Tag Archives: e-books

Why I am digitally moving

For those who have followed or joined me along the way of my 257 posts I am moving. I have created a new WordPress website where I will continue blogging about writing including a ‘who I am’ page and links to my e-books with a synopsis of each. I hope you will check it out and continue to follow me. If you have time let me know if you like the new site. The new site is here.

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Are readers dictating e-Book prices

Everyone wants a good deal, especially if something is free and e-Readers may be dictating the future of e-Books. There are many sites devoted to getting cheap if not free books. I will not list them all, they are easy to find with Google magic. I subscribe to Book Bub and I can select what type of books I am interested in and everyday in my inbox are books, some for 99 cents, some for free. Some are $2.99-what to they think I am a millionaire. Being an avid reader and bargain consumer I love it. The cheap ones I mean.

Book Bub is one of the best and I don’t want to know how many sites like them are out there. As an indie e-book author on Amazon I am afraid to find out. But we just might be on the forefront of change, as who will spend $3.99 for an e-Book, especially by an unknown, when they can pick and choose great buys, some from famous authors by signing up for a newsletter, a newsletter that, in essence, does the search for you.

The original prices for my books were $2.99 because that is what everyone said at the time. It became the standard. Of course one must always wonder who THEY are. Are they The Hardly Enlightened Yahoos. It was, however, the prevailing accepted price. Then someone said it should be $3.99 because if you value your work, believe you have written good stories, then you should be paid accordingly to distance yourself from those $2.99 folk.

I thought about it, then changed the price. I did not notice any significant downturn in sales so kept it at the higher price. At some point I thought of reverting to the original price during a sluggish sales period, but I then read a blog that said once you raise the price it is not a good idea to go back as the readers who paid the higher price may feel cheated. It made sense, but I have to come to the opinion it doesn’t matter. In the end you must do what you feel is best, not what others say or think, no matter if you believe they-remember them- make sense.

But will it now make a difference? Is $2.99 now too high a price with so many savvy readers paying 99 cents, at the most $1.99 for quality books. There is a proliferation of sales and cheap e-Books, and the smart reader knows this and loves it. In the future indie authors may be squeezed out of the market  just as they are squeezed out from traditional publishing. I have no illusions of being a best selling writer, but a steady income  of mad money would be nice.

So what to do? This year I will advertise more, and I may revert to my old price (still percolating in my sub-human brain), but all of us Indie e-Book authors are facing important questions, none of which have to do with plot and structure.

On my Amazon page you will find my books at $3.99. Buy now before the price drops.

 

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Webinar thoughts for Indie writers-beware

We live in an information age, and there is too much information, much of it sounds good, until somebody points out an obvious truth that blows up what you thought was true, but then you wonder if the ‘new’ truth is accurate. For an indie writer writing e-Books I heard over and over you need to have lots of books on Amazon. But someone said, it does not matter how many books, it is a myth, you need to learn to market, that Amazon is a search engine, and you need to increase your ability to get searchers to your books, then somebody tells you, but . .  wait a  minute. Halt. I am getting confused here.

I have attended three webinars, all were free. I learned many things, but in two of the webinars, the hosts, who were writers themselves, had a lot to say about marketing, and if you are a writer I need not go into all of that, you have heard it before. While their information-what they would share of it-was good; it told you what to do, but not the fine points of how. That would of course cost you money, as much as $500 to $700 for their course module. I have no doubt it can be done if you follow what they say. It is not the work that bothers me, but there are two points to be made.

One is that many people will go all in, but not follow through over time. The exhilaration and excitement wears off. The second is that you have to ask yourself how many books must you sell to offset the cost of what I am buying. If you are sure you can sell a few hundred books, then go for it. It is also true that what works for some people will not work for everybody. It is impossible that everybody will succeed. Some succeed, others will do the same things, but fail.

I made a purchase at the first webinar I attended. It had little to do with marketing and strategy. It only cost about $90 and would position my books on the Internet with very creative web pages. It was something like a website. Unfortunately I don’t think people ever found it. I think the product had an un-search engine. I liked the pages I was able to create, but it was a waste of money in the end.

So yes, I am leery, but I am also leery of professional marketers and pitchmen. They talk a great game. In the end if you attend any webinars, or come across anyone or anything that promises a result you desire, remember to weigh the cost.

This book will cost only $3.99 on Amazon. So save hundreds of dollars today.

coyotemoon_silentmurder

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Don’t think when writing, instead see

The worst thing a writer can do is think. First, it is a waste of brain cells, and second, thinking gets in the way of creativity. Call it Zen. Ray Bradbury did in his book “Zen and the Art of Writing.” He says what other writers have said and when more than one tell you it is so, and you can verify by your experience, you know they are correct.

I have experienced it many times, none more so, then when I wrote 2,700 words in three hours.

When writing you visualize in your cinematic brain what is happening in the scene. As a writer you know every scene has a purpose, a beginning, middle, and an end, or at least a hanging chad type of ending, one that leads the reader to the next scene, because they can’t put the book down, not yet anyway, got to keep reading, because there is that chad hanging on and the need to find out what that chad means.

Example: I wrote a scene where three people come across a car they were looking for, the car of someone who is missing. The car is on an isolated road. They follow the dirt road in a misty rain, the road overgrown with weeds, hardly, if ever used. (since I write on the fly, I have no idea where they are going). But as they go down the road, I see the road in my cinematic brain. I see the rain- and see it is misty, so I write that it is misty. I see the weeds, I see the tall grass, and I describe what I am looking at. I see the bear in the middle of the road. I see the bear raise up and let loose a tree shaking, knee buckling growl.

What happens then is not important (hanging chad), at least to the point I am making. A writer sees and writes what he sees, and what he sees is shaped into a story. So don’t think, sit back and visualize and then report what is going on, what is being said. At the end of the day-or days, you will have a story.

The hanging chad resolved: one of the three, a woman raised in an area where bears would be encountered, knew how to shout and yell to scare the bear off. They then come upon a weather beaten old shack that they approach slowly; the woman who scared off the bear slowly turns the knob on the front door. (another hanging chad)

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Book cover contest and sage perspective

I am three chapters into my new e-Novel, Head on a Grave. There is a contest by another blogger who will design a free book cover. One of the rules is to post a pitch of the book to be voted on by her followers. Deadline is December 31st. You can read more here.

So here is my pitch under 50 words:

While on vacation in 1927, Hollywood screenwriter Chet Koski and his wife Eveleen, both amateur sleuths, antagonize a divided small town, unravel a kidnapping, discover a timber scandal, and Chet fears his cousin may be a killer. These things happen when finding a head on a grave.

Done.

All of us Indie writers need to share wisdom and insight from others because we are in a community. Besides this contest that Ana is having she wrote in another blog about all the things we hear about, like ‘write a good book,’ and about pricing, and about social media. Like me, you may have discovered what Ana has to say. Good stuff. That blog is here.

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why e-book errors are here to stay

The sentence below is an excerpt from a best selling author’s e-book. I will not, of course, out of respect, list his name. The scene has a woman in a car and a male approaching the car who has exposed himself, thus the term yanking.

“It seemed so absurd that she started to laugh, but she thought better of it as he strode up the door other car and began yanking in her direction.”

An obvious mistake here. Does the author mean the ‘other car door’ or does he mean ‘door of her car.’ It makes a bit more sense that ‘other’ should be ‘of her’ but of course that is my thinking.

I do not know if the author did the formatting, or his agent, or an agent’s assistant, or if it came from the publisher. No matter, because a proofreader missed it, and the author should have proofread. For all I know he may have and missed it. I found another error, but it is not my intent to point out everything I may find, but to indicate that errors are going to be found in e-books. And we must live with them.

Proofreading, especially by the author, is far more time consuming than the actual writing. In my case with my latest novel,  “Silent Murder” which is by no means an exception, I proofread in Word.doc six times, then sent the file to my formatter and once it was converted to Amazon friendly Kindle, I checked through my Kindle app and found more errors; usually a missing period or quotation mark, or ‘ instead of ” and so on. In the Kindle I went through another six readings, finding errors I never saw before. What? Where did this come from? How did I not notice?

It is brutal. There are digital gremlins. I am sure of it.

The point being in one of my reviews of an earlier book the reviewer mentioned a few grammatical errors, but they did not interfere with his or her enjoyment of the story. It still bothers me that the book has a few errors. But the author reaches the point when he/she has gone through the readings so many times, with time off in between to clear your mind, that one must let it go to keep what sanity you have left.

So I apologize to anyone who finds a mistake along the way. I did my best, but we live in a new world of story telling, and if best selling authors can publish e-books with mistakes and grammatical errors, then we must forgive. I wish we could all write perfect books, but readers and proofreaders who read a book before publication, along with the author, and those insidious digital gremlins, will miss something.

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Are you inspired by these inspirational quotes

Believe that you will succeed, and you will.”

The above quote came from Dale Carnegie who wrote the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” His techniques worked for him as he got rich with the book and his training program. Though he died in 1955 his training program his still going strong. He is still influencing others from the grave.

But believing alone will not lead to success. I read a variation of this quote that said, “believe and act like you are a writer and you will be one.” What is not said is that a writer must write. And then if he is an indie writer he must learn to market, advertise, and become a businessman.

So no, acting like a writer by wearing a jacket with elbow patches, a scarf around your neck, a fashionable hat purchased at Wal-Mart atop your head, and sitting reading a small book of Renaissance poetry in Starbucks won’t work. A woman writer would be sitting at the same table, but I have no idea what she would be wearing, other than a colorful sweater, scarf (all writers must have one), flats-no heels, and holding a cat in her lap while surfing the net on her laptop. 

And great writers also have empty inspiration. Johan  Wolfgang Von Goethe, who wrote “Faust,” said, “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, anything can happen.” I do believe that you must believe in yourself, but doing so will not create success, nor will there be magic. There Are millions of people who believe in themselves, yet face the fact that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, what they want will always be illusive.

There will always be waiters in Hollywood, who will end up as waiters, because they never get that good break. The same is true of those teaching here and there, writing everyday, but getting rejected by agents and publishers.

I admit to disliking inspirational quotes. I find them hollow. They are always said by those who have achieved, never by those who failed. I wonder why that is. Let’s be honest. There is something to be said about luck, about randomness, about, perhaps, being in the right time at the right place. But, and this is important, you must prepare for that moment, even if in times of darkness, you don’t think that moment will come.

As a writer you can listen to all the advice of those on the Internet who want to help you, all the while trying to sell you something so that they can make money as you chase your dream. Nothing against Writers Digest, a good magazine, but I got daily multiple emails from them, encouraging me to enroll in this course, to buy these books, to sign up for this webinar. I have also seen free webinars and registered for two, but of course they always have something to sell, don’t they. And it’s not cheap.

True success is not about believing, it is about circumnavigating all the traps set before you; the writer in the maze who smells the cheese and scrambles after it through the maze. I believe in writing and working, of having enough books on Amazon so that people who find my page will find much to chose from. I may never have success, but I will work, not from empty inspiration, but from the power of the word.

My new e-book is Silent Murder, a murder mystery set in 1927 where somebody is killing sound technicians, trying to prevent the demise of silent movies.

Also recently published is a collection of eight short horror stories, More Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms.

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