Potential Self-Publishing Mudholes: A guest post on Beth Camp’s blog

In connection with the blog blitz for the upcoming publication of Island of Glass, fellow writer Beth Camp hosted me on her blog to talk about some potential mistakes indie writers can make. Here a short excerpt from the introduction:

The beauty and the curse of self-publishing is that it is so much easier and faster than going the traditional route, which can take years and (most of the time) still result in nothing. A fact that is often ignored is that self-publishing — while faster — most of the time also results in nothing. Which leads me straight to the first mistake made by indie authors.

You can read the rest over on Beth’s blog:

http://bethandwriting.blogspot.de/2014/10/potential-self-publishing-mudholes.html

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Pantsy Plotter and the Templates of Story-Telling

Ruth Nestvold:

I haven’t decided yet whether I want to do Nano this year or not, since I have so many ongoing projects, but for those who will be tackling it, Conny Kaufmann has put together a nice list of templates.

Originally posted on Study. Read. Write.:

Some people fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to writing a novel. They just sit down and write, and hope for the best while they have a vague idea of what they want to write in their heads. These people are known as “Pantsers”.

In the other corner we have a group of writers we like to call “Plotters”. They plan chapter by chapter, outline their stories, research detailed descriptions, find photos or draw pictures of what their characters look like. The featured image above is JK Rowling’s outline for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by the way.

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The Future, Imperfect available as a Kindle Countdown Deal until Oct. 27

Until Monday, Oct. 27, you can get my collection of six dystopian short stories, The Future, Imperfect, as a countdown deal for only 99c.

The Future, Imperfect

Description:

“The Future, Imperfect” is a collection of near future, dystopian short stories by Ruth Nestvold. Environmental changes — slow in some regions, catastrophic in others — have had a major effect on our world, not for the better. While water wars and pandemics have devastated the Mediterranean region, and a major earthquake and the resulting destruction of nuclear power plants and sensitive research facilities have made much of California a wasteland, corporate-sponsored enclaves defend themselves from the have-nots. What can any one individual do to make a difference is such a world? These are the stories both of those who tried and those who failed.

Five of the short stories in this collection were previously published in such venues as Asimov’s and Futurismic. “Exit Without Saving” also appeared in Rich Horton’s Science Fiction 2007: The Best of the Year. “Killfile” is an original publication.

Enjoy!

Some good news, and more from Facets of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

As those who follow this blog know, I had a fairly successful free run for my time travel novel Chameleon in a Mirror last week. Nonetheless, my summary of the results were a bit on the skeptical side, and I predicted that CIAM would soon drop out of the Top 100 lists that it managed to get into again once it went back to paid.

I am happy to announce that I was wrong — so far. *g* Since Sunday, it has been slowly climbing in the rankings rather than falling. Here is where it was when I checked before starting this blog post:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College
#52 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#89 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

I have some ideas as to why that is happening, but I would like to save my tentative conclusions for a dedicated marketing post in my blog series “Starting out as an indie author.”

While the upside of the marketing is actual daily sales again for a change, the downside is less time for writing. I’m still hopeful that I’ll make my 4,000 words for the week, though. My total for Monday and Tuesday was 1400, which would put me still on target.

The Mirror by Frank Dicksee, 1896
The Mirror by Frank Dicksee, 1896

We have another mirror this week for WIPpet Wednesday. I’m still posting from Facets of Glass, the 2nd book in The Glassmakers series after Island of Glass. Dowager Princess Zilia of House Foscari in the Empire of Venice just dismissed the witch in last week’s installment and is now alone with the magic mirror. Here for the 22nd are 22 lines from the manuscript:

When the ornate double doors in shades of cream and pale blue closed behind the witch, Zilia turned to the mirror impatiently. What could be so magic about a white-haired witch? There had to be something in the mirror itself, and if there was, she would be able to call on it too.
Glass apple in hand, she turned back to the mirror, which now only reflected an image of herself in her retiring room — her favorite place in the world, her sanctuary.
“Magic mirror, please show to me,
“Where the maker of this apple might be.”
Nothing happened. The mirror stubbornly continued to display no more than her own reflection. Of course, the dowager princess had no complaints regarding her appearance; the heavy rust and gold brocade of her gown glittered with the sunlight coming in from the high windows, highlights in her hair complimented the colors in her gown, and the skin of her face displayed next to no wrinkles. She was often complimented on how young she looked, and she was quite sure that had she wanted to, she could easily have married again.
But while her own reflection was pleasing, the unresponsiveness of the mirror was not.
She tried again, taking a step forward and holding the apple closer to the mirror. “Magic mirror, please show to me,
“Where the maker of this apple might be.”
Still nothing! Zilia was sorely tempted to hurl the glass apple into the farthest corner of her retiring room, and fling the mirror to the floor for good measure. She did not like being shown up. She was one of the most powerful women in one of the most powerful empires in Europe. A mere mirror not obeying her command felt like an affront.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

Results of free run for Chameleon in a Mirror and further experiments

I promised to report the results of my free run last week with my time travel novel Chameleon in a Mirror.

In one word: mixed.

Altogether I managed to give away over 2000 books, many in places where I’ve never sold anything before. The only Amazon store where CIAM didn’t get any downloads was Mexico. And that was all without spending a dime, only announcing the free run on my blog and through the free sites listed here. On Amazon.de, CIAM even managed to stay in the Top 100 free overall for over three days. Today, the novel is in two Top 100 categories on Amazon.com:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#59 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College
#83 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy

The book had several borrows immediately after the free run, which has led me to re-enroll it in KDP Select. As long as it is still visible, I might manage to get a few more borrows.

So why is that mixed? CIAM is pretty far down in the top 100 categories it managed to get into, which means it will probably drop out of sight again fairly quickly. And in marketing books, everything is about visibility. If no one sees your book, no one will buy it.

On Amazon.de, despite being in the Top 100 overall for several days, CIAM is not in a single Top 100 category right now.

But I’m still hoping that all the downloads will lead to a few more reviews.

For my next experiment, starting Wednesday, I will be trying another Countdown Deal, this time with my short story collection, The Future, Imperfect.

The Future, Imperfect

The Future, Imperfect has a couple of strikes against it, the main one being that as a short story collection, it has gotten several bad reviews from readers who objected to the short stories being short. I’ve had reviews like that for all of my short story collections by now, so I’m used to it. Unfortunately, it makes it next to impossible to advertize those books, since most sites require an average rating of at least 4 stars.

Thus, comparing results would be like apples and oranges. Instead, I just want to see what strategies might possibly work to get my books selling again.

So remember, if you like dystopian fiction and you read short stories, The Future, Imperfect, will be on sale for 99c from Oct. 22 – Oct. 27. :)

Giving “Free” another chance with Chameleon in a Mirror

Some time ago, after a series of very disappointing free runs that hardly seemed to bump the visibility of the respective books at all, I decided to give up on temporary free runs as an advertizing method. Instead, I tried to increase interest using permafree offerings.

Let’s just say that hasn’t gone so well.

I haven’t been doing a lot of marketing for some time, and it has really been showing in my sales figures. Admittedly I didn’t have a lot of time while I was working on the translation, but it has made me quite convinced that if you don’t make any effort to market and find readers, they are not going to find you.

I published Chameleon in a Mirror earlier this year when I was right in the middle of the translation. I didn’t do anything other than announce it on this blog and post a couple of chapters to my Aphra Behn Page. It sold a few copies and then proceeded to sink into oblivion. Even after over half a year, it still doesn’t have enough reviews for me to book any paid advertizing anywhere. So I decided to try out “free” again for a change, in the hopes that a few people will download, read, and review. I updated my list here on this blog of places to notify about a free run, went through it only using the sites that didn’t charge for the announcement, and got back to organizing the cover reveal for Island of Glass.

To my surprise, CIAM took off. Here is where it now stands on Amazon.com:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College

Then it got picked up by the German version of Pixel of Ink, XTME. And now the book is practically set to break the Top 100 free books overall on Amazon.de. Here the present ranking:

Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #105 Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 – Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop)

Nr. 1 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Belletristik > Populäre Belletristik > Historisch

So if anyone reading this is in Germany, please download a copy! (And everyone else too, of course.) It’s free through October 18. It would be so cool to get into the top 100 here!

Another thing I love about this is that maybe a few more people will also learn about my idol, Aphra Behn. :)

Aphra Behn by Peter Lely

Of course, I don’t yet know if this will result in actual sales once the free run is over. Be assured that I will post more next week. My sales on sites other than Amazon are so abysmal, if this works, it might be worth to pull my books elsewhere and put all my eggs back in one basket, as bad as that advice usually is.

ADDENDUM: Chameleon is a Mirror is now #89 on Amazon.de!

A mostly marketing update, and more mirror for #WIPpet Wednesday

With the cover reveal for Island of Glass yesterday, the first free run in almost a year that I’ve organized for one of my books, and a lot of work on the big translation project, I haven’t had much time for actual writing so far this week. What free time I’ve been able to devote to my writing has been taken up with marketing.

But that is going VERY well! I want to thank you all so much who participated in the cover reveal for Island of Glass. The book isn’t even out yet, and it has already cracked a Top 100 list with pre-orders! Here’s where it stands as of this writing:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#50 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Fairy Tales & Folklore

You guys are the greatest! *Hugs* :D

As to the free book, that’s my Aphra Behn time travel, Chameleon in a Mirror. I tossed that one out on the market earlier this year without a plan. It’s been limping along and still doesn’t even have enough reviews for me to advertize it anywhere. So I decided to try out “free” again for a change, in the hopes that a few people will download, read, and review. More on that decision tomorrow, since it’s free through Saturday, and I have time. Right now I just want to share with you how well it’s doing on its free run:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

Chameleon in a Mirror

So grab yourself a copy while you can! Tell your friends so they can grab a copy too! *g*

On to WIPpet Wednesday. I’m still posting from Facets of Glass, the second book in the Glassmakers trilogy after Island of Glass. It’s getting a bit difficult to do without providing spoilers, so this excerpt is a page or so after the last one I gave you, skipping the bits with a bit too much information. So here are 15 sentences for the 15th day of the month. Princess Zilia has just seen what the magic mirror has to show her:

The dowager princess clenched her hands in the folds of her skirts, controlling her anger with an effort. She hated many things, but she particularly hated betrayal. That combined with potential pecuniary loss to the Empire of Venice made it all the more heinous in her eyes.
“I would like to keep this mirror in my rooms for the time being,” she told the witch.
Vanna pressed her lips together before she spoke. “With all due respect, Princess Zilia, this mirror is my main source of income.”
“And I would not dream of taking it from you without compensation,” she said, although of course she had. “I treasure your services too much. Inform my steward what your projected loss of income will be, and he will see to it that you are paid.”
The witch seemed to choke back a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Your Grace. May I inquire as to what you intend to do with the mirror, as you do not have the magic to ask questions of it yourself?”
“Keep it out of the hands of others, Vanna, no more and no less.”
“Ah, very wise.”
“You are dismissed. The apple please?”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

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