First Pre-Release Review of “Which Half David”

Book reviewer S. Wilkerson published her pre-release ARC review of “Which Half David” on Goodreads.

She said in part: “The plot is original, full of psychological drama, suspense, twists, turns and surprises.”

You can read the full review here: First Review of Which Half David

“Which Half David” is my fifth novel, scheduled to be released on September 15. It will be available on Kindle and in paperback.

It will be available for pre-order later in August. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the support!

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When to Lower Prices. When to Spread Out.

This indie author thing I’m doing doesn’t come with a definitive handbook. Why hasn’t someone written it yet? “Guaranteed Success for the Indie Author.” That could be a big seller.

I’m just slightly over the three-year mark of publishing indie, so I still feel like a newbie in may respects. I have learned a few things, thankfully, and I don’t make as many mistakes as I did on my first release.

In 2015 I released my fourth novel, completed my fifth, and got a good chunk of my sixth written as well. Now that I have a small list of available books and others on the horizon, I have to begin to strategize differently compared to when I started this fun adventure.

Amazon has of course been my main-stay through all of this. I’ve counted on KDP Select as a means of getting my name out there through offering free promotions and deeply discounted promotions. I’ve had a number of successes through this method, but now that I’ve reached this point, I started to realize that I want any reader on any device to be able to have access to at least some of my books.

So I’m in the process of removing my first two novels off of KDP Select and will be publishing them through Smashwords for optimized distribution through many different channels. The point of this move is this: if someone by chance runs across my name, website, or Facebook page, I want that person to be able to run into my books regardless of whether they read via Kobo, Apple, or B&N. I feel like I’m finally at a stage where I need to be everywhere.

Maybe I’ve waited to long to do this. It’s impossible to tell, but I’ve made the decision to permanently lower my prices on my first two novels and broaden their scope. We’ll see how it goes.

My two most recent novels will continue on KDP Select because I see the value that I’m getting from that program.

So here’s to trying new things. I’d appreciate any thoughts you might have.

Win $400 in Amazon Gift cards!

Hey all,

I’ve teamed up with the Kindle Book Review to offer $400 in holiday gift cards! Isn’t this the right time of the year to win some money and buy some gifts for loved ones?

This special runs from December 7-21 and in the process, you can help promote my latest novel, “A Love Story for a Nation.” It’s completely free. So you have nothing to lose and only $400  to gain.

Check out the giveaway HERE!

kindle book review giveaaway dec 2015

Gee, which one is mine? No good-looking faces on it. That’s for sure.

Fall Giveaway: Win Yourself an Amazon Gift Card!

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I’ve partnered with the Kindle Book Review in giving away a bunch of Amazon gift cards, and in the process, promote my new release: “A Love Story for a Nation.”

Use this link here: FALL GIVEAWAY  And of course, to enter is absolutely free!

In doing so, you can help promote my book, like my Facebook page, and generally put me in a fabulous mood for the fall season.

This giveaway runs through September 27, so don’t delay!

Thanks so much for your support, and be watching for a SWEET deal coming your way later this week!

ALoveStoryforaNation Cover LARGE

One More Day, the Thunderclap will Sound

On April 28, 12:00pm EST, my Thunderclap campaign which is supporting my Kindle Scout campaign will sound. About 1 day from now.

I have absolutely no idea what it will mean to my book in the long run, but I’m excited to find out. Here are the current numbers for my Thunderclap campaign:

thunderclap 112

 

I pushed hard to get to 100 supporters and I’m so grateful for everyone who signed up. Of course, the big number sitting there is quite enticing: 122,819.  Naturally, that is the total possible social reach and the actual post/twitter will not come close to that. It will be a fraction. But the network is built around two key constituents: my friends who have shown interest in my writing and readers/bloggers who are consumed by books. That’s a good combination. Even if just a tiny fraction of that 122,000 clicked on my Kindle Scout account, it would make a difference. I mean tiny. Like 0.5% or 0.25%. Once the original number is so high, it doesn’t take much to make an impact. I suppose that’s the point and genius of Thunderclap.

My novel will be on Kindle Scout until May 15. This Thunderclap is, I believe, perfectly timed to help push me during the final two weeks to a strong finish. I have no idea what may happen, but it’s been enjoyable to join Kindle Scout, and whatever happens, I’m prepared for it.

If you haven’t joined my Thunderclap campaign, you have about a day to do so at this LINK!

If you want to check out my new novel on Kindle Scout and possibly nominate it for a publishing contract, you may do so HERE!

Thanks for your support!

Kindle Scout Kick-off: Hot & Trending

My fourth novel’s Kindle Scout  campaign is off and running. Early results? HOT & TRENDING!

kindle scout hot 2

 

I really appreciate everyone  who has nominated it so far, and if you haven’t checked out the  site yet, you can do so HERE!

If you nominate my book and it is chosen for publication through Kindle Press, you’ll receive a free Kindle version! Great for you, great for me!

I’m really fond of this novel. Quite different from my other ones with no mention of Vietnam. Shocker! Actually, the way I wrote it, there’s no mention of the name of the country at all. There’s a specific reason behind this, but I won’t go into that now.

Here’s the synopsis. If you go to the website, you can read the first three chapters.

Thanks again, and here’s hoping the hotness doesn’t flame out too soon!

The revolution starts with an innocent smile.

As nightly raids burn the capital city, the mundane existence of Gerald Sanpatri takes a dramatic shift when Rosia walks into his life bringing laughter and unexpected love. She inspires the ex-writer to once again take up his pen and write the impossible: a love story for an entire nation. A Love Story for a Nation chronicles the explosive and heart-warming journey of one country’s brush with history through the eyes of a courageous man who dared to stand up, smile, and think the unimaginable.

Tedious Editing & a Decision about Kindle Scout

I recently received the manuscript back from my editor for my new novel A Love Story for a Nation. 

Once that happens, the gears start turning and the planning begins.

The first step is to obviously fix the mistakes and issues brought up by my editor. This is what I can tedious editing – the minutia of grammar and syntax that is ever so boring but also extremely important. I find it especially tedious because there’s nothing creative about it – it’s simply find and fix with the occasional re-write and re-phrasing.

Once I finish my tedious editing, I do another complete read through. I read it out loud to get a feel for the language and flow. On this final read through I fix any other mistakes I encounter along the way – though at this point the manuscript is ready for publishing. Of course, I do find phrasing and words that I want to change. A writer can never be completely satisfied. There’s always a danger of making changes at this point because what if I make a silly mistake that I don’t catch? It’s been known to happen, but it doesn’t stop me.

Once my final read-through is complete, I will typically produce an ARC which I make available to bloggers and reviewers.

But I’m not doing that this time because I’ve decided to give Kindle Scout a try. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s reader-driven publishing program. Any new, previously unpublished manuscript can be added to the site for 30 days. The more traction the book gets with readers will help it to attract more attention to Kindle Scout editors who may offer to publish it on Kindle Press. What’s most attractive about this program is that an author will know for sure with forty-five days whether Kindle Press will be publishing your book or not. If it chooses not to, then all digital and audio rights go back to the author.

I was happy to see Fiction and Literature finally being added as a new genre for Kindle Scout. This helped me decide to give it a try.

My goal is to have my new novel live on Kindle Scout by the middle of April. That way, I’ll have a decision from them by around the first of June.

If they decide not to publish it, then I will self-publish in mid-July.

Please keep your eye out for more information about my book on Kindle Scout. Your nomination on the site could help me land a publishing deal. That’s pretty cool. Even if it doesn’t happen, I am curious to see how the program works, and I’ll report back on my experience.

I guess that also means I need to release my book cover. Soon!

Hey Indie Authors, Has the Giant Lost its Nimbleness? (Taxes and Amazon)

Navigating tax season is certainly not one of the joys of being an indie author. (Nor of anyone else in the universe, but we’ll keep this post about writers.)

As I was beginning to think through necessary documents and collate what I had received already, something strange became very apparent: perhaps the mammoth, gargantuan, enormous, industry-leading Amazon is not quite as quick and nimble as it once was.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a devoted Amazon follower – for better or worse. I understand what they have done for indie authors like myself, and while I may not always agree with everything they do, they’ve given me a platform and have helped to even the playing field for no-name authors like myself.

But it does make me wonder what’s the problem when small matters such as tax forms become so difficult to receive online. I wrote the following note to KDP customer service the other day: “Can you tell me if the 1099-MISC tax form is available on-line?”

Reasonable and logical question in this day and age, I believe. Here was their courteous and prompt response. I’ve always had excellent customer service from Amazon and this encounter was no different:

“Hello, 

I hope this mail finds you well. I’m glad you wrote us today so that we can take care of this right away. Thank you for the opportunity.

I’m sorry that the 1099 form will be a physical copy that will be mailed to your address.

We will make every effort to evaluate the information and try our level best to lead it to program changes or enhancements to make 1099 forms available online.”

Fine. Not a big deal. I’ll get it in the mail. But contrast this with the email I received from Smashwords. They said that my 1099-MISC form was now available on-line and can be downloaded immediately by logging into my account. Wow.  Extremely convenient. I logged in and in a matter of seconds, I had my form.

Amazon doesn’t have it available on-line. They are going to mail out thousands upon thousands of 1099 forms because for whatever reason, they aren’t available.  Think of the thousands of dollars they will spend on postage. A pittance, no doubt, but it does say something to me: the giant is not as nimble as it once was. This is not the only example of Amazon being slower than someone else in the industry. Smashwords had pre-release selling of books for indie authors a long time before Amazon finally did the same thing. There are probably other examples as well.

It’s not uncommon for big behemoths to eventually slow-down – just look at the government. But here’s hoping that first off, Amazon will catch up and offer simple downloads on tax forms, and secondly, will continue to innovate in the big and small areas which will ensure a better experience for all kinds of authors, thus increasing book sales across the board. That would be good for everyone.

Another bookstore closing

Another bookstore closing — this one a major retailer in Hong Kong. The major overhaul in the publishing market continues as traditional, large book retailers are finding it more and more difficult to be profitable.

The impact of e-books and Amazon has certainly been slower in Asia than in the USA. There are, I’m sure, many reasons for this. Amazon doesn’t have the reach and muscle in Asia as it does in the United States, but that is changing. Amazon has Amazon Japan, Amazon India, and Amazon Australia throughout the Pacific Rim and South Asia. But vast swaths of Asia have a huge gap and many obstacles to overcome in order for e-books and e-readers to be readily used and available, as this paper from June 2014 points out: 

Click to access ALA2014-SEA-Ebooks-paper.pdf

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Despite the lack of dedicated e-readers and the lack of commercially available e-books for purchase, traditional bookstores in the region are STILL closing down.

Right about the time Borders was shuttering its USA stores for good, a Malaysian company purchased the franchise rights to open Borders Bookstores in Malaysia. When Penang’s Queensbay Mall opened in 2007, one of the featured stores was Borders. It had a huge retail footprint with its standard books, music, and coffee shop. But within the first year of operation, it could easily be seen that the music portion of their store wasn’t making money. It kept getting smaller and smaller until the music was removed altogether. Skip ahead a few more years and they remodeled the store once again. But this time, they cut the store in half, making it just a fraction of its original footprint.

The Borders franchise here got creative and tried new things. They opened up a Borders Express outlet at another mall in Penang. This was a very small retail location – kind of like a teaser of their other store. This small location lasted only a few months before it was shut down.

Time and time again, bookstores in the region find themselves unable to remain profitable, despite the fact that e-readers and e-books are not popular here.

I can imagine that the future of e-books in Asia looks bright because there are so many markets to grow in and so much of the region is already extremely tech savvy. But that technology also underlines some of the problems which booksellers will have to deal with including a reading public which has its attention severely split between the myriad of entertainment options found on the Internet. Many bookstores will continue to struggle to stay relevant in the every changing technological revolution we are all a part of.

Indie Authors: Take Control and Benefit More

I have a dear friend who a couple years back published her fascinating story about her family living as missionaries in South Vietnam during the war years. The book was published through one of the independent presses which require fees up front. They made a nice e-book for her and produced a very professional book in both hardcover and paper.

The book itself is an absolute fascinating read. My friend is a wonderful storyteller, and the stories of ministry and faith in the midst of the chaos of war and both eye-opening and inspirational. It should have a large appeal, even to those who are not Christian because it gives a view of war rarely seen.  (I’ll highlight the actual book with a later post.)

Since the time she published her book, I have become an author myself and have walked in indie author shoes for a while now. Earlier this year I contacted her to ask her if she still retained all the rights to her book (she did) and if she would be interested in re-publishing it as an independent author. She was interested, as I knew she would after I first noticed the e-book price for her work on Amazon: $9.49.

I told her I could help her republish it at a much lower price, she would keep more of the profits and reach more readers.

Let’s think about that $9.49 price point. When I told her she would get 70% royalty on Amazon for books priced from $2.99 to $9.99, she immediately acknowledged that by putting the re-published book at $3.99, she’ll make more money per sale than she does now.

Luckily she wasn’t stuck at that price point by having signed away any rights. She was selling an ebook at a high price with a publisher doing nothing to promote it, which is a fact I don’t understand. Doesn’t the publisher realize that if they sold more books, they, too, would make more money? Competitive pricing, more sales, more money for everyone. ??? Why is it hard for these companies to understand this basic tenant of a market economy? That’s why I side with Amazon on the Hachette dispute, but that’s another story.

Within the next few days, the book will be re-offered on Amazon for $3.99. Once her old publisher un-publishes the ebook from the different retailers then she’ll be joining KDP so she can offer it for free and reach thousands of readers which were previously unavailable to her.

I wish her all the success in the world, as I do with all indie authors. It’s great to be able to take control of our own destiny, and reach readers on our own terms.

Don’t you think so?