Tag Archives: looking through lace

And the winner of the new cover for Looking Through Lace is …

After running various versions of the cover designs for Looking Through Lace past Facebook, my blog, and the cover voting site I’ve used before, we have a winner: looking through hair and stars! *g*

For those curious, here’s a breakdown of the various voting results:

Facebook: Hair – 9; Eye – 3; Hair with Grid overlay – 1

Voting site: Hair – 5; Eye – 2; Hair with Grid overlay – 3

Blog: Hair – 4; Eye – 4; Original cover – 3

I find the differences pretty fascinating. The readers of my blog never saw the hair variation with the grid overlay, since I never got around to uploading it, but there was a strong anti-hair lobby. Everywhere else, however, the hair won hands down.

Despite the various objections to the hair, I’m really happy with the result. AND I will now soon have a paperback version of the novella! One has actually been out for a long time, but it’s in Italian. 🙂

I’m very pleased with the job done by Lou Harper, and have already asked her to do the second book, Beyond the Waters of the World. And with all that investment, I should finally get back to the series … If only I didn’t have about a gazillion other works in progress already …

New covers for Looking Through Lace – please vote!

I just got two new cover designs from Lou Harper for my SF novella Looking Through Lace, and I would love some feedback!

Here is the description:

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

And here is the present cover:

It’s one of the first covers I did with my daughter, and I figured the book could finally use a facelift. 🙂

So what do you guys think? Which do you prefer and why?

A Christmas gift for my readers: Looking Through Lace

Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a wonderful family Christmas Eve last night, and much turkey and many presents were had by all. Christmas is so much more fun with children, their enthusiasm is catching. 🙂

In honor of the occasion, I’m offering my award-winning SF novella, Looking Through Lace, free through Dec. 29.

Looking Through Lace

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

Enjoy! Happy holidays to all. 🙂

Yseult available used for only $999.11!

That’s right, you understood correctly: you can currently get my novel Yseult on Amazon used for under $1000!!! Since who knows how long this incredible deal will be available, I took a screen shot:

Yseult for under $1000!

I have no idea how this amazing inflation happened, but I’m assuming it has to do with someone’s price bots going stir crazy. At least it gave me quite a laugh last night. And as of today, the price is still there. So go ahead, see for yourself if you don’t believe me.*

Given those kinds of prices, the Smashwords “Read an E-Book Week” is even more of a deal!

Smashwords

On Smashwords this week, you can get 25% off the list price of Yseult with the coupon “REW25”. And you can get the same deal on Looking Through Lace. You can even get my short story collection Never Ever After FREE with the coupon “RW100”!

/End mini marketing blitz. 🙂

*Of course, as soon as I posted this, the price plummeted. *pout* Now you can get my novel for only $41.02. 😦

The recent Amazon category revolution, and what it means for you

As many writers have noticed by now, this month Amazon has been playing merry with its browse categories, deleting a couple, and adding a whole lot more. In the long run, this might well be good for writers, giving us more chances for exposure, but what a lot of us saw was an immediate and dramatic decline in sales. I think this mostly applies to those who had books in categories that were deleted, or whose books were reassigned to new categories, not necessarily the best or most appropriate. For example, at least one of my novels was being listed for a while under the category nonfiction/history!

If this kind of mix-up has happened to you, you might want to try changing your categories.

The new categories that Amazon assigned to books seem to be based on the keywords you enter when you publish on KDP. India Drummond has already written an excellent article about how to get your categories reassigned by changing your keywords, which you can read here. Another possibility is to contact Amazon directly with the information on which new categories you would like your book to be listed in. I have a longer post about doing this here, but if all you want is the direct link, that’s here.

As I mentioned in the older post linked to above, if your books aren’t exactly in the dozen sales a day plus realm, it makes sense to get them into categories with less competition. Check out this recent screenshot with the new fantasy categories:

See how many books are in “Paranormal & Urban”? And how many are in “Dark Fantasy”? If you’re not one of those kinds of writers capable of getting on top 100 lists against tens of thousands of other books, you might want to try and get your books into some of those smaller categories — assuming they fit, of course. Despite the lack of competition, I don’t think the “TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations” would prove very effective for my Pendragon Chronicles novels. 🙂

Recently, a number of writers who have used the direct approach to KDP support have had problems with responses insisting they should change their categories through their Bookshelf — even when the category they want to be included in isn’t available through the Bookshelf. So these days when I request a category change directly, I always include the following sentence:

“These categories are not categories I can choose through my KDP bookshelf.”

One more thing to note, however (learn from my mistakes): it is not wise to try to contact Amazon directly regarding category changes for a lot of books at once. A number of my books were affected by the recent category changes, and trying to be efficient, I sent four posts to Amazon in one day. (For all of the books, I wanted at least one category that couldn’t be chosen through the KDP Dashboard.)

While writing a blog post a few days later, I noticed that these were the categories for Yseult, a historical fantasy set in the fifth century and based on the legend of Tristan and Isolde:

#17 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
#56 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Space Exploration
#60 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > First Contact

Needless to say, I did not request to have Yseult changed to “First Contact” — that was for Looking Through Lace. But I sent the requests on the same day, and Amazon support lumped them all together under one author, and I ended up with two epic historical fantasies listed in SF categories. Sigh.

I have since tried to correct the situation, and while I did get Yseult and Shadow of Stone into more appropriate categories, they are also still being listed in the science fiction categories I intended for Looking Through Lace and Beyond the Waters of the World. Here’s the current ranking for Yseult, for example:

#2 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Fantasy > Arthurian
#31 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > First Contact

Yes, it is back in Arthurian now, but it is still listed under First Contact. While on one level that might fit thematically, since Yseult is forced to move to a completely foreign culture, the novel is still not exactly science fiction. 😦

So if, like me, you write in multiple genres or even sub-genres, don’t try try to change too many books in different categories in one day by contacting KDP directly. That is apparently too taxing for the Amazon support folks.

Changing your book’s categories (and why you should); plus an update

As I’m sure many people know, the categories offered when you publish a book through Kindle Direct Publishing don’t always match the Kindle store categories. Books published via KDP fall under two different types of categories — KDP uses BISAC codes to categorize books, but Amazon uses a broader classification. When you choose your two categories in the KDP Bookshelf, the book is mapped to the closest classification under the “eBook” category on Amazon.

The problem is, those default categories are (naturally) some of the most popular categories in the Kindle store — which means you’re competing with a lot more other books for those important top 100 category slots. Getting into the top 100 lists is an important way to keep from descending into oblivion and boost sales.

Take a look at this screenshot for the categories in Science Fiction in the Kindle store:

Now look at the numbers behind each category. When I first published Looking Through Lace as an ebook, I chose the categories “Adventure” and “Short stories” (ok, it’s officially a novella according to the SFWA definition, but close enough). What I didn’t know then, I had chosen the two categories with the most books in SF — and thus, the two categories least likely to get my book noticed.

Some time ago, I changed one of the categories for Yseult from epic fantasy to Arthurian — and it’s been selling fairly regularly ever since. Arthurian fantasy is a niche category, and it doesn’t take many sales for my books to remain in the top 10. And that in turn gives them exposure.

I hadn’t looked into changing categories for any of my other books until recently, though. And that was when I saw how unwise I had been regarding the categories for Looking Through Lace. By that time, I had also published the second novella in the series, Beyond the Waters of the World. I wanted to change both to “Series” and “Space Opera.” Space opera is available from the KDP Bookshelf, but not Series.

If you want your book to appear in any of the categories in the Kindle store for which there is no corresponding match in the KDP Bookshelf, here’s a nifty link you can use.

Hit “Contact us” at the bottom of the page, and you will get a screen that asks you for the following information:

Please fill in the following information:
ASIN or name of book:
Category to delete (optional):
New category (select two):

When filling in the categories, you need to list the complete path. So mine looked like this:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Space Opera

Does it help? Looking Through Lace and Beyond the Waters of the World are not breaking any records, but they’ve been selling about a copy a day each since I did the category change combined with a freebie run. Before that, they were selling maybe 20 copies a month for both titles combined. On the second day of the freebie for Beyond the Waters of the World it had the following ranking:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Space Opera

And it managed to drag Looking Through Lace with it, which ended up here:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#51 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series

So I would highly recommend taking a look at the numbers in your genre, and if your book fits in a category with less competition, consider changing it. Of course, if you’re already selling hundreds of copies a day, stay where you are. This advice is for the few copies a day crowd, like me. 🙂

* * *

In writing news, I’ve managed to get more done on Island of Glass in two days than I did all last week. Word count 13,700, coming into the home stretch for the first draft of the expanded version. *g* I’ve also been doing some brainstorming for the second novella of the series, tentatively entitled Facets of Glass. With all the promotional work I’ve been doing lately, I’m good with that.

Speaking of promos, don’t forget to check out the Dollar Daze 99c promo and giveaway that I mentioned in my last post!

A new round of goals for the new year

I have to admit, this year I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, not a one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. I have plenty, and with a new Round of Words, it’s time to organize them a bit.

As usual, I’m not quite sure what I will be able to accomplish in the next 80 days, or even what will work for me going ahead, so my goals are sure to see some revising in the weeks to come. But one thing I have decided on, given my recent Fast Draft Fail — I’m returning to lower word count goals. And I am going to try to get my word count in first during my allocated writing time. Once I have my modest 500 words a day completed, then and only then will I allow myself to tackle my (horrendously) long list of business / publishing goals. (An alternate daily revision page count is still TBD.)

On to the specific goals and projects. Writing:

– Finish the novella version of “City of Glass” (Alternate history Venice / Murano with magic)

– Revise Chameleon in a Mirror and send it to my critique partner (in February!)

– Finish Ygerna

– If I suddenly transform into a writing machine and get all those projects finished, write another “Looking Through Lace” novella, rewrite my Rhodes novel, get back to Fragments of Legend and / or my alchemy novels, start brainstorming Kustennin’s story … (fat chance)

Writing business:

– Publish “The Leaving Sweater” (another story in Tales From Far Beyond North) and make it permafree

– Figure out a way to publish to the iTunes store (I don’t have a Mac that’s new enough to handle the software); upload my Mars story as a freebie; publish to Kindle and get them to price match so I’ll have a permafree story there

– Get Yseult up for Createspace so that those who want it will finally be able to buy hard copy (ditto Shadow of Stone)

– Edit web page and add links to my ebooks

– Make a book page for my blog

– Publish my “Story Hunger” collection

– Put together a collection (or two) of my stories co-written with Jay Lake

– Finish cover and publish my mini story collection “Oregon Elsewise”

Whew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I think it’s clear I won’t be suffering from boredom any time soon. (I think I’ve said that before … I can’t remember the last time I was bored … )

Good luck to everyone on their goals in the new year!

First sales on Kobo and B&N; and some more free books

As of yesterday, my first books are now live on Kobo:

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur on Kobo

Never Ever After: Three Short Stories on Kobo

And, amazingly enough, I have already made my first sales on both Kobo and B&N. A whopping one book each, but hey — Never Ever After has only sold about a dozen copies total in the last few months on Amazon. Ever since I got the review stating that the writing was like that of a middle-schooler, the sales of that little collection have dried up completely. *shrug* So don’t let anyone tell you a single one star review won’t affect your sales — from this side of the bench, it sure looks like it does.

Also, both of my “Looking Through Lace” books are free today, the original novella that was published in Asimov’s many years ago, as well as the continuation of the story, Beyond the Waters of the World. BTWW is only free today, but Looking Through Lace will be free for a few more days. Pick them up if you don’t have them yet and are so inclined!

So some successes there, but I have to admit to an Epic Fail regarding Fast Draft. Until now, I haven’t even come close to the 20 pages a day, nor have I achieved the “magic” that is supposed to come with high productivity. I guess that’s a given, since I never got to the high productivity to start with. Perhaps it was a mistake to try something like that with both a hospital visit scheduled and the holidays (and the attendant stress) coming up. I think some time in the new year I will try a week of fast writing on my own, perhaps trying to implement Rachel Aaron’s method.

Anyway, back to wrapping presents for me. 🙂

Results of ENT bargain listing for “Looking Through Lace”

About the time I was almost ready to publish Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 in the Looking Through Lace series, an email drifted into my inbox from the wonderful folks at Ereader News Today, announcing a new promotion opportunity, a listing for 99c Bargain Kindle Books. It was very timely, because I intended to lower the price of the first novella in the series for a limited time, to help stir up interest in the second book. So I signed up.

The bargain list with Looking Through Lace went up yesterday, and so far I’m very happy with the results, especially since I didn’t do a lot of extra promotion. Since the listing went live, I’ve sold over 90 books, and Looking Through Lace went from a ranking of 175,000 to 1,368 at it’s highest. Slipping now again, but it’s still #1,747 in the paid Kindle store, #1 in Science Fiction Short Stories, and #24 in Science Fiction Adventure.

It’s definitely worthwhile to experiment with new ways of marketing ebooks. And since the cost for this ENT promotion is a percentage of the profits, you really can’t go wrong or end up losing money, as you can with some other kinds of ads. You do, however, have to lower your price to 99c, at least temporarily, so the biggest cost for many writers would be in lost revenues, especially if the book is normally at a price point that earns 70% royalties.

I’ll be experimenting with a fixed-price ad soon. It will be interesting to see how that one goes compared to the ENT bargain book placement.

Announcing “Beyond the Waters of the World” (“Looking Through Lace” Book 2)

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally finished and published Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 of Looking Through Lace:

Beyond the Waters of the World on Amazon

Coming up with the description was a bit difficult, because I don’t want to provide any spoilers regarding the events of the first book. I would love some feedback on it, if anyone is so inclined:

The Allied Interstellar Community first contact team on the planet Kailazh is faced with even more challenges than most. But dealing with an alien culture is not only difficult for those who arrive on a foreign world. What of the inhabitants of the planet, who now have to deal with realities so strange to their way of thinking, it will have an impact on everything they believe?

Kislan is a factor in his family’s shipping company, a man who has seen many ships arrive at the docks of Edaru from many different cities, who deals with foreign goods from all over the known world. But the ship that arrives from the stars brings more than exotic innovations, it brings ideas that will change his life.

And it brings the beautiful ambassador from the stars, Toni Donato.

Beyond the Waters of the World is a science fiction novella of approximately 23,000 words, or about 60 pages. It is the second book in the Looking Through Lace series.

Even though the book is already published, it’s still causing me a fair amount of work. I’ve contacted potential reviewers, listed the book on Goodreads, started editing the back matter on my other books to include this one, and other marketing tasks. Nonetheless, I have managed to get back to Chameleon in a Mirror, and have gotten another 2,000 words done.

On the sales front, Yseult and Shadow of Stone are still doing quite well after the recent successful promotion. So far this month, the two books in The Pendragon Chronicles alone have sold 48 copies and had 60 borrows. That’s a very good run for me, seeing as we’re only five days into the month. 🙂

And before I forget, a reminder: The Future, Imperfect, a collection of dystopian short stories, is FREE today and tomorrow, Sept. 5-6. If you don’t already have it, be my guest and grab yourself a copy! And if you are so inclined, please pass the word along!