What was with that apple? #WIPpet Wednesday and an update

Snow White and the apple

As many of you have noticed in previous weeks, many of the motifs in Facets of Glass come from the fairy tale Snow White. But just as I used the motifs from Cinderella in very different ways in Island of Glass, so too in this book. It is not a witch who brings the apple to Minerva, or even the Evil Dowager Princess, it is the unsuspecting member of the Foscari House Guard, Gaetano. In this excerpt, which comes a couple of paragraphs after the one I provided last week, Gaetano is starting to suspect something after all. My math for 3/4: 3 + 4 = 7 paragraphs:

With Guilia gone, he took one of Minerva’s hands and gazed into her beautiful young face, quiet now, no longer vivacious. She lay stretched out on the floor, seemingly asleep, one arm flung wide away from her body. Gaetano recalled all the uncharitable thoughts he’d had about her when Dowager Princess Zilia asked him to bring her the gift of the apple.
Why had the smelling salts not worked? Could the apple have something to do with it? The gift he had brought?
At the thought, he glanced at her hands, but her palms were open. When she fainted, she must have lost hold of the apple. But there were no shards around her prone figure, so the apple had presumably rolled away.
The surgeon hurried in and took Gaetano’s place at Minerva’s side. The medicus was followed by at least a dozen family members, wringing their hands and making a worried racket.
He stepped back and watched the proceedings, hoping that the Signorina would soon be her normal lively self again — as superficial as he thought her vivaciousness.
But he had never before been offered refreshments by his superiors during his normal duties.
As Gaetano surreptitiously left Palazzo Dragoni, he worried about the role he might have unwillingly played in Minerva’s fainting spell. The thunk of her head as it hit the floor of the palazzo echoed through his mind on the trip back to Venice.

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.

On to the weekly progress report. I have a head cold, and as I am not one of those people who works well with a stuffy head (who is?), my word counts have gone down again. Add to that the next big translation project which came in on Friday. What it adds up to is that I am no longer flirting with 1000 words a day. Instead, I’m adjusting my goals downwards to 500 words a day. But since I had trouble even getting that done during the last big translation project, my main goal will be to find a better balance with this book. Up until now, I seem to be achieving it. Since I started on this Viking translation, I’ve been getting 400-500 words a day written as well. As long as I can continue to make consistent progress on both my own projects and the translation, I will be okay with that.

Independent Publishing and DMCA Abuse, or “How a Scammer Got My Book Blocked with Very Little Effort”

Ruth Nestvold:

Scary, scary story here. I did not realize how easy it is to sabotage someone’s copyright. Good luck, Becca! Amazon, wake up!

Originally posted on The Active Voice:

Okay, I’ve got a story. It’s a sort of scary one. I think independent/self-publishing authors need to know about it, and telling it carefully and correctly is also important for my own situation, so I’m going to take my time and lay it all out in order.

Pressed for time? You can skip to the bottom for the TL;DR summation.


Becca Mills - Nolander - 333x500 On Friday, February 27, 2015, I noticed that my bookmarked Amazon.com link to my first novel,  Nolander , was yielding, “We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.” I went to my Amazon dashboard and discovered the book had been blocked.

In my spam folder, I discovered an email from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing arm, informing me that someone had sent in a DMCA notice. In response, Amazon had summarily blocked Nolander from sale.

“DMCA” stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”…

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“Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

Book View Cafe Blog – Ursula Le Guin on Kazuo Ishiguro:

A wild country inhabited by monsters, an old couple who must leave their home without knowing exactly why, a sense that important things have been, perhaps must be, forgotten… Such images and moods could well embody a story about the approach of old age to death, and indeed I think that is at least in part the subject of the book. But so generic a landscape and such vague, elusive perceptions must be brought to life by the language of the telling. The whole thing is made out of words, after all. The imaginary must be imagined, accurately and with scrupulous consistency. A fantastic setting requires vivid and specific description; while characters may lose touch with their reality, the storyteller can’t. A toneless, inexact language is incapable of creating landscape, meaningful relationship, or credible event. And the vitality of characters in a semi-historical, semi-fanciful setting depends on lively, plausible representation of what they do and how they speak. The impairment of the characters’ memory in this book may justify the aimlessness of their behavior and the flat, dull quality of the dialogue, but then how is it that Axl never, ever, not once, forgets to address his wife as “princess”? I came to wish very much that he would.

Mr Ishiguro said to the interviewer, “Will readers follow me into this? Will they understand what I’m trying to do, or will they be prejudiced against the surface elements? Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

Well, yes, they probably will. Why not?

It appears that the author takes the word for an insult.

Read more at “Are they going to say this is fantasy?”.

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

Ruth Nestvold:

Important information about Nook Press Author Services, thanks to David Gaughran!

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.

NookPressAuthorServicesBloomingtonopt

You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 Author Solutions, Bloomington, IN. Image from Wikimedia, by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington…

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Advertising on Amazon w/ AMS via KDP—Is it Worth it?

Ruth Nestvold:

A great analysis of a new advertising option for KDP Select authors. I think I’m going to have to give it a shot!

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:

Images from Shutterstock Images from Shutterstock

MY EXPERIENCE WITH ADVERTISING ON AMAZON

The new option for KDP Select authors to advertise their Kindle e-books with Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is intriguing.

I have now run 14 different ads through AMS. I’ve also studied the results that several other authors have posted.

Today, I’m sharing some of my preliminary results and offering my thoughts on this critical question:

IS IT WORTH IT?

I’ll also mention a couple of alternative uses of this tool.

CONTENTS

  1. Initial Return on Investment
  2. Estimating Short-term ROI
  3. Your Safe CPC Bid
  4. Advertising Results
  5. Possible Side Benefits
  6. Long-term ROI
  7. Countdown Deals and Freebies
  8. Creative Uses of Book Advertisements

1. INITIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT

The short-term return on investment (ROI) depends on these factors:

  • your average cost-per-click (CPC) bid
  • the royalty you earn for each sale
  • your sales-per-click (SPC) conversion rate
  • possible side benefits, like selling similar books, like selling print copies…

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Improved word counts and sales, and Gaetano’s reaction for #WIPpet Wednesday

My blogging discipline certainly leaves something to be desired these days. But I guess a day late is better than a week late. :)

At least the writing continues to go well. Word counts are picking up, and I’m hoping to get back into 1,000 words a day mode again soon. Shards of Glass is taking shape, coming in now at 5900 words. As I develop a better idea of what exactly needs to happen, daily word production improves accordingly.

Sales continue to improve as well. This month, they are up almost 20% compared to my December and January numbers, so I seem to be doing something right in the promotion department. :) (And those were already way up from the months before. :))

On to WIPpet Wednesday! My math today: 2 + 5 for the day of the month I should have posted this, giving me 7 short paragraphs. This excerpt from Facets of Glass follows right after the one I gave you last week. Minerva has just recognized Gaetano as one of the guards of the Dowager Princess. Here we switch of Gaetano’s pov for his reaction:

Gaetano stared at her, stunned that she had recognized him. Most people rarely looked at servants, even their own, and would hardly recognize them out of uniform.
“Why did your mistress send you to me with this gift — and out of livery?” she asked, her expression intense. All playfulness and flirtation had completely disappeared from her voice and manner.
“I — I do not know, Signorina,” Gaetano stammered.
She lifted the glass apple, shaking it slightly for emphasis. “What has become of Chiara?”
He blinked. Why was she asking about the glassmaker who had been engaged to Prince Vittore before her death, when everyone knew that she was somewhere in the depths of the lagoon?
But while Gaetano was still trying to puzzle out why she would ask such a question, Minerva suddenly fell in on herself like a puppet whose strings had been cut. He rushed forward, but not fast enough; her lovely head hit the floor with a clunk.
He knelt down beside her and began chaffing her hands, calling out the name of the servant. “Giulia! Your mistress has fainted! Bring smelling salts!”

Murano
Murano, the Island of Glass

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.

Cover reveal: Torn (Bound Trilogy Book Two) by Kate Sparkes

Today I am happy to participate in the cover reveal for an online writing buddy, Kate Sparkes, for the second novel in her Bound Trilogy, Torn. I did an interview with her a while back about all the things she did right when launching her indie career which you can read here.

Torn by Kate Sparkes

Synopsis:

Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother Severn will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. It’s a mission that seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.

Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she has potential to become a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving a family member’s life—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.

Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON.COM

Release date: March 31, 2015

Limited time launch price: $2.99

Cover art by Ravven (www.ravven.com)

And in order to drum up extra interest in the series, Kate is offering the first book in the trilogy, Bound, for only 99c until March 2nd! Grab your copy NOW! :)

Kate Sparkes, Bound, 99c sale

How to get in touch with Kate Sparkes:

Blogs: – Disregard the prologue- http://disregardtheprologue.com
– Sparrowcat Press- http://sparrowcatpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katesparkesauthor
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8282527.Kate_Sparkes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kate_sparkes
Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/+KateSparkes
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/KSparkes
Pinterest board for the Bound trilogy: http://www.pinterest.com/k_sparkes/bound-trilogy/

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