An Initial Attempt at Rebranding: A New Cover for Yseult

As much as I like the cover I already have for Yseult, the conversion rate for my ads is going from quite respectable to abysmal. Not completely understandable, since I haven’t changed the book description or cover for a long time, but given how many clicks I’ve been getting recently without sales, I decided it was time to experiment again. So without further ado, here is the first cover experiment for Yseult:

Yseult

The idea for this cover is that it maybe / hopefully fits the epic fantasy conventions better, which often have one decisive image rather than an illustration, like the original cover had. The other consideration is that the first cover might be too romantic in tone to draw the right readers. While Yseult is based on a tragic love story, there is a lot of political intrigue and loads of battles. A bad-ass sword just might be the better image for that than a gal and a moon, even if there is a sword on that cover too. But most people don’t notice it until I point it out to them.

Anyway, wish me luck. This may not be the first, since I’m determined to work on this until I get a better conversion rate for my ads. 🙂

Please Don’t Buy My Book

David Gaughran is back, with an interesting case study on also-boughts.

David Gaughran

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution.

Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood.

They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers.

The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide who to recommend books to – because Amazon is always seeking to show readers the books they are most likely to purchase.

For this reason, it’s important to monitor your…

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Author Spotlight: Ruth Nestvold

Author K.J. Garnet

Welcome to the second feature on other independent authors. We’ll throw a bit of a spotlight on how they think and create their fantastic works.

Author Ruth Nestvold

We met Ruth Nestvold through the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (more commonly known to members as the Oh-Dub-Dub) (and yes, there are a lot of OWW alumni who are fantastic writers). From her website’s biography, “She has sold stories to numerous markets, including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, and several anthologies. Her novella “Looking Through Lace” made the short list for the Tiptree award and was nominated for the Sturgeon award.

In 2007, the Italian translation won the “Premio Italia” for best international SF novel. Her “Big Fat Arthurian Fantasy” Flamme und Harfe (“Flame and Harp”) appeared with Random House Germany in 2009, and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. The English…

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Testing new Covers for Chameleon in a Mirror

Since I’ve recently had rather disappointing click-through rates for Chameleon in a Mirror, I decided to try testing some cover designers through Fiverr, just for fun. I wrote about the option in my book Starting Out as an Indie Author, but I had never used it myself. There’s a saying here in Germany, “Probieren geht über studieren.” (Trying is better than studying.) So here I am trying! Here are the cover designs I got from my first Fiverr foray into covers:

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

CIAM cover

For the sake of comparison, here’s the present cover:

And here’s the very first attempt:

What do you guys think? I have to admit, I had the feeling the new covers stood out better in thumbnail for sure, but I’d love a bit more feedback before I finalize. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

Hugo Nominees 2017

With a couple of notable exceptions (which I will not name for fear of being banned *g*), it looks like the Hugos have largely recovered from being hijacked for a couple of years by a bunch of lunatic dinosaurs:

http://www.tor.com/2017/04/04/2017-hugo-award-finalists-announced/

Yay! What a relief! What I find particularly interesting, however, is how completely Tor.com is dominating the ballot for short forms this year. The usual suspects (Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog) are absent entirely. I’m suspecting it has to do with fewer and fewer people subscribing to and reading paper magazines these days.

Why successful writers need to do more than write

I stumbled across this, and since it’s right up my alley, I had to share. 🙂

Belinda Williams

Whether you’re a writer or not, you’ve probably come across one of these memes:

What writers do

While you chuckle, there is an element of truth to some of these. And that truth is:

Writing is about a hell of a lot more than just writing.

When I started writing, I had a vague idea of what I was getting myself in for. With the release of my latest contemporary romance, The Pitch, later this month, I’ve got a much clearer idea. It’s the third book I’ve released (with two more due for release late this year and next).

A writing job description (Or, if only someone had told me all this earlier . . .)

Here’s all those things I’ve discovered are part of the job description for ‘writing’ but are not actually writing:

  • Editing. That’s writing, you say! Huh. To a writer, editing is not writing. Editing is the…

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The Azure Window on Gozo is gone

I was on Gozo over a decade ago with my daughter, so we were fortunate to see the Azure Window before it collapsed.

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta

Now it has been destroyed by a storm. More pictures and links here:

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/08/maltas-famous-azure-window-rock-arch-collapses-photographers-mourn/

So sad. 😦

“Starting Out as an Indie Author” made “hot new release”!

Lookie here, friends:

Hot new release

Starting Out as an Indie Author made it to a “hot new release” in the publishing and authorship category on Amazon! It’s dropped out again now, but at least I got the screen shot to prove it last night before I went to bed. *g*

And I did no advertising to get there — it was all mailing list and friends sharing the news. So a huge thanks to all of you!

Starting Out as an Indie Author published! This month only 99c

Starting Out as an Indie Author EBook

Starting Out as an Indie Author has finally been published as an eBook! It took me longer than I expected, but then, what doesn’t, right? 🙂 It’s available now at most major retailers:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Apple
Google Play

You can find other retailers on Books2read: books2read.com/u/4jKvPY

For the month of March, I’m offering a special introductory price of only 99c to get the ball rolling. I can’t reduce the price on Kobo yet, however, because I signed up for a promo where the minimum price must be at least 2.99. Writing this blog post, I also noticed that the sale price has not gone through everywhere. Soon, I promise!

Here’s the book description and table of contents:

Starting Out as an Indie Author
A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing, Publishing and Marketing Your EBooks

Have you written your first book and are considering self-publishing? Perhaps you have started looking into the possibility and are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, all the things you need to do and learn in order to become an indie author? Or maybe you aren’t even sure yet whether self-publishing is for you or not, and you want to find out more of what is involved before you decide.

STARTING OUT AS AN INDIE AUTHOR was written for beginning self-publishers and covers the basics on where to sell your books, formatting for eBook and print, and developing marketing strategies. It includes a number of step-by-step instructions for everything from cover design, to setting up eBooks for various distributors, to creating ads with Facebook and Amazon Marketing Services. In addition, there is advice on any number of topics: eBook pricing, using distributors, how much to spend on self-publishing, and writing blurbs for your books.

With this sanity-saving book as a guide, you will have a much better grasp on what is involved in self-publishing and will be able to approach the task realistically and with eyes wide open.

Including an interview with Kate Sparkes, author of the bestselling Bound series!

Contents:
Part I: Is Self-Publishing for You?
Chapter 1: Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
Chapter 2: Potential Self-Publishing Mudholes
Chapter 3: The Costs of Publishing as an Indie Author

Part II: Getting Ready to Publish
Chapter 4: Why Editing is Important – and Who can Probably Skip the Expense After All.
Chapter 5: Preparing Your Manuscript for eBook Retailers
Chapter 6: Cover Options for Indie Authors
Chapter 7: Writing Blurbs and Descriptions for your Books
Chapter 8: Amazon Delivery Fees and Reducing the File Size of Your EBook

Part III: Publishing Your Book
Chapter 9: EBook Pricing
Chapter 10: To KDP Select or not to KDP Select
Chapter 11: Using Distributors for Getting into Online Bookstores
Chapter 12: The Importance of Keywords
Chapter 13: Formatting the Interior of your Book for Print
Chapter 14: Creating a Wraparound Cover for your Print Book

Part IV: Marketing
Chapter 15: The Big Challenge: Becoming Visible
Chapter 16: How to Develop a Strategy for eBook Promotions
Chapter 17: Alexa Rankings for eBook Ad Sites
Chapter 18: Advertising Sites
Chapter 19: Social Media and Cross Promotion
Chapter 20: Newsletter Basics

Part V: Final Thoughts
Chapter 21: Why “Write the Next Book” isn’t Enough; Or: What to do if your Books aren’t Selling
Chapter 22: Rolling with the Changes

If you’ve enjoyed the series here on my blog, please do share and spread the word. 🙂

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