It’s bleak midwinter. Snowstorm after snowstorm have been dropping white post cards from the heavens. Winds that skied down the Canadian Rockies and across the great plains have plummeted this area into a frozen state. No better time to stay inside and work on the second draft of my new novel. Right? If only it were that easy. Relentless snowfall requires constant shoveling. My writing den is chilly, so layers of clothing are required to sit here for long spells. Outside there is the sound of snowplows dropping their iron walls on the pavement and scraping along as they shove white walls across my driveway’s recently cleared entrance.
I take long walks with the dog when possible to seek inspiration. Most days I note the different birds chattering. Bluejays seem to grouse the most about the cold weather, I’ve decided. Once we were watched by a peregrine falcon atop a telephone pole. It was hungry, just like the cottontail rabbit in the back yard who has been gnoshing on the Indian corn that adorned the front door in the fall.
This second draft entails typing the handwritten first draft as I edit, but I also end up adding more text. So far I have about five thousand more words in the second draft, and I’m barely a third of the way through the manuscript for this new suspense novel. Once this draft is done, I imagine the third draft will reduce in size. The process is not unlike building a clay bowl on a potter’s wheel. Build, take away; build, take away.
And so I plow along in my small creative world, awaiting the coming spring thaw. Soon, I whisper, soon.
Tomorrow, Jan. 24, 2015, is National Readathon Day. The effort, spearheaded by Penguin Random House, is targeting the 40% of Americans who are barely literate.
All they ask is that you pick up a book to read, between noon and 4 p.m. your time. Read at home, the library or a bookstore.
When you’re done reading, you are invited to share your experience across social media through photos and posts. Be sure to include the hashtag #timetoread.
Need an idea for a book to read? May I suggest any of THESE?
I released my first collection of short stories, In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, last fall. For the first time I enrolled one of my books in the Kindle Select program.
When you do this, the ebook version must be available exclusively at Amazon for three months. In return, Amazon offers you a choice of two promotions: the Free Promotion (in which the book is free for a limited time) or the Countdown Deal (in which the book is reduced and then the price is raised over a period of a few days before it returns to the list price). Kindle Select books also receive higher royalty sales in certain markets (India, Brazil, Japan and Mexico) and are eligible for Kindle Unlimited (in which a user pays a month fee to read all that the person wants to) and Kindle Owners Lending Library (in which copies can be shared).
This was my first foray into the short stories genre, so I decided to experiment with new marketing ideas and give it a try. After three months, I have just removed it from the program. Here’s why:
- I don’t believe in the concept of giving your book away unless it’s a copy provided to a prospective reviewer. Why not do that when it’s very successful for many authors? To me it’s the principle of the thing. I work very hard on these books and in my opinion making them free devalues that effort. Stubborn? Yes. Luddite? Not quite; it’s more a matter of pride in my art. Because of those strong feelings, I opted for the Countdown Deal. The ebook retails at $2.99 and I lowered it to 99 cents for three days and then raised it to $1.99. Did it work? Well, the book rose to No. 9 in the short story category at Amazon’s Kindle Store. (Yay!) I had very good sales (comparable to the bump from past good book reviews), but they weren’t what I would classify as outstanding.
- I did have a few Kindle Unlimited/Online Lending Library borrows, which will make me eligible for a piece of the pot o’cash Amazon disburses quarterly to members of the Kindle Select Club. I have no idea how much that will be. I don’t expect to put the down payment on a new car anytime soon.
- To date, I have never made a sale in Mexico, Brazil or Japan (I have sold books in India). So the lure of higher royalties in those countries isn’t that much of a draw.
- What I think drives sales for these deals is investing in advertising. Many authors get big rankings with pricey ads on well-known book promo sites. Wish I had the income for that but I don’t yet. I paid for some far less expensive Facebook ads. The targeting for those ads is impressive, but not sure how much the click-throughs actually contributed to sales. During the event I held a book blog tour across fellow indies’ blogs. I know that helped. The book sale was also broadcast all over social media.
- In my opinion, what truly matters in making these Select options a success (besides writing the best book you can) is your choice of genre. Mystery, fantasy and romance are almost a given to do very well. Short stories? Eh…not the same.
- I use Smashwords coupons for sending free copies of books to reviewers. Currently I do not have software for converting my MS to ePub format. Because of the Amazon exclusivity contract, that coupon option was not available to me. Surely that hurt the launch of this book. Perhaps if Kindle gave you that option, the Select program would be more attractive.
On Monday I uploaded In the Shadows of the Onion Domes to Smashwords where it is available immediately in all ebook formats. Within weeks it will be available directly at the Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and Apple stores.
C’mon little book, it’s time for you to learn to fly
Meanwhile I writing the second draft of my new novel. Did I mention it’s a mystery?
Filed under: Kindle Countdown Deal
, Self Publishing
| Tagged as: amazon
, in the shadows of the onion domes
, kindle countdown deal
, kindle online lending library
, kindle select
, kindle unlimited
, mary pat hyland
, short stories