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Topics - C.F.

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Writers' Cafe / KDP delivery cost?
« on: February 04, 2014, 04:42:10 am »
If the Amazon delivery cost is supposed to be based on file size, how come it went up a penny when I uploaded a revised version of my book that was half the size? I changed the cover image that's embedded in my mobi to a smaller version and that made the file have the size of the original. But when I uploaded it, the delivery cost went from 6 cents to 7. Is there something I'm missing here?

Also, if anyone is inclined to share, what are typical delivery costs?  

ETA: I uploaded the new version and then went to the rights and pricing page to get the delivery cost. However, I didn't publish it since it appeared it wasn't going to benefit me. Does the delivery cost change after it's actually published? I'm so confused.

My husband hypothesized that my larger cover image was so large that Amazon might have automatically resized it and the smaller cover image was small enough that Amazon didn't resize it but it's larger than the resized larger version?? I doubt that's the case, but it's the only mind gymnastics we can do to make it make sense.

Writers' Cafe / Today is a milestone day
« on: December 30, 2013, 05:45:55 pm »
Earlier this year I went from full-time to part-time at work because my income from writing was matching my low paying job. After about a month or two of part-time, I told them I wouldn't be working anymore, but that they could put me as a seasonal employee to work during the busier part of the year. That was almost six months ago. Today was the day I was supposed to go back to work. I told my manager I had a better offer :P.

So I'm finally writing without a safety net :o. I'm sure most people on here would need to be making a lot more before quitting their job. However, my husband and I live very frugally, and my job was very low paying. It's always been more important to me to be doing what I love than to be financially secure. My writing income pays half of all of our household expenses and has been doing so for a year, so my husband supported me in not going back to work.

Late Friday night, the last book in my trilogy went live. It was a great way to kick off officially not having a job anymore. I have another book in the last stages of editing, another one that's about halfway through the editing process, and another one that I'm getting to my editor on the sixth. It feels great!

I feel like a little kid fighting against sleep so I can continue working while simultaneously looking forward to waking up and doing it all over again. I keep waiting for that to wear off :).

The Kboards has been an invaluable resource. I don't know how I could have done it without all of you guys. This is where I met my editor, my cover artist, and made great friends. Just knowing I'm not alone on this journey is priceless.

Anyway, I just wanted to post today to let you guys know how much I appreciate you and maybe give a little encouragement to those who need it. I'm also open to answering questions if anyone has any. 2014 is going to be amazing!

Writers' Cafe / Help finding a thread please...
« on: December 26, 2013, 02:07:30 pm »
I could have sworn I bookmarked this thread, but I can't find it anywhere. I've searched every combination of words I can think of and still can't find it.

There was a thread within the last few months talking about series and how to fill it out on the KDP bookshelf so that it showed properly on Amazon. Different people chimed in with examples of how they do it and what the result was on Amazon. Does anyone know the thread I'm talking about?

Writers' Cafe / The Ocean at the End of the Lane
« on: July 15, 2013, 01:35:23 pm »
Anyone know why there's two versions of The Ocean at the End of the Lane on Amazon? If you go to the Kindle store and look at the best sellers list for fantasy, it's both #1 and #100. The one at #100 says it's currently unavailable and the cover looks different.

Writers' Cafe / OMG! BookBub results today!!!
« on: July 11, 2013, 12:29:40 pm »
I did a BookBub promo today on my free book, Measure of Devotion.

I'm #97 in the free store!!! I NEVER imagined I would ever break the top 100. On the book page it says #99, but on the list itself it's showing as #97! This is crazy!!!

Measure of Devotion is currently #21 in the free store and #1 in literary fiction!

Measure of Strength, on sale for $0.99 down from $5.99 is #545 and #1 in gay romance!

Thank you for all your support, everyone! This is the craziest feeling :).

Writers' Cafe / Word of caution about Smashwords
« on: July 11, 2013, 08:31:46 am »
I found out yesterday that Smashwords has been distributing one of my books to Kobo, despite that book being opted out since March 13th. According to the Smashwords site, they ship to Kobo daily, so you can imagine my frustration at my book still being there 4 months later.

To make matters worse, I have a Bookbub ad today, and, you guessed it, they are linking to the Smashwords version. I sent them the correct link, but they still sent out the wrong version (I'm guessing it was too late). I'm not upset with Bookbub, it's not their fault. However, I am more than a little upset at Smashwords.

When I first uploaded there I didn't realize that you have to opt-out of distribution outlets. It would never occur to me that a site would take it upon itself to assume that they can distribute everywhere. However, that's my fault for not becoming more familiar with the way it worked. I take responsibility for that, and as soon as I realized it, I opted out of every retailer except B&N (it took me, I believe, two weeks to realize it and opt-out).

The only reason I used Smashwords is because it is the only way to go free on B&N. I don't even want to be free on B&N that badly, it hasn't done me any good, but I have a problem with essentially telling my readers that they have to pay more for my book if they read on a Nook. I know they can buy the epub elsewhere or convert the mobi and put it on their Nook, but that just doesn't seem fair to them.

I contacted Smashwords about this issue, and, since the last time I contacted them it took a week to get a response, I tweeted Mark Coker about it. Someone from Smashwords contacted me well before I heard back from Mark (Mark didn't take long to get back to me, support was just quicker). They were courteous and professional and are working to resolve the issue. I want to be fair to them. However, there shouldn't be an issue for them to resolve.

I never noticed before that a Smashwords version was on Kobo. If any of you have dealt with Kobo's search engine, you know what I mean when I say it was hard enough finding my own version that I uploaded through Kobo. It never occurred to me to keep digging endlessly to find this Smashwords version.

The lesson: when you upload to Smashwords, you are losing a lot of control. This is why I didn't upload to them for so long (this and the frustrating requirement to put "Smashwords Edition" in the epub) and only did so when my book went free everywhere else and I wanted to be fair to Nook readers.

So, the Bookbub ad that I was hoping would stir things up on Kobo is just going to improve the ranking of a book that shouldn't be there in the first place. Not to mention that the version that Smashwords shipped to Kobo is not the most current one.  :'(

It makes me incredibly angry that Smashwords has been distributing my book without my knowledge or consent for 4 months. I understand it takes time, but 4 months when they say they ship daily is ridiculous. I just don't understand how that can be regarded as professional. I believe that if you're setup as a business, you should run it like a business.

I hope I've been fair in this posting. I've certainly tried to be even though I'm so upset. I just think authors need to go in with both eyes open and realize that when you choose to go through a third party, you are giving up a lot of control, and in the case of Smashwords, it can take months for your wishes to be honored.

Also, I just wanted to vent a little to people who would understand my frustration :D.

Writers' Cafe / Need advice about Smashwords and B&N
« on: May 22, 2013, 11:29:36 am »
Right now I'm using Smashwords to distribute Measure of Devotion to B&N so it will be free. I'm debating pulling it from expanded distribution and putting it back on sale through NookPress. I have two major problems with Smashwords:

1. They only allow a short description for B&N. I don't know why B&N has no problem accepting my long description when I go directly through them, but Smashwords assures me that B&N will only accept the short description through Smashwords. To be clear, the short description is less than three tweets in length. How are you supposed to make a book blurb that is shorter than three tweets?

2. I have no clue how many free downloads I've gotten on B&N because, as we all know, Smashwords takes forever to update. I'm guessing by the sales rank that it's not much.

I'm thinking about putting it up on NookPress for $0.99 since that's the lowest I can go. It already has a one star review saying that it's free on Amazon, which I don't mind, so people can get it there. (BTW, I reported this review to B&N and they have absolutely no problem with reviewers sending readers to their competitors. Honestly, it's like they're trying to go out of business.)

The only downside I can see to going direct through NookPress again is that it won't be free like it is everywhere else. I'll also have to update my site to note that it's no longer free on B&N.

What would you do? And if you would go through NookPress, would you price it at $0.99 or the original list price of $4.99? I was still selling on B&N at $4.99 when it was free everywhere else. My sales have been consistent on B&N whether Measure of Devotion was free or not.

Writers' Cafe / Yay! Amazon price matched free!
« on: December 06, 2012, 07:48:41 am »
Measure of Devotion has been price matched to free on Amazon! I had no idea until I checked my reports this morning. Right now it's sitting at #922 in the free store. I have no clue how long it's going to last since it's no longer free anywhere else, but I'm hoping it lasts long enough for me to climb higher in the ranks. I've already seen a little bump in sales for the sequel!

So happy right now!

And a tip: if you only check your reports on an iPad, you might want to turn it to landscape once in a while so you can see that free column ;D. I wondered why I was getting no sales and then happened to look at my reports in landscape instead of portrait and saw that handy price match column. I feel like such a dork for not even knowing when my own book was free ::).

Writers' Cafe / The Righteous by Michael Wallace...
« on: September 01, 2012, 06:53:53 pm » the special offer on my Kindle right now! I love seeing KB authors promoted :). I think I'll turn my wireless off so it sticks around for a while.

Writers' Cafe / I'm so excited!
« on: May 24, 2012, 10:19:10 pm »
It has been a fun couple of days around here. Late on the 21st I finally let go and published my first novel, Measure of Devotion, and it went live the morning of the 22nd.

Since then, nothing has gone how I thought it would, and all in a good way (mostly).

In the first 48 hours of being live, my book sold 24 copies, only 2 of those to people I know. That means somewhere in the world right now are 22 strangers with my book! I have no idea how these people found my book or why they bought it.

Today sales came to a halt until a single copy sold right before midnight. No problem, I've already sold more than I thought I would in my first month.

Then, on a whim tonight, I check my sales for the other countries, and I made a sale in the UK. You know what that means? A person with a really cool accent now owns a copy of my book! That also led me to check out my UK book page and I was very excited to see that it actually had the correct categories on it. (The US page stubbornly insists on categorizing it as a nonfiction theater book ???)

I'm so excited by everything that has happened and I wanted to share it with people who would understand. I really never thought my first few days would go this well.

The takeaway from all this? All I can think of is it must be my cover that is selling my book. Thank you!

The Book Bazaar / A love story
« on: May 23, 2012, 07:37:36 pm »

Writers' Cafe / Blurb help, please.
« on: May 16, 2012, 08:20:49 pm »


I got an email from KDP saying that I can't offer any type of sample or teaser for my book if it's in select.

Writers' Cafe / Craft Chat
« on: September 12, 2011, 11:40:38 pm »
I have an idea: let's have this thread devoted to craft. If you want to see more craft discussion, contribute to this thread regularly and it'll stay on the front page. Not only will we get to discuss how to become better writers, but when newbies come to the boards they'll see this thread and hopefully that will encourage them to ask questions about writing right along with their questions about how the heck do they get their book from Word onto Amazon.

One major rule: Keep this a judgment free zone, please! I know from experience that it can be intimidating coming forward with a craft question. It can be intimidating answering a craft question. After all, will people think I'm stupid for not knowing such-and-such? Will people think my writing sucks because I can't do a good job of describing such-and-such? Please come forward with your questions and if you feel like you can be of help, please share your wisdom, tips, or general I-think-this-is-how-it's-supposed-to-work comments.

I'll start us off.

One of the hardest challenges I faced when I began writing my first novel was pacing. How much should I put on the page? When should my protagonist start falling in love? How far apart should my major plot points be?

For me this was difficult because I knew everything about my characters, I could go on and on about them but I wasn't naive enough to think my readers would enjoy that as much as I would :). The answer to my problem came from the book Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. This book was an absolute godsend. For some reason, even though I had read numerous books on this very topic, this one I was able to wrap my head around and it all just clicked. He outlines all the major points of your story and when each of them should take place in terms of percentages. Ever since I've read that book I look for the structure he describes in every movie I watch and book I read, and sure enough they're all dead on (the good ones at least).

I wish I could go into more detail, but that would really be doing a disservice. I highly recommended getting a copy of Story Engineering, or if you don't want to put the money out for it quite yet, Larry Brooks has a blog at that covers all the same material, just not in the easy to consume book format.

I know it's a cop out directing you to a book and website, but I highly doubt I'm qualified to teach anyone anything about craft, so I'll point you to the pros :).

Now it's your turn: What resources are out there to help us improve our craft? What problems have you had in your own writing and how have you overcome them? Or are you still looking for solutions? Or do you have a better solution to pacing than the one I gave?

Take it away!

Writers' Cafe / Amazon to bring ebook lending to local libraries
« on: April 21, 2011, 06:27:51 am »
I just saw this on Mashable: Amazon to bring ebook lending to local libraries.

As a Kindle user, I'm very excited about this. I think it's also going to be a way for Amazon to sell more Kindles since it's a great value to be able to say that you can borrow library books with it.

What do you all think?

Writers' Cafe / A little DRM anecdote
« on: March 17, 2011, 02:51:43 pm »
I know the DRM horse has been beat to death, resurrected, and then beat to death again on this site multiple times. But, I just had an experience today that really brought the issue home.

I was talking with a friend of mine today and she mentioned that she heard the Shadowfever series by Karen Moning is really good. I had downloaded the sample of Shadowfever and liked it, but when I found out it was the last book of a series I had wanted to find out if the entire series was good before I made a purchase.

So now I want to buy the series. Here's where the problem comes. I have a Barnes & Noble giftcard. I only read on a Kindle. I'm not going to go spend money on a book when I have these giftcards that need to be used. I know how to strip the DRM from a book, but I really don't want to be forced to break the law to read a book on my Kindle that I have bought. Furthermore, I would like my money to support those who choose not to use DRM and allow me to lawfully read my purchases on the device of my choice. This is a legitimate example of why DRM is a pain for us law abiding citizens who want to give authors and publishers their monetary due.

So, they (author and publisher) lost out on a sale (actually 5 sales since it's a series). I'm sure my lousy purchases don't mean much in the grand scheme of things, after all these are bestselling books. And I'm sure they're that way because the publisher is using DRM to prevent pirating.

Except a quick Google search for shadowfever download shows that it has been pirated. A lot.

To recap:
1. The DRM did not keep these books from being widely pirated.
2. The books were still a success even though they were widely pirated. (Because of or in spite of the pirating is a matter of opinion.)
3. The DRM not only aggravated me, but prevented me from buying.

DRM does not stop pirating, it only acts as a frustrating barrier to legitimate customers.

I've always been against DRM because I have ethical/moral issues with telling people how they can experience media they have paid for. This phone conversation today about these books just brought the whole issue to light on how DRM is a negative thing in the real world application of it.

Writers' Cafe / A question about covers
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:53:27 am »
Ok, this may sound really stupid, but I've never published a book before so this is all new to me. I was wondering if when you hire a cover artist if you already have an idea of what you want. I ask because I have no idea what I want. Not even an idea of an idea. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I'm just not gifted when it comes to that kind of creativity. Do cover artists expect you to have an idea? I literally have no direction when it comes to the cover, other than to tell someone what the story is about and let them come up with something.

Are cover artists going to hate me? Or are they used to authors coming to them without any ideas?

Writers' Cafe / A chance for some free promotion!
« on: February 02, 2011, 06:33:23 pm »
I am happy to say that I now own a Kindle! 8) ;D My husband and I both got the Kindle 3g and we are in love (with each other too of course :)).

I blogged about getting our Kindles on my site and I'm wanting to get recommendations for books to buy. Please head over there now and pimp your stuff in the comments. I would love to get as many recommendations in the comments as possible, even (especially) self-promoting ones. Put as little or as much information as you want. 

Between my husband and I we read pretty much everything so don't be shy! (Plus I have no idea what my readers read.):)

Writers' Cafe / Website services
« on: January 15, 2011, 05:24:00 am »
I noticed that a lot of authors are using free services such as blogger etc. for their sites.  I don't know why more people aren't using their own site with their own domain name, but if it's because you don't know how or think it might be expensive, etc. I thought I'd make an offer to all my fellow KB authors.

I'm willing to make websites for any of you fine folks who would like one for free.  The only cost would be $10/month for hosting (with no minimum commitment or anything like that). 

I'll help you get a domain name such as which will cost $9.28.  I will then setup the hosting and install Wordpress and get the site looking the way you want and show you how to update it.  If you have an existing blog or site I can also import all that over.  I'll also be available for support and help.

This is really a labor of love for my fellow authors.  I think it's important for you to have your own web presence and not rely on someone else who could decide to censor your site, pull it down, etc.  Not saying that will happen, but I think it's wise to have your own site that you actually own.  I'll do my best to work with you to get exactly what you want as long as your expectations are reasonable. Since I'm doing this for free I can't spend 40 hours on one site for example, but I can't imagine anyone wanting anything that I couldn't do for free.

I just wanted to make this available to all of you.  I do this for friends and family and after my time spent in this community I figure you all qualify as friends now :).  I love doing sites and I love supporting my fellow authors so it seemed like a win-win. You can PM for more information or reply to this thread. 

Edited to add more info.

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