Rate your Book Cover

Ruth Nestvold:

This is a great new resource for indie authors for figuring out how well your covers score with readers, Sadly, it looks as if I too will have to redo the cover I uploaded there for Chameleon in a Mirror, if the votes are any indication. :(

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksI’m currently finishing my second collection of short stories. In fact, once I’m done editing the last story, the book will be ready!

However, I still need to design a book cover. Lorelei Logsdon recently informed me of this great website the other day, and I now consider it one of the the best resources of its kind.

Called Rate Book Cover, it allows authors to test possible book covers for reader feedback. Basically, you upload your book cover and that’s it. Visitors will rate it using one to five stars, and that will allow you to know instantly if a cover has traction with readers or not.

That’s not all, though! You can also browse the site to see what kind of covers people like. It’s like an instant trend-o-meter!

All this is available for free. There are two paid options: for a daily fee of 99c

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What I Miss About Traditional Publishing

Ruth Nestvold:

Good post by Deborah Cooke about some good things regarding the traditional publishing experience. During my stint with traditional publishing, I didn’t experience most of these advantages (too short), but it’s always good to try and maintain a balanced perspective.

Originally posted on Deborah Cooke & Her Books:

Although I am now an indie author, I was traditionally published—i.e. published by big publishing houses based in New York City—for twenty years. It was almost exactly the twentieth anniversary of my first sale when I stepped away from traditional publishing. I sold my first book to a publisher in April 1992, and declined the offer from my last publisher in March 2012.

In the last five years, I’ve repackaged and republished a lot of backlist titles (because the rights have reverted to me from the original publishers) and also have published a good bit of new work myself. The last three books in the Dragonfire series were indie-published, as was the True Love Brides series of medieval romances, as was Tupperman’s story, Abyss. Indie publishing gave me the opportunity to finish series that wouldn’t have been possible in traditional publishing. Five years ago, I thought that would be…

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More words and more from Gaetano for #WIPpet Wednesday

My new writing strategy (alternating organizational work and word sprints) is continuing to work well for me. The writing is flowing again, and without really too much effort, I managed to add 4900 new words to Shards of Glass last week, while still keeping up with the translation. I do hope this doesn’t let up! Balancing translation and original writing has always been a bit of a challenge for me, since they both seem to require the creative brain.

But something of course has to give, and I have to admit that I’ve been slacking horribly in the marketing department, and my sales figures are going down quite a bit as a result. This kind of a direct correlation makes it once again clear to me that if I want to sell books, I’ve got to do the work, and that means more than just writing the next one.

I’ve having too much fun writing right now, though. Besides, summer is always slow. I’ll get back to the marketing again once I’ve found a place for it in my new system. :)

Now let us return to Gaetano, shall we? We left him last week hearing Minerva’s thoughts in his mind. I’m picking up this week exactly where I left off, and giving you 22 sentences (29 – 7) for the day minus the month:

“She’s there,” he found himself saying, unable to help himself. He had no particular fondness for Anastasia when she first married Prince Vittore, but with time he had begun to feel sorry for her.
She stared at him. “What do you mean?”
“She’s there, but she can’t wake up,” he said, passing along Minerva’s words to her sister.
The princess laid a hand on his arm and gazed up at him, blinking away unshed tears. “How do you know?” she murmured.
“I heard her speak to us.”
She pulled her hand away and gazed back down at Minerva. “I am her sister, and I heard nothing.”
Tell her about the time we ran away from our mother after father died, came Minerva’s voice in his mind.
“She wants me to tell you about the time the two of you ran away after your father died,” Gaetano said.
Anastasia rounded on him. “Where did you learn of that incident?”
“From your sister, just now. I can hear her thoughts.”
“How?”
“I don’t know. We must both be enchanted somehow.”
Yes, I would like to know too. Did you enchant me with that apple?
“No, I did not!”

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.

A visit, some travel, & an update for #WIPpet Wednesday

I missed another WIPpet Wednesday last week, as a result of the first of a number of visits from the States this summer. This is what I was doing last Wednesday:

Weil der Stadt

Herrenberg

We went to Weil der Stadt (the birthplace of Johannes Kepler) and Herrenberg on Wednesday, and Maulbronn on Thursday, a UNESCO World Heritage site:

Maulbronn

While my brother was here, we also did general catching up, some local walking, visited a nearby beer garden, hung out with grandkids / grandnieces, went to the garden, and tried to stay cool (we’ve been suffering from a heat wave). I managed to keep up with my translation, but not my writing goals, only managing 1500 words of fiction last week.

David left for France on Sunday. And this week I started a new writing strategy, alternating bouts of research and / or plotting with writing sprints. I tend to write stuff that is heavy on the research, which makes it hard to just barrel ahead as many successful writers advise. So I figured I would try an alternate strategy: a stretch of research and organizational writing until I got to the point where I could sprint a scene or two.

The results are promising: 1200 words on Monday and 1000 on Tuesday, while still maintaining my translation goals. If I can manage to keep this up, I will be very, very happy. :)

With the update out of the way, we can return to Facets of Glass for WIPpet Wednesday. Today I’m giving you 7 paragraphs for the 7th month, including the last one from the excerpt I gave you two weeks ago for context. Gaetano has been having some odd visions he doesn’t know how to relate to:

Suddenly his vision returned, and he drew a ragged breath, staring down at the motionless form of Minerva. Was he imagining things, or was he somehow enchanted too? The feeling of being trapped in his own body had been so strong, it bordered on panic.
Please do not give up on me!
Gaetano shook his head. Was Minerva speaking in his mind now? He didn’t know if he could trust the feeling. He had little direct experience of magic, and during the early years of his life, many people had actually regarded magic as a superstition. But although he had been so young, he could still remember how he had felt the day magic had been set free, how the air had seemed brighter and the colors stronger, the terracotta tiles of the roofs brilliant instead of bland, the beige white-washed walls like sunlight.
“Come, a few moments more will not hurt,” Anastasia said, and he realized she assumed he had been shaking his head in response to her request.
“Certainly we can remain, Your Grace,” he said to sooth her.
“Ah, where has my sister gone,” the princess said, her voice sad.
I’m here, I’m here! the voice practically screamed in his mind. I just cannot wake up!

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.

“Tales of the Rose Knights” with Jay Lake sold to Daily Science Fiction

Good news on the submission front! A story series that I wrote with Jay Lake has sold to Daily Science Fiction. It comprises 11 stories, most of them flash (1000 words or less). 2 of the stories are a little over.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I was revising some collaborations with Jay before he died, but after his death I had to take a break. A few months ago, I was at the point where I could tackle our mutual projects again. Originally I had thought to publish these connected stories as an ebook, but short story collections tend to sell maybe a copy a month and garner reviews along the lines of “these are too short!”

So I decided to give it a shot through the traditional submission route first before putting together an ebook. :)

The conceit of the Rose Knights is that all of them are named after actual roses, and the colors of the roses play a role in the factions fighting against each other in the world of Hy Rugosa. One of the titular roses in the series is Eden Rose. Here an image from my garden:

Eden Rose

Making a connection for #WIPpet Wednesday

I’m finally getting some writing done again, which is making me feel much happier about myself. I really can’t allow things to get in the way of my writing as much as I have recently — it makes me irritable. :)

The ideas were tumbling in like crazy the last couple of days, and The Glassmakers Trilogy is moving forward again. Today I return to the second book, Facets of Glass, and our reluctant hero Gaetano, who has just learned from the Dowager Princess that he is going to be sent to Bohemia to have a glass coffin made for Minerva. This is the beginning of the scene following, 8 short paragraphs for the 8th of the month:

When Gaetano returned to the Palazzo Dragoni the next day, Princess Anastasia was standing over the still form of her sister, her eyes red-rimmed from weeping.
Gaetano joined her, silent, and gazed down at Minerva, feeling for some strange reason as if his heart were breaking. Which made no sense. His only direct contact with her was as a servant, and the only time she had ever conversed with him was when he brought her the gift from Dowager Princess Zilia.
The scene he had briefly experienced through her eyes when he found the apple.
“Are you ready to return to Venice, Your Grace?” he asked softly.
And then his vision went black. Anastasia’s words reached him as if out of a fog. “Not just yet, please.”
He felt himself wanting to rise, wanting to cry out, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t open his eyes. He was frozen in place, aware of the people around him, unable to communicate with them.
Except for one.
Suddenly his vision returned, and he drew a ragged breath, staring down at the motionless form of Minerva. Was he imagining things, or was he somehow enchanted too? The feeling of being trapped in his own body had been so strong, it bordered on panic.

Maxfield Parrish, Snow White

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.

Are Authors Leaving Kindle Unlimited? (Actual Data)

Ruth Nestvold:

A great blog post to balance the media hysteria surrounding the new payment scheme for books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited.

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:

Images from ShutterStock. Images from ShutterStock.

KINDLE UNLIMITED ENROLLMENT NUMBERS

With the July 1, 2015 changes to Kindle Unlimited comes much anxiety among KDP Select authors.

But before you press your PANIC button, maybe you should consider this novel idea: Check the numbers.

That’s exactly what I did, and you can, too:

  • Visit Amazon’s homepage.
  • Hover your mouse over Shop by Department, then hover over Books, and select Kindle Books.
  • See the number listed with the Kindle Unlimited filter.
  • Click the Kindle Unlimited filter. Now check the numbers in the categories.
  • Copy/paste the numbers of interest into Microsoft Word, for example.

I did that on July 1, and I’ve done that periodically for several months so that I can compare the numbers.

There is a lot of talk about authors possibly leaving Kindle Unlimited, but you don’t have to guess. The data is in plain sight.

ARE AUTHORS LEAVING KINDLE UNLIMITED?

There were…

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21 days to habit: Third quarter goals

Last round, I had a hard time getting back into a regular routine after the extended visit to the States. About the only thing I was able to keep on track with in accordance with my goals was the translation.

As a result, my main goal for the rest of this summer will be to somehow find my way back to the good habits I had managed to develop earlier this year in balancing translation and my own writing. It will be a challenge, since we have multiple visits from the States in the upcoming weeks, starting with my brother on Saturday. Habits are powerful things, as Kait Nolan pointed out. I’ve read that it takes 21 days to create a habit — for good or for ill.

It will be difficult to find those 21 days to get back to the good habits I lost, but I’m determined to find a way, especially given how frustrated I’ve been in recent weeks. Recently I’ve been cutting back on social media, and I’m seeing the first positive effects. The translation was up in the last week, and I’ve gotten a lot of my hard copy notes on Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass (the follow-up books to Island of Glass) into my Scrivener file, resulting in a nice jump in word count. Wish me luck in keeping that up!

Goals for this round:
Writing:

– Write an average of 2500 words a week.

– Finish Shards of Glass

– Write 3 new short stories

– Revise “Pool of Souls” and send it out

Writing business:

– 500 words a day of translation

– Schedule ongoing promotions for my books

– Publish Almost All the Way Home From the Stars to Createspace

– Publish Oregon Elsewise to Createspace

– Submit 5 short stories to traditional markets

– List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade

– Publish “Starting Out as an Indie Author” as ebook

– Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook

– Put together collection of my writing articles with Jay Lake

– Put together collection of fantasy stories with Jay

– Write newsletter update for my subscribers

– Find more reviewers for CIAM and Island of Glass

To wrap up, here one of my favorite distractions, my granddaughters:

Random weird fact: the summer sweater Lisa is wearing is something she chose to save from my old stuff, one of my favorites in (much) skinnier days. Hard to imagine it ever fit me at all as an adult, when I see it on a 13-year-old!

“Degrees of Separation” up on Abyss and Apex

My short story “Degrees of Separation” was published on Abyss & Apex today. You can read it here:

http://www.abyssapexzine.com/2015/06/degrees-of-separation/

It is one of the stories in my series “Tales from Far Beyond North” set in fictional Rolynka, Alaska. I’ve published three of the short stories so far for ebook: “The Leaving Sweater,” “In the Middle of Nowhere With Company” and “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife”:

Enjoy!

Via BookBub: “What Kind of Cover Design Sells More Books In Your Genre?”

Since a lot of my readers are indie authors who are somehow involved in their own cover design, I wanted to share this article from BookBub:

http://insights.bookbub.com/what-kind-of-cover-design-sells-more-books-in-your-genre/

Unfortunately, no science fiction or fantasy, but I still think it’s always helpful to study effective book covers. I recommend taking a look. :) And while you’re at it, this post on testing covers is quite interesting too — I think I’m going to have to try out some of their suggestions:

http://insights.bookbub.com/how-to-easily-test-your-book-cover-design-to-sell/

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