asked how a sex scene could be tasteful - well that's how.

If I am reading a book about the black death, I expect graphic death scenes; the same goes for a gory murder mystery. I don't expect a graphic sex scene shoved into that murder mystery. Agatha Christie did all right without them, as did Dorothy L Sayers, P.D. James, and all the other great crime writers.

I understand where you are coming from, but I donít understand it. I cannot stomach descriptive details of death. I donít want to read about pustules, blood vomit, or entrailed bowels.

To each their own. 

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