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Topics - Diane Patterson

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Writers' Cafe / Length of a book for Bookbub?
« on: October 24, 2015, 09:57:25 pm »
I can't believe I have to ask this.   :o But I don't actually know off-hand.

On Bookbub's requirement pages, it says

Novels and collections of short stories or novellas should be at least 150 pages in length

But what does that mean? Yes, we can all format our books to be any length we want (one word per page!) but I assume Bookbub has a finer formula than that.

I believe Amazon calculates a page at about 350 words, so is Bookbub looking for ~52,500 words?

In 2012 Hugh Howey started a great thread: The self-published authors I want to hear from. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and go read it. It's incredibly inspirational, and the way some writers keep posting (as their fortunes change and improve) is just great.

it's now 2015. We've survived (?) KU 1.0 and we've entered KU 2.0. On another board I'm on, an author asked, "What are some of the biggest trends or questions you're concerned with now?" and half the respondents said, "What effect KU has on my career" and the other half said, "KU has had no effect on me." Seriously, it was like there were two completely different populations and neither could understand what the others were talking about.

The questions Hugh asked in 2012: Are you paying some bills with your writing? Have you quit your day job altogether?

To which I'd add: Are you in KU? What are your plans from here on out? And (as Jolie asked) are you in it to win it (for whatever version of "win" you want)?

Writers' Cafe / Anybody know why my freebie is having a good day?
« on: October 29, 2014, 10:29:37 am »
I've done a Google search on "The Sound of Footsteps" + "Diane Patterson" and nothing has come up. It's already sold 5x over yesterday, and it's only 10:30 where I am.

Writers' Cafe / An ad for my book on my friend's Kindle...
« on: September 17, 2014, 12:12:46 pm »
My friend just texted me with a pic of her Kindle, which shows an ad for one of my books on the splashscreen.

I asked her if she'd bought any of my books, and she isn't sure -- she may have downloaded the freebie (even though I give her all my books for beta reading).

I can't imagine that Amazon knows we know one another, so I'm hoping my book is showing up on a lot of random Kindles today.

Anyhow, my question is: Is this a common thing?

Writers' Cafe / Kindle First program
« on: April 05, 2014, 01:27:46 pm »
I am really sorry if this is a duplicate or well-trodden. I did a search on "Kindle First" but didn't see anything.

I went to the Kindle bestseller lists to see what was what, and immediately saw there were four new books I'd never heard of before high up on the list -- including at Number One. Since that one was a Roman history novel, which I can't get enough of, I checked it out, and it turns out it's free to Prime subscribers under the Kindle First program.

The Kindle First program offers Prime subscribers a choice of 1 out of 4 new books coming from Amazon Publishing. For free.

My question is: obviously the book is benefiting from this -- I Am Livia hasn't even been published yet and it's number one. The other 3 are doing spectacularly well too.

Seems like a huge incentive to go with Amazon's imprints.

Does anyone know how this works for the author? Like, do they get paid per book, either the full 70% or a lesser percentage?

Writers' Cafe / Scheduling ads and promotions (like Bookbub, POI, etc.)
« on: February 12, 2014, 09:56:58 am »
I got together with a number of indie authors last weekend, and one of the things several of them emphasized was: Cascade your promotions. Do Bookbub one day, and then a few days later do ENT, then a few days later do POI... Use the promotions to build off one another, rather than have all the promotions at once, have a spike (and you're not sure which one's responsible), and then fall as fast as you rise.

One thing I didn't think to ask at the time was: do schedule the promotions so they're right about when you want them? Do you pick one to start with -- your start date is "Whatever Bookbub will give me" -- and then try to set them up after that?

I haven't done that many promotions, which is why I'm wondering.

Writers' Cafe / Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, judge rules
« on: December 27, 2013, 11:45:09 am »

A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law and can be freely used by creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate.

Writers' Cafe / Planning new edition of my paperback, and I have a few Qs
« on: December 16, 2013, 12:11:02 pm »
I'm getting ready to publish a number of new works. I've read recommendations to publish through CS using your own ISBNs, not CS's, because lots of places won't deal with CS books (because of the Amazon factor). So I thought, I'm buying ISBNs anyhow, why not use one on the book I've already published through CS? I'm planning on changing the format there anyhow.

However, I'm wondering:

1. Does this plan create a "new" book entirely? And if so...

2. Does this move screw up links to reviews?

I'm assuming that the answer to 2 is no, because I'm still going to link the paperback to the ebook. But I'd like not to lose what reviews I have.

Writers' Cafe / Google changes Gmail image behavior
« on: December 12, 2013, 12:41:22 pm »
Images will now show in Gmail by default.

Have you ever wondered why Gmail asks you before showing images in emails? We did this to protect you from unknown senders who might try to use images to compromise the security of your computer or mobile device... Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.

You won't be able to tell when someone opens your newsletter any more, because Google is going to send everything through a proxy.

Some cynics out there speculate that Google will be coming out with its own analytics package soon.

Rob Reid, found of the Rhapsody music service, is publishing a novel with Random House, and they're pricing it at 99 cents. The kicker? As a veteran and survivor of the music piracy wars, he thinks this is great -- and publishing houses have got to get with it:

Random House is pricing my first novel like an MP3 single. And as the founder of the company that built the Rhapsody music service, I’m thrilled. The reason is that I love writing fiction, but building a big audience for self-published books would require ghoulish levels of social media stamina that I lack (proof: this is only my third blog post in 14 months). This means that if I want to reach readers—and I do—I need the backing and support of a publisher. Make that a solvent publisher.

So hats off to Random House for testing out pricing tactics that some would view as kamikaze lunacy. They released the paperback edition of my novel Year Zero just six month ago. And for at least a few days, the e-book will undersell it by 93 percent (as Amazon conveniently calculates on its Kindle page). Random House wasn't counting on my paperback sales to make its quarter, but it has been experimenting relentlessly with pricing for at least a year now—and not just with small fries like me.

Being reliant on publisher solvency, I’m delighted. This is the only way to survive when the time-honored rules of your industry are collapsing or rewriting themselves all around you. You experiment. You learn. You adapt. You don’t do what the music industry did when faced with its digital bogeyman and whine, litigate, and deny.

The full story is here at Ars Technica.

ETA: I should mention that it's 99c only in the US, apparently. And I'm going to bet the price is going to go up after an introductory period, but we'll see. No way can RH afford to do this with their entire list.

Writers' Cafe / Blurb help! "This isn't a paranormal. REALLY it's not."
« on: September 30, 2013, 03:51:49 pm »
I've written a prequel novella to my series that currently I've entitled "The Ghost In The Walls." The blurb I've come up with it so far is:

There’s no such thing as ghosts. Reality is always much, much worse.

Drusilla Thorne and her sister Stevie need a place to live in San Antonio while Drusilla sets up her new identity. The place they find is insanely cheap — because it’s supposedly haunted. That’s fine with Drusilla, because she knows ghosts aren’t real.

But something is making enough noise to keep her awake at night. And Drusilla will get to the bottom of the haunting.
Sometimes Drusilla needs to remember asking questions might bring answers nobody wants to hear.

I really want to be sure that anyone picking this up isn't going to be surprised when (spoiler alert) there are no ghosts. There is a very terrestrial explanation for everything going on.

Is the lack of ghosts clear from the blurb, or am I going to get angry readers?

Writers' Cafe / Process for finding a cover image
« on: August 24, 2013, 12:37:34 pm »
I've gotten lots of recs to various photo sites. Of course, many images are available at lots of these sites. And if you use Google's image matching service, you can find the many, many places that image has already appeared.

So. To those of you who've made a lot of your own covers...

Do you comparison shop on every image you want?

Or do you pick a photo site that seems to have decent prices and stick with it?

Writers' Cafe / Could VC Andrews publish on KDP today?
« on: August 15, 2013, 02:14:09 pm »
In one thread today someone mentioned VC Andrews and I thought, "Man, I remember those books." Then I ran across this story about how Kiernan Shipka (Don Draper's daughter on "Mad Men") has just signed to star in Lifetime's (!!!) adaptation of Flowers in the Attic.

Well, one mention is nostalgia; two mentions is an excuse to stop trying to write and come to WC to ask.

I know that in the erotica category there's lots of "pseudo-incest" -- daddies get turned into stepdaddies. I know Andrews' books don't qualify as erotica. (Actually, I had to run over to Amazon to see what genre they're considered. They're listed under Genre Fiction: Family Saga, Horror, and Suspense, in case you care.) And they sure don't qualify as pseudo-anything. They're straight-up incest.

Could VC Andrews self-publish her tales of intrafamily woe these days? Could Big 5/Random Penguin publish them and we can't?

Writers' Cafe / Book ranking jumped...but there are no sales?
« on: July 23, 2013, 12:51:11 pm »
I'm trying to wean myself off of constant checking of stats (especially this month...sigh...I need to get this new book out!), so what I often do is look at my Author Central page to see if there are any new reviews. (Which I then don't read. I just like to see when new ones appear.)

Today my ranking went up 300,000 places, which would usually mean I sold a book (or two)...but I checked the dashboard and there's nothing.

Is this a glitch? Is Amazon slow to report sales for someone who isn't selling much at the moment? (See: finish next book, above.) Or maybe some kind of psychological experiment?

Writers' Cafe / This is making me paranoid
« on: June 28, 2013, 08:35:56 pm »
The last three times I've posted to the WC the posts haven't shown up. Is my browser hungry? Am I on Betsy's bad list? Sun spots?

(Mostly, this new topic is a way to test if this post shows up.)

Sorry if this is something really obvious, but I did a search and didn't find it...

I just uploaded my book to Nook Press. When I do a search for it on B&N, only the paperback shows up. If you click on the paperback, you then get a page that has links to the paperback and Nook versions. But there's no indication on the Search results that there's a Nook version.

Is there something I should have clicked when uploading? Or does B&N just takes its own sweet time about updating their results?

My book comes out of Select on 5/15. I set it up for pre-order on Kobo and iTunes.

Today I've gotten an email from KDP saying my book is available elsewhere and they're not happy about it.

I double-checked: Kobo still clearly says "pre-order."

Is this a typical problem and I can just tell KDP what's what? Or is there another problem with setting up pre-order?

Writers' Cafe / KDP suddenly switched my language
« on: April 27, 2013, 06:37:29 am »
Last night I was checking my dashboard to see the last few giveaway numbers roll over, when suddenly everything was in German. The top location for reports switched to Germany (US second).

I thought maybe it was a glitch, but no, this morning, everything is still in German.

Anybody else had this happen?

Before I get started, let me start with the caveat: I am NOT referring to any one in particular with this question. I'm just generally curious.

Lots of authors have generously shared the numbers that they've made from their trade pub contracts and from self-pubbing. How much they made from every sale, what it took to earn out, etc. Often the number of books sold is not astonishing: tens of thousands (more than I've ever sold, but not a crazy, unbelievable number).

Many of these writers begin self-publishing and start moving TONS of books. Hundreds of thousands of books.

Of course, ebook prices tend to be lower than trade pubbed. And writers can get more books out faster, because their readers want their books now.

But still... 100,000 books > 10,000 books, any day of the week. And this kind of numerical discrepancy gets mentioned again...and again...and again.

So my question is: what's going on here?

1) Trade pub houses have much higher expenses (after all, they need to foot the bill for the books that don't do so well, as well as the big ones), so simply producing a book makes it difficult to produce a lot of them, or
2) Physical distribution impacts the number of books that can be sold by as much as an order of magnitude, or
3) Price (7.99 for a trade paperback vs 2.99 for a self-pub ebook) plays such huge factor in attractiveness of books that paper books will never move as fast as ebooks, or
4) Trade pub houses have been unbelievably ripping off authors, to a degree no one previously suspected?

I know Kris Rusch had come right and said publishers are cooking the books. But is this a general suspicion with trade pubbed authors? Because if I'd been selling 10,000 books with a house and then turned around to move 10x books on my own, I'd be looking for someone to start 'splainin'.

Writers' Cafe / #57 in the Free store!
« on: April 22, 2013, 02:36:25 pm »
Update: I CRACKED the Top 100 on the Free store!   :o  #57!!  #72!!

...I'd be dancing around, but I'm at Starbucks right now and they might not appreciate that...

Okay, I'm no Dalya, but STILL -- this is VERY exciting for me (after less than a day of being free)!

(And, uh, if anyone here wants to help me get to an even lower number, I'd really appreciate it...)

(It's amazing how many brown bars of doom this removes from the Dashboard!)

Writers' Cafe / Squee! First remittance email!
« on: April 22, 2013, 08:46:49 am »
I uploaded my book in February, and I just got my first remittance email from Amazon for February's sales!


(It's not a huge check -- I could maybe buy the next twenty people a small coffee at Starbucks. Which isn't much but would make for one heck of a party at that Starbucks! BUT I'M NOT GIVING IT BACK.)

Writers' Cafe / Proper file format for LibraryThing giveaways?
« on: April 20, 2013, 12:39:31 pm »
In the text of my LibraryThing giveaway promo, i mentioned that I would be sending out an .epub file. Which I thought was fairly universal. And every time I've sent an epub to a friend, whether they use iOS, Android, Nook app, whatever, they haven't had a problem with it.

So many people have said they're having a problem with it and would prefer a .mobi I'm going to re-send files to everyone on the list, a package consisting of the .epub, the .mobi, and a .pdf (which a couple of people also asked for).

My question: is there a standard way to handle a giveaway that I have completely messed up on?

...and I feel a tummyache coming on.

Like somehow sending it out to people who requested it (in exchange for reviews!) was a bad idea.

I don't get this: I put my work up for appraisal (and hopefully approval) and then get scared that I might, I dunno, actually get some.

The human mind is a funny thing.

Writers' Cafe / Goodreads giveaway results
« on: April 13, 2013, 12:25:28 pm »
I put up my recently published book on Goodreads for a giveaway. I offered 3 books to give away and had 779 people enter (plus 388 put it on their TBR list). I haven't managed to sell a copy of the book during the last week, so TBRs don't immediately translate into sales, alas.

A GR reader contacted me out of the blue to say she was sorry she didn't win but the book sounded awesome. (Pro-tip: always say this. It always feels good to hear.) I checked out her GR stats and her webpage, and it seems like she does read and review a whole bunch of books, so I wrote back offering her an .epub or .mobi if she was interested. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this? Given that I'm also doing a LT giveaway of a bunch of copies (and have fewer people requesting one than there are copies available, heh), I feel there's no downside to putting more copies out there.

Writers' Cafe / Examples of self-sabotage (Warning: CRAFT)
« on: April 12, 2013, 01:52:08 pm »
There's a subplot in my current book that is best described as the MC engaging in self-sabotage: there's something she needs to do, something she very much claims she wants, something that she absolutely thinks she wants... but every step of the way she sabotages the mission. Because, of course, deep down, she knows that achieving this goal is absolutely the worst thing for her. (The irony, of course, being that this goal is coming toward her, one way or the other, and she can't stop it.)

Someone suggested that this describes every rom-com ever, which might be true. The closest example I could think of that felt more like the flavor I have in mind would be the investigation in "Angel Heart" (sorry to spoil that for anyone), but there was an external supernatural influence working there as well. In this story, it's definitely Man vs Himself (or Herself), and I would love to see how someone else has handled it.

Any suggestions gratefully appreciated!

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