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Messages - Amy Corwin

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Writers' Cafe / Re: New KDP dashboard - Link for Book Report
« on: June 13, 2017, 12:16:56 pm »
You now have to link to the Book Report from your BOOKSHELF and not from your dashboard  :)

That worked! Thanks. I really appreciate the reply.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New KDP dashboard - Link for Book Report
« on: June 13, 2017, 07:55:27 am »
I deleted and readded the Book Report button to my bookmark bar, but it doesn't do anything. After I go to the KDP dashboard and click on the button, it clears the window and that's it. Nothing spinning to show that it is working--just nothing.

Does anyone have any additional information on this? (Thanks in advance.)

And do what? I was wide for three years and only started making money when I put my books into select. I'm not a fan of the other sites because they never did anything for me.
Same here. I tried going wide for three years with no results. As soon as I went Select, I started making 9 times as much (I went from $150 to $200 a month to $2,000). So while I would like to go wide, it just isn't practical for me as things are today. I toy with the idea but can't bring myself to pull the trigger.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: January 19, 2017, 07:07:40 am »
Thanks to all the responses--I really appreciate them. I have a new Regency underway (okay, well, I'm only on chapter 4) so I've bookmarked this thread.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about Mailchimp unsubscribes
« on: January 14, 2017, 01:40:10 pm »
If you are getting so many unsubscribes and abuse reports it is triggering a response from MailChimp I would be taking a hard look at how you obtained those subscribers.

Personally I have organic subscribers kept seperate from those gathered through giveaways so I can monitor unsubscribes and abuse reports. Some list building activities authors use can result in non-responsive lists. I did a giveaway that everyone raves about and while it netted me 2k subscribers they were non-responsive with low open rates, tiny click rates and large unsubscribe/spam reports. I ended up ditching that entire list, in hindsight it hadn't been worth the money nor did it live up to the hype. Now I stick to organic subscribers, I would rather have a small and highly responsive list than a large one that costs me money and is non-responsive and causing problems.

That's exactly what I've done in the past, but the last few months, I've participated in giveaways (as you mentioned) and while I got new subscribers, there does seem to be a high unsubscribe rate. It worries me. I think I preferred the old, organic way.

I just wish I didn't get sick every time I send out a newsletter, fearing spam reports and massive unsubscribes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about Mailchimp unsubscribes
« on: January 14, 2017, 11:09:22 am »
Don't chase them. Don't worry about them. Just keep building your lists. Unsubscribe are normal and you cannot control them.

Yes--but we're not talking about the usual few.
Mailchimp told me to do the whole unsubscribe/resubscribe thing, but I'd really rather not do that if I don't have to. I will talk to them again, because I really don't want this to continue to happen.

I mean, I can handle a few unsubscribes, but not when they get into the hundreds.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about Mailchimp unsubscribes
« on: January 14, 2017, 08:57:13 am »
I read this because I actually get sick to my stomach every time I send out a newsletter because of unsubscribes. I've gotten to the point where I just send out newsletters if I have a book for free or on sale at $0.99. My last new release at an initial sale price of $0.99 triggered a slew of unsubscribes and a nasty letter from MailChimp and now I'm beyond terrified to send anything at all.

The thing is, I want to groom my list, but on the last batch of unsubscribes, the people who unsubscribed were not just two-star people, most were 3 or even 4 star. So now I don't even know if I should remove the 2,000 or so 2-star people in hopes of getting fewer unsubscribes or what? I mean, they weren't the bulk of the unsubscribes.

I try to share things and include recipes and news to spark interest when I send out newsletters about free or discounted books,and I rarely send more than one newsletter a month. If that. I don't feel like I'm abusing my subscribers. (IF anything, quite the reverse.)

How do you avoid unsubscribes if they unsubscribe even when you offer them a free book? (I sent another newsletter with a free book offer and got another bunch of unsubscribes.)

I'm now so sick with terror that I don't know when I'll send another newsletter again. I'm terrified Mailchimp is going to terminate my account.

Should I just email all subscribers outside of Mailchimp (which will take days, but...) and ask them to resubscribe and then just unsubscribe everyone? The nuclear option. Which I imagine will leave me with only a few hundred instead of thousands of subscribers. Not to mention that I'd have to find another book to offer them for free as enticement.

Writers' Cafe / Re: PAPERBACK WITH KDP
« on: January 05, 2017, 10:19:06 am »
Glad you started this because I have some questions about it.
I was getting ready to pull in my books from CreateSpace when I got that warning that once you do that, you won't be able to get author copies at a cheap rate any more because KDP doesn't support that. Since I get a lot of copies for book signings and events like that, it was kind of a non-starter for me.

But...I was looking at this because I *hoped* that it might allow you to change things like: update a cover; replace/update the interior; or update the title without having to write them an email and go through them to do it like you do with CreateSpace.

Does anyone know if KDP allows you to make changes to a paperback once it is published through KDP?

I'm also wondering (other than cleaner linking of paperback to ebook and seeing sales all in one place in KDP) what advantages this might have?

Because it is a serious DISadvantage if you can't get cheap author copies.

Thanks for any comments.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Plotting - who else is low tech?
« on: October 14, 2016, 07:29:20 am »
I do a combination of plotting on paper/computer. But the majority of it is still done on various colored paper and notebooks. The process somehow makes my brain work better :)

Yes--that. :)
Every once in a while, I also go to the dollar store and get these large pieces of poster board and then I draw blocks on it to make a grid of about 20 which I label as chapters 1 to 20. Then I write out the point of view character and one or two points I want to make in that chapter. Some I just leave blank at first. Then, as I write, I annotate it with any little things I think I need to remember, like "Mark sees blood on axe." And I sometimes use colored stickies on it for temporary notes.

You see, I write mysteries, and what I find is that sometimes I need to "see the whole thing" and see where certain clues or character statements crop up. If I try to plot it out too firmly in advance, it often doesn't work out, so I do a combo on "seat of the pants" and plotting. This last story, I didn't do the poster board thing and just went with a few handwritten (gel pens) notes.

I change techniques with almost every story it seems, but I've never been able to do everything on the computer. I just need to hand write things at times, and sometimes I just really need the posterboard method. But I do use a program called: The Brain, to keep track of characters and research because I reuse characters and research and The Brain lets me create links to multiple places (in my case, links to multiple stories) without having to copy/paste all the time. And I note in the characters things like descriptions and make links between characters for relationships, etc. That works for me long term, particularly to keep things like eye color straight.

But other than that, I just use MS Word. I tried Excel, but found the things I wanted to keep straight in Excel worked better for me as hand written on that piece of poster board. :) Or just on a piece of paper.

Thanks for the thread! I love reading what others do because I pick up other techniques that I try/adapt. It makes it interesting.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 03, 2016, 01:14:04 pm »
Thanks - and I will take a look at your website. I really appreciate all the replies and offers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 03, 2016, 06:10:38 am »
Hello Amy,

I'm love to design your cover! I haven't had the opportunity to design any historical romance covers in the past and would love to design one in the genre. I'm a huge historical romance junkie, so I do have a lot of experience with the genre and what covers look like. I think we could work together to come up with something that will really stand out. I'm including a link to my website with my portfolio, although I don't have any historical examples, but you can see what my work is like. Wishing you a lot of luck in your cover search :)
Thanks, I will check out the site, I really appreciate it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 03, 2016, 06:09:08 am »
I can't recommend Kim Killion highly enough. She does fantastic work. Some of her work is in my sig line.  ;-)
Thanks, I really appreciate it and will look into Million's work.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 02, 2016, 10:49:34 am »
Alice, I would love to look at your covers, can you tell me your author name or website? (Or send me a message if you wish).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 01, 2016, 01:50:07 pm »
I agree--although I am blushing to admit that I accepted a cover with Big Ben--I will have to ask for a revision. I do a great deal of research, down to plants and animals the someone may refer to and agonize over whether to refer to a critter using a name commonly used at the time (and risk people think I'm referring to the wrong thing because common names often change) or whether to use a scientific name or the modern common name. I even check phrases and sayings to make sure they were around at the time.

I generally write Regencies on the cusp of the Victorian era, when the "waistline" started to drop and the skirts started to become a little looser, but not at the point where you have the huge "Gone with the Wind" type skirts and a waistline at the natural waist.

I like to think I'm more toward the Heyer-esque end of the spectrum--the characters are often trapped by convention although they do push it at times.

But in defense of some of those covers, I know some authors who just had to accept a highly inaccurate cover because that's what their publisher gave them. I was in that position more than once, I'm afraid to say.

I'm just hoping to get a good cover that is at least mostly accurate, even if it is unlikely that I will wind up with something accurately depicting the clothing worn in the 1820's. There are a lot from the strict Regency period and quite a few Victorian. The thing is, I'd rather now use anything modified from the Ackermann's repository because to be honest--I've never liked those prints. The women all look bizarre and often have extraordinarily long and thick forearms, not to mention that even ones later colored just look unpleasant to me. Even though I know the clothing is totally accurate.

Anyway, I'm glad to see responses and am checking into some of the websites/info given.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 01, 2016, 12:01:24 pm »
They have some nice historical premades here, some are Regency.

Do people really put large swirly dresses on Regency covers? They have seen Jane Austen type dramas etc.? A Regency dress is a straight skirt with an empire line bodice (just below the bosom). I just noticed with the below page, that one of the images says Regency, but it is a large, puffy dress, which is not Regency at all, LOL! has got some nice premades as well.
I know but very few of the Regency covers are accurate. There are some, like Heyer's books, but those are the rare ones. Interestingly enough, the big trad houses are the worst for swirly skirt covers. [emoji2]

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: October 01, 2016, 11:58:21 am »
I'd love to help.

Here are a couple that I recently finished in the historical fiction genre.

Here's my website with more portfolio/packages/pricing etc:
Wow, those are beautiful. I will check out your site. Thanks

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Writers' Cafe / Looking for Historical Romance/Regency Cover Artist
« on: September 30, 2016, 01:29:55 pm »
Looking through past KB posts and searching online, I haven't really been able to find a cover artist with a portfolio that includes Regency/Historical Romance covers that really look fresh.

I'll be coming out with a new Regency (sweet) in about three months and I wanted to start working with an artist to create a cover so that I can do a reveal and begin talking about the book in advance of release.

What I'm looking for is a fresh take on historical romance/Regency. Right now, the current trend is still big, swirly skirts. I'm okay with that, but I'd like it to be a little fresher with richer colors. So many covers look washed out/tired. I'd be open to a new slant on Regency's--something light, new, with a bit of mystery. The book is a single title--not part of one of my existing series.

Let me know if this is something that intrigues you or if you have a cover artist who you think would be perfect.

I'd need at least the ebook cover (and if we could work out a paperback cover suitable for CreateSpace, that would be great, too).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Be Strictly Apolitical to Avoid Alienating Readers?
« on: September 11, 2016, 05:47:39 pm »
I like what you're saying, and I also like the glasses on your dog (assuming it's yours, and so long as the dog doesn't object.)
Just to present a slightly different view... I have been driven away from some authors due to different views when the character you are supposed to like or identify with begins to spout incorrect information in order to make a different viewpoint seem horrible. A classic example would be a character that hates hunters on the grounds that all hunters use Uzis to obliterate their prey. It becomes difficult to maintain sympathy for characters that make statements like that, even if you aren't a hunter and don't intend to ever hunt. I think when a lot of readers say they dropped a certain author because of politics, it is because of reasons like that where there is something espoused that makes a sweepingly denigrating statement about other views, beliefs, or politics that simply leaves a bad taste in the reader's mouth even if that reader doesn't actually hold the political view being attacked. I know I have stopped admitting that I believe certain things because others with the same belief have pushed their agenda and denigrated others holding other beliefs to the point where I am ashamed of admitting that I "one of them". I would rather defend those being denigrated even if I don't hold the same beliefs. (If that even makes sense.)
Anyway, I think people kind of need to look at that aspect too.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: First person present vs first person past
« on: August 26, 2016, 05:55:06 am »
Just want to note that I always check and if a story is in present tense, I won't read it. To my ear, present tense sounds childish and if there are any descriptive passages, they sound like a game of "I spy with my little eye." My opinion: I don't think there is anything more awkward or silly than a descriptive passage or action passage in present tense.

I should note that if the story is 99% dialog, very little action or description, then it's okay for me. I also like it in short sections, like when a different character (usually the bad guy) is the narrator for that section, and the rest of the book is in past tense (whether that is first person or third).

I love first person.
Don't like present tense except in short bursts.

That is just my opinion--some people like present tense. I just find it irritating in a full-length novel and I end up "translating" it into past tense when I read, just to make it readable.

I also completely disagree with the "good for comedy" and that past tense is "good for melancholy." That's not my experience at all nor the impression I get when I read it. I love first person/past tense and it is great for comedy--a lot of the comedy crime/murder stories I've read are in first person/past tense and they are hilarious. In fact, I often find that if I start a story that is in first person/past tense, my immediate reaction is: Oh, goody, a witty/fun story! Yippee! Of course it can be  used to evoke a melancholy tone--it's just the words used.

Just saying...

I am so like you. My tastes are kind of weird, but for years, I was pretty well satisfied by the Sci Fi market (not fantasy) with the occasional Gothic thrown in. Most of my books were bought as old paperbacks from used book stores. Then I kind of moved on to mysteries with the occasional horror. And a sprinkling of old romantic suspense from the 70's.

Then I found indie authors and Whoo-Hoo! All kinds of different things to read at usually very reasonable prices. I was in heaven. Then I noticed trends toward a sort of "sameness."

But for me, I'm still pretty happy because some small publishers have realized that there is a vast backlog of older books from late 19th century through the 20th century, that they can publish at relatively low prices and reap the benefits. I'm finding this to be a real saving grace, particularly for finding really interesting older mysteries from a time when writers were still experimenting with the mystery genre and trying different things (before it got so regularized into Cozy vs Procedural, vs etc).

And Amazon, bless their little hearts, have figured out that I like books on the fringes and they've suggested a lot of interesting books that are new to me, even if they were written a hundred years ago.

This isn't very helpful for new writers, except to say that if you want to try something a little different, do so. You may not make money for 100 years or so, but I can guarantee that you will find readers who will be grateful to you for writing something that is a little different. Even if it isn't/never becomes great literature.

Remember: Good writing isn't always popular and what is popular isn't always good writing.
There are no guarantees.
It's just a toss of the dice.
As a reader first and foremostly, because that is as what I started right in my childhood, I agree with you, and I guess this is your tangent as well.

On average I manage to read five or six books a month, and I listen to maybe double as many audiobooks while working my 9-to-5 job. That means I read upwards of 18-20 books per month. I prefer engaging, interesting, sophisticated and original books, and I try choosing such books when I buy. My spread, for the past few years was 1/3 established (Big 6) authors and 2/3 indies.

During the first years into indies I discovered many exciting new authors with fresh voices and stories I loved. I was quite happy with that status quo and never thought that could change. All these quirky, strange, different stories no one ever published before, because they'd never make it through any slush pile, or if, then only with great difficulties. Unfortunately this has changed.

During the last year there were less than a handful of indie books I found enjoyable and fresh. What I met though were many books written to the market. They come along at a faster clip than the trade publishers would publish them.  They all are self-published or from small indie presses, and they swing with the it-book-flavour of the day. The volume is so enormous, that these largely mediocre to downright boring books drown out the very few which are still original voices. I'm talking books which are produced along all the lines of proper marketing, fully edited and given a good cover and blurb.  They obviously even earn their authors handsome income, which is fine for the authors.

It's the reader me who is unhappy there. Because not a single written to market book I read or listened to the past two years was truly enjoyable. In view of how rare original and daring voices have become, I can well understand the despair of another author-reader over the push beginning authors are exposed to, a push to comply with these marketing rules. That smothers the content I would like to read. It's a bit like how the French view fast-food culture invading their cuisine.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Covers
« on: July 10, 2016, 11:52:28 am »
You've already gotten some really good advice, so this may be extraneous, but I write sweet romances and always have either  one character or both main characters on the cover. There are lots of sweet romances that you might want to look at to get a feel for cover possibilities.

That's nothing new and basically what everyone else said.

What I really wanted to say, was that while I can understand you might like your cover, when I first saw it and saw the hand coming out of the ground, I thought it was a HORROR novel. You see the hand, first. Someone buried alive, digging his/her way out before going on a revenge rampage.

Then I saw the heart at the bottom and thought, wow, that's weird. Zombie love novel maybe?

My point being that while I know you love your cover and it has special meaning for you, when people are flicking through Amazon pages and seeing lists of novels with covers, that hand coming out of the ground is a definite HORROR image. Think the last scene in Carrie, zombie novels, buried alive, etc. That type of scene, particularly placed at the top of the page where your eye goes first, will definitely tickle all those reactions. The reader may later see the heart and rescan the hand, but that's only if they haven't already gone on to other books.

Romance novels tend to have what I call a "flow-feel" to them, i.e. many have a beautiful woman in a silk gown that sort of flows over the page, or a couple (either clothed or not depending), or some kind of artistic-pretty-flows nicely image. Like I've seen some with something as simple as a pair of flip-flops on the beach at the edge of a wavelet. The water, etc, gives it a flow and the image is generally suggestive (lots of classic "beach" scenes in romances).

Sorry - don't want to seem harsh, but I did want to let you know what I saw when I glanced quickly at your cover. I read horror occasionally, so maybe that affects me. Blame that if this doesn't make sense to you.

I am being told that I need to change my cover and make it "hot".  It's not an erotic romance.  There are only two sex scenes in it and they are mild in comparison to most romances.  It's based on a true story and I wanted to tell the story.  The cover defines the book.  A strong hand, coming from the roots of the earth, from a heart to hold a child's hand.  It's about a father who gave all for his son.  He's saved by a woman, an equal, but the book is as much about him - ONE GOOD MAN - as it is about the female protagonist.  To me, having a semi-naked couple on the cover just wasn't respectful to the story. It IS a romance - but it's not a bodice-ripper, hot sex on every page book. I like my cover!  I've played around with changing it but I don't see any way to put the half naked models and this book together.

I know covers are important.  But do all romance covers have to display sexual imagery in order to sell? 

My book Obsession is XXX rated.  That cover will have semi nude models super-imposed over a regular book cover.  I'll add those 2 covers to my profile so anyone who cares to comment can see.  And my Road to Romance series features the silhouette of couples and a photo of the destination.  They're not explicitly sexual books either.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How many women read science fiction?
« on: July 01, 2016, 06:37:06 am »
Studies like these always make me smile because I'm a woman and during my teens and twenties, I preferred to read Science Fiction--but not the fantasy--real, hard science, science fiction. And I've always had a preference for male writers. Then, as the "sciencie, Science Fiction" started fading after the Cyber Punk period (I loved Cyber Punk, though), I moved on to mysteries, crime fiction, and Gothics (because there was usually a mystery involved). Then I added in a little suspense in the form of Mary Stewart & Phyllis Whitney, a little romance in the form of Georgette Heyer & Jane Austen, and  little paranormal in the form of Barbara MIchaels. But I never really got into romance, per se, except a few very specific authors (mainly those listed above). I'm back to mysteries now and that's what I read most of the time, mostly cozy, historical, or paranormal, with the occasional steam punk thrown in just for something different. Oh, and horror (but not the gory kind). And of course: H.H. Munro and P.G. Wodehouse.

I still prefer male authors and read crime caper (particularly Florida-set ones) when I see one that looks like it will be interesting because I enjoy the writing. For some reason, there aren't a lot of male cozy/humorous mystery writers at this point, but I keep on the lookout for them.

So there are some exceptions to all rules, though I already know that I'm kind of weird so you might want to consider me a "fringe element."

Writers' Cafe / Re: How long do you think a series should be?
« on: June 16, 2016, 09:25:05 am »
Wow, thanks for this.
I was just about to ask for advice on this very subject, and you pretty well covered it already.
My experiences pretty much mirror yours. I've already planned out the 6th book in my best selling series, but the last few haven't sold that well, so I'm thinking that will be my last in that particular series. But I will write more and use the "trilogy" thing because that seems to work the best. They will all be in the same universe, with drop-ins by familiar characters, but that way, I will have more "first book in the series" books to play with as they seem to do a lot better on Bookbub and do better driving sales to the other books.

So thanks again, I'm so glad you spelled out your reasoning on this. It was very helpful to me.

The math of the matter is that each subsequent book will sell less than the previous one. For me, I get about 60% sell through from the first to second and then each book is about 90 to 95% after that. Now, if you have Bella Forest kind of thing going on then it doesn't matter if book 27 sells only ten percent of book one sells(overall) because book one sells in the millions. BUT if you are like me and book one only sells 40 copies a day then that means book 6 might sell through at 10 or 15 a day. I finished the series at book six.

My second series didn't have as good of a sell through and I will be finishing it on book 4.

I have a plan in place for all my future series. They will all be trilogies. If one does very well. I will have another trilogy attached to that trilogy and so on and so on as long as reader kept wanting them. The big thing about doing it this way is that you have many entry points(book ones). You can continually advertise them and they would feed off each other.

Just look at the brilliant women in romance with the families. The Ferros, The Sullivans. They kill it by having many entry points but keeping it in the same familiar world.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Authors: What Does Success Look Like to You
« on: May 13, 2016, 07:51:26 am »
My goals have always been modest and practical.
My original goal was simply to earn $12,000 a year extra to give us some breathing room and allow us to afford our hobbies (like bird watching, astronomy, flying quadcopters, fishing, cooking, gardening, the list goes on). Now that we've hit that mark and have discovered that making $12,000 a year extra only means that that money goes to paying taxes and leaves us nothing extra, my new goal is to make enough extra per year to pay the extra taxes and still not completely zero out the account. That is, to actually leave us enough after April 15 to enable us to afford our hobbies. :) What a dream!

I recently retired so the above is still true only more so. That is, we need the extra money to afford our interests (which now also include traveling to do our bird watching, etc) and I still haven't found the "sweet spot" where we actually get to keep some of the money I earn from writing and don't have to just save it all so I can send the entire amount to the government for taxes every quarter.

Before I got to this success level, my goal was to earn enough to pay our state taxes without taking that money out of savings. Of course, that is on top of the money the feds and state already take out of our checks (with no exemptions and kicking in extra, anyway).

Maybe my goal should be to earn enough to move somewhere not affiliated with any government whatsoever where we could actually keep the money we earn and have saved from a lifetime of scrimping and pinching every darn penny until it shrieks for mercy. ha, ha, ha.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousand Words A Day Club 2016
« on: April 12, 2016, 07:20:53 am »
I've fallen behind, too, on putting in my numbers. But I got 2,000 words yesterday!
Hope to get another 1,000 today.

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