Tag Archives: publishing

Third quarter stock-taking, a Glassmakers excerpt, and a request

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look at the original list of goals and analyze how things went. I’m pretty pleased with this quarter. Here’s the breakdown:

Writing

My original goal was to get 2500 words a week written. At the moment I am regularly producing more than 4000 a week, a definite improvement from my original goal. Another writing goal was to write a detailed outline of Facets of Glass — I am now over 11,000 words into the writing of the actual novella. Of course, I also had a number of goals where I made no progress. For example, I still find it hard to work on any of my collaborations with Jay Lake, so those goals remained untouched this round. Nor did I finish any new short stories. But with the serious progress I’ve made on Facets of Glass and several other longer projects, I’m quite happy with the way things have gone this round, writing-wise. I’m also having so much more FUN than I’ve had in a long time!

I met my blog goals as well. I wrote the blog posts about my research trip to Britain this summer, and I have written several installments of my new series “Starting out as an indie author.”

Writing Business

My batting average on the business side wasn’t quite as good, but I also had quite a few goals. The things I got off of my “writing business” list:

– Started splitting Yseult into episodes and publishing individually
– Got Amazon to price match “The Leaving Sweater” for free
– Edited blog, added ebook as incentive to join mailing list
– Found some reviewers for Chameleon in a Mirror
– Uploaded Island of Glass to Amazon for pre-order and set a publishing date.

This is where I need your help! Island of Glass is now scheduled for publication on Oct. 28, so I’d love some volunteers to help me get the word out. That includes any of the following options:

– Participate in the cover reveal on October 14
– Do an interview with me on your blog
– Have a guest post from me on your blog

Also, if anyone is interested in an advance copy of the novella to review, please let me know! That’s one of the hardest things about new releases, getting the reviews needed to be able to promote it on other sites. (I’m not aggressive enough about this, which was why CIAM was reviewless for months.)

Naturally I’m not asking you to do all these things — I’m grateful for any help at all that I can get. I got some inspiration from Amy here and would like to return the favor too. 🙂 I’d be happy to feature all of you on my blog in upcoming weeks — with the caveat that interviews and guest posts should be about indie publishing, given the slant of my blog. But if you’re not an indie writer, I’ll still be happy to post a plug to your book.

If you can help, please let me know either in the comments below, in email, or on Facebook. Thanks!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. For the first time, I’m going to post an excerpt from the second book in The Glassmakers Trilogy, Facets of Glass. Today’s date, the 24th, gives me 2+4 = 6 short paragraphs, which I hope will pique your interest:

Dowager Princess Zilia of House Foscari gazed at the apple of glass that had come with the invitation from Prague. It had little resemblance to the typical art of Bohemian glass, usually thick goblets decorated with deep cuts that reflected the light like the facets of diamonds, or somewhat finer works enhanced by detailed engravings.
This apple was different. She admired the nonchalant artistry, the combination of realism and artifice, the delicacy of the glass — as thin as the cristallo of Murano. The kind of glass that had not been seen anywhere in the world before, other than from the glassmakers in the service of Venice.
The Bohemian glassworks had never before produced glass as thin and delicate as this. Nor had they ever worked in colored glass in this way, at least not to Zilia’s knowledge.
She held the apple, one half red, one half green, up to the light, examining the way the colors flowed into each other almost as naturally as a real apple. The brown stem and green leaves at the top completed the illusion. She turned the apple in her hands, only to discover a small hole, around which had been placed brown residue like that from a worm.
Zilia stared at the wormhole of glass, and all she could think of were a pair of glass slippers with their carelessly tied ribbons. Shoes of glass so strong and so fine, they had captured the heart of her son, Prince Vittore.
Those slippers had been made by a young maestra from Murano, Chiara Dragoni — who had disappeared over a year ago in the lagoon of Venice.

Glass Apple by Bill Brooks on Flickr
Glass Apple (c) Bill Brooks on Flickr, cc license

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.

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Getting Your Books into Google Play

Starting out as an indie author

In an earlier post in this series, I mentioned that since I’d heard so many horror stories about Google Play randomly cutting prices of indie books, and Amazon subsequently following suit — with serious consequences for the incomes of the writers involved — I decided not to try to sell my books through that venue.

But then I learned (on Kboards of course) that the stories I’d heard, while true, could be avoided with creative pricing. Apparently Google discounts all books in pretty much the same way. But while the percentages hover around a 23% discount, the discounts jump around a bit, and don’t apply to the lowest price points (supposedly). Luckily, the smart folks on the Internet have figured out what you have to do to get your book priced the way you want it. This in turn will keep Amazon happy and they won’t discount your book below the 70% royalty sweet spot of 2.99.

Here is a compilation of some of the suggestions I’ve found around the Internet for how to price your book on Google Play to make it end up the price you want:

Desired price / Price you need to enter on Google Play:

99c / 99c
1.49 / 1.49 (Apparently Google does not discount these)
1.99 / 2.54
2.99 / 3.93
3.99 / 5.18
4.99 / 6.48
5.99 / 7.78

I don’t know if all of these are actually 100% correct; you might need to experiment a bit within the price range to get the results you want.

Becoming a “partner” on Google Play

You cannot publish with Google Play without a Gmail account, so if you don’t have that yet, it’s the first thing you need to do. Once you’ve signed up, you can go here to get started publishing:

https://play.google.com/books/publish/

The Google Play dashboard is much less intuitive than Amazon, B&N, Draft2Digital and Kobo, the sales sites I have primarily used until now. On the left you have the following options: book catalog, analytics & reports, promotions, payment center, and account settings. Today I will only be going into “book catalog” and “payment center” since that is what you need in order to publish a book. (The “account settings” automatically gets populated with your Google account info and any publisher info you add when you sign in.) You do the actual publishing from “book catalog”:

Google Play

But although it is farther down in the list, I suggest starting with the item “payment center”: if you don’t, your book will not be published. The fist couple of times I tried to publish Part I of my serialized version of Yseult, I kept getting the error message “PRICE MISSING OR NOT APPLICABLE” which didn’t make a lot of sense to me, since Google allows you to set the price to free. Finally, I googled the error message and found out that Google Play would not allow me to publish until I entered my payment info. So maybe that should be first in line … ?

Anyway, in the payment center, click “Payment Profiles” and enter your bank account info. GP does not allow PayPal, unfortunately. If your bank is in the US, for Sales Territories select “WORLD – US/USD” and under “CURRENCY CONVERSION” TURNED ON.

Once you’ve saved your payment information, you can go to “Book Catalog” and actually publish your book. Click on the “Add book” button. If you already have an ISBN for your book, enter it here, otherwise check the box that you don’t. The “Book details” pane opens, which should be largely self-explanatory. One thing that bears mentioning, however, is that for GP you have to enter you bio for EVERY BOOK. Interesting, huh? The leading search engine in the world can’t find the biographical info for for a single author account …

Once you’ve entered the book details, in the next pane you upload your ebook and cover. The book itself can be either EPUB or PDF. In order to save yourself grief and repeated uploads, if you are uploading an Epub file, I suggest testing it with EPUB Validator first:

http://validator.idpf.org/

The next pane is for pricing. No dropdown menu for the currency, unfortunately, so if you’re in the States, enter USD manually. The box after “for” should be WORLD. For the price, see the list above. 🙂

The “Settings” pane is for metadata. The format is of course “digital” and for the subject, enter keywords that will get your book into the appropriate categories, such as “fantasy” and “historical.” The form then makes suggestions that you can choose from. For most of the other options, you’re fine with the defaults, at least as far as I could determine.

The final pane is for publishing, where you can decide whether to publish only to Google Books or also to Google Play as well. Seems a no-brainer to me to choose both. 🙂

I have only just started publishing with Google Play, so I can’t say yet whether all the work will actually be worth it. But it was fun finding the free book with my smartphone and downloading it. If you have Google Play, please do so as well! There don’t seem to be any Nestvolds other than me in the GP store, so the free book should be pretty easy to find.

Once I’ve been on Google Play longer, have published a few more things, and understand the system better, I will post more.

Other posts in this series:

Starting out as an indie author: preparing your manuscript for ebook retailers

Starting out as an indie author: Using distributors for getting into online bookstores

Starting out as an indie author: Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and Xinxii (Using distributors, part 2)

Starting out as an indie author: The costs of self-publishing

Starting out as an indie author: Why editing is important — and who can skip the expense after all

Starting out as an indie author: Creating your own covers

Starting out as an indie author: Interview with Kate Sparkes