Monday, October 30, 2017

Books in the Trunk

I keep a box in the trunk of my car filled with paperback copies of my books.  It's there in case I run across anyone who actually wants to buy a hardcopy of one.  To be honest, it's been a long, long time since I hand sold a book, though. 

Every once in a while, when I'm pushing the box aside for groceries, I tell myself I really should get that out of there.  It's just taking up space and every time I see it, it reminds me that my paperbacks aren't selling.  (Of course, I'm not really doing anything to sell them, so that's on me.  And a story for another time.)

But it's still there.  And Friday I was reminded why I need to always keep it there.

Hubs and I went to town Friday.  He needed a haircut and while he certainly could've gone alone, he asked me to come along for the drive.  It was a beautiful day, so why not?  Anyway, I dropped him off at the barber and went across the street to buy cigarettes. 

I've been patronizing this smoke shop slash liquor store slash bait & tackle place for about 4 years and I like to chat with the employees.  They're great gals (and just recently guys).  And most of them are readers.  The one who was working yesterday is always cheerful and nice.  We've talked about her and her family.  She's a hard working gal who busts her butt. 

So, anyway, I was there talking to her and she asked me how the writing was going.  (Not a question I get too often out there in the world.)  I told her and then gave her a new bookmark and a new postcard.  She was really excited for me, which kind of made my day.  And I told her all of the ebooks are available for $2.99.  Then she confessed that she prefers to read hardcopy. 

Totally cool, but I could tell she wasn't going to go online and order my paperbacks, and that she was disappointed about that.  I mean, I keep my paperbacks as inexpensive as I can, but they're still way more than $2.99. 

Another customer was waiting, so we said our goodbyes and I went out to put the cigarettes in the car.  And there in the trunk was that box, filled with books that haven't been going anywhere.  I grabbed a copy of Wish in One Hand, whipped out a pen and signed it, then took it back inside.  When I handed it to her, she lit up.  And then she opened the front and saw the signature and squeed. 

I made her day.  And she made mine.

So, the box will remain in the trunk and I will add more books to it.  Just in case.  You never know.  And hey, she might buy the others now, or she might opt for the ebooks (she does have a Kindle), and she might tell other people about them.  But if she doesn't that's okay, too.  Because she already made my day.

One more thing.  I had been debating on whether to continue to produce paperback copies of my books.  I was leaning away from future books having hardcopy versions.  Now I'm leaning back.  If I don't have the paperbacks, how can I hand one out?  They're an added expense to my publishing budget, but they really are worth it.

What about you?  Do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks?  If you're a writer, do you keep copies of your books in the trunk of your car?

Monday, October 23, 2017

You Have My Permission

If you've been over to The Writing Spectacle lately, you may have seen that I have had writer's block.  Which is probably part of the reason why you haven't seen me here lately.  But that's beside the point.  I haven't been writing.  Which sucks.

Yesterday, I gave myself a good slapping around (mentally, of course).  Sort of a 'you are going to get up off your ass and write or so help me I will slap the holy crap out of you so you'd better think of something and I mean now' thing.  And I thought of something.  Then I smooshed out my cigarette, looked at Hubs and told him I was going to work. 

I saw down here and looked at where I'd left off on Early Grave.  And I still didn't know how to proceed.  Oh, I knew where I wanted to go.  And I had that idea of something I'd just bullied myself into coming up with.  But how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be?  No clue.  Which meant I was staring down the barrel of another day of not writing.

And I did not want to face myself after another one of those.

So I started writing.  I slapped down a bunch of filler crap to get me from point A to point B.  It's probably horrible.  I'll probably most likely kill it off in edits.  But it's there.  And it did its job.  It got me past the stall point and on to the next point.  I dashed that off, too.  It's sparse, but it's there.  I can fill it in later.

This morning, thinking about what happened the night before, I realized I had given myself permission to write crap.  If you know me, I'm a big proponent of giving yourself permission to write crap, so I'm not sure how I'd rescinded that permission somewhere along the way.  But I had.  For some reason or other, I was stalled because I talked myself into believing that the words going down on the page had to be 'not crappy'.  Derp.

Crap can be fixed.  Always.  Blank pages?  Can't do a damn thing with those.  Ever.

Last night was a total crap fest.  Yay!  And it was 1500 words more than I wrote the entire week before.  I'm embracing the crap, especially if it means I can turn out the pages and have something to edit later.  So what if the scene I wrote would be totally unbelievable from a law enforcement officer standpoint?  I can fix that.  So what if the characters are acting out of character?  I can fix that, too.  

Embrace the crap.

You have my permission.  ;o)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sales in Other Countries

Oops.  Wrote this earlier and forgot to hit publish...

Someone in Australia has been reading my books.  One after the other.  (In the Kindle Unlimited program otherwise I'd  have no clue.) Yay!  Not sure how that happened, though.  I mean, I kind of have an idea.  The sales last month boosted my visibility.  Natch.  But how someone in Australia found Wish in One Hand exactly puzzles me. 

All my books are available everywhere Amazon is.  Since they're only available in English, it makes sense they'd sell into other English speaking nations.  It doesn't happen quite as often as I'd hope, though.  Sometimes I sell into the UK.  Every once in a while, I sell something in Canada, but it's rare.  (Which kind of baffles me, because both my editor and my cover artist are Canadian and Canada's like right up there. Our neighbors to the north. :waves:)  Even rarer, Australia. 

When I run a freebie, I see people from all over the world downloading, which is cool.  Here's how last month's freeie for WIOH broke out...

US - 649 downloads
UK - 36
Germany - 12
France - 2
Spain - 1
Italy - 0
Netherlands - 1
Japan - 0
India - 1
Brazil - 1
Mexico - 0
Australia - 18

But free downloads almost never equates into sales in those countries.  I can't remember the last time I actually had a sale or page reads in Germany.

And don't get me started on reviews.  I have reviews here.  I have a minor number of reviews in the UK.  Anywhere else?  Nada. 

Anyway, like I said, I'm not sure about how I get sales in other countries or how to get more of them.  I'm certainly happy to have them.

Do you read books from other countries?  I read a fun romance out of Australia the other day.  Sometimes I see a free book listed in the Kindle UK Facebook thing and I'll go to the US site and see if it's available here. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why I'm Amazon Exclusive

All my books are available at Amazon.  And only at Amazon* or through Createspace (which is owned by Amazon). 


Well, there's the ease.  I'm lazy and Amazon makes everything easy for me.  One place to sell books, one place to market books, one place to check stats... you get the picture.  But that's not the only reason.

I've tried putting my books on other sites.  Know what happened?  Next to nothing.  I sold 12 books total in 2016 through other venues.  And by marketing through those other channels, I lost the ability to have my books in the Kindle Unlimited program.  Compared to the 12 books sold in 2016 through other venues, people read (and I got paid for) the equivalent of 182 books.  That's $9.47 elsewhere vs $382 in KU.  The math doesn't lie.

Know what else happened?  I got paid a fraction of what I would've made through Amazon on each book.  Other venues paid me an average of 79c per book.  Regular sales through Amazon on my $2.99 books is $2.04.  Even with the KU per page money dropping, I'm still averaging $1.98 per book this year (down 12c from last year's average).  I can't argue with the numbers.

But not everyone uses Amazon you say?  I have considered the people who don't use Amazon.  Really I have.  Right now, those people who bought the 12 books last year may not be able to access my other books.  (Well, they could if they used Kindle for PC or for Nook or for whatever device they have.)  I'm truly sorry about that.  And it makes me a little sad.  I want everyone to be able to read my books, however they want to read them.  Unfortunately, when I weigh their needs against the money I'd be losing, the answer is clear. 

No money, no books.  It's really as simple as that.  It's why I've only published two books this year instead of the 3 or 4 in my other publishing years.  Oh, I can still write books.  I have scads of them on my hard drive.  But until there is moolah in my bank account, I can't afford to edit them or put covers on them and make them available for people to read.

So, there it is.  I'm Amazon exclusive and now you know why.  Any questions?

(If you've downloaded my books from anyplace else in the past year or so, you've stolen them.  And you're part of the reason why I can't afford to publish more books. Shame on you.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Be Vewwy Vewwy Quiet

I wrote words last night.  But I am trying to be vewwy vewwy quiet about it so I don't chase them all away.

Yeah, sometimes words are like bunnies.  No sudden moves.  No open acknowledgement of their existence.  Or they'll run away.

Hell, I don't even like to acknowledge that I have writer's block because with WB, it's the opposite.  I acknowledge it and it swarms all over me.  Bleh.  I have to ignore that shit so it'll go away.

I said yesterday that I might do something totally off the wall to get my writing jump started.  That wasn't the trick.  In fact, I spent all day yesterday trying to think of something off the wall to write and came up empty.

What worked?  I sat down here last night and read the last good bit of writing I had on Early Grave.  And I saw where I had glossed over something and then omitted something kind of important.  I reworked that last patch.  Then I deleted about a thousand words past that point and wrote a scene where the hero and the heroine argue.  And although he's kinda of right, she can't see it and it totally pisses her off, which makes her do something unwise which will lead to where I need the plot to be.  Tada.

:fingers crossed:

The reason I'm crossing my fingers is that I don't want this bunny to run away.  I need this bunny. 

So, be vewwy vewwy quiet.  K?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Being a Hermit and a Writer

I may have explained before that I am, for the most part, a hermit.  Not literally, of course.  I mean, I don't live in a cave or anything, and I do occasionally have contact with the outside world.  I have to shop and stuff, so there's a bit of social interaction there.  And I socialize on the internet.  And there's Hubs.

But yeah, other than that, I'm a hermit.  And with the world the way it is, my hermitude is getting worse.

That's neither here nor there, though.  What I want to talk about today is how being a hermit clashes with being a self-published writer. 

Two and a half years ago when I started the self-publishing thing, I was faced with some crucial decisions about how to proceed with the marketing portion of the business.  I was encouraged to attend conferences and book signings and stuff.  :shudder:  The thought of being in crowds makes me want to crawl into a hole and pull the rocks down over myself.  I did do some face-to-face, one-on-one stuff.  I went to the local libraries and introduced myself and donated books.  I went around to the places where I was known and told the people I knew about my book. 

Since then, the people I knew at the libraries have left and everyone I know already knows about my books.  :shrug:  And I can't make myself start the process all over again.  Get out in the world and meet more new people?  :shudder:

I've pulled back on my internet stuff, too.  I mean, I was already shrinking away because socializing is exhausting, but last year's election hoopdedoo helped shove me further back into my figurative cave.  For a while there, it seemed like I was unfriending people on a daily basis.  I ran away from Twitter because I couldn't scan through the feed without wanting to hurl. 

And I'm pretty sure my sales have suffered as a result.  Being a hermit and a writer is not a path I recommend for anyone who really wants to succeed at this self-publishing thing.  (For varying definitions of 'success'.)  However, I can't make myself step up to the social things I would need to do to whip up more sales.  I guess when it comes down to it, I value my hermitage more than sales. 

So, as my profile on FB says, 'Here I sit, hermit-like, in my cabin in the woods banging away at the keyboard and creating worlds.'  Feel free to grab a cup of coffee and join me.  Online.  From your own hermit-holes.  ;o)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Self-Publishing Pros & Cons

I've probably done this before, but I think it's probably time again to list the Pros and the Cons of self-publishing.

- No one tells me what to write.
- No one tells me what to publish.
- I don't have to worry about my editor 'changing houses'. 
- No agent necessary.
- I don't have to worry about my publisher closing its doors.
- I don't have to worry about my publisher making silly business decisions.
- I can set reasonable prices for my books so people like me can afford them.
- I set my own schedule.
- I don't have to worry about getting scammed by untrustworthy publishers.
- The market tells me whether I've made the right decision about what to write and what to publish.
- I never have to wonder whether someone will release the rights of my books to me.
- I don't have to give anyone a percentage of my earnings.
- I get to be a hermit and still sell books.

- I have to worry about everything, from writing and editing to marketing to accounting to personnel.
- The market is hard to figure out.
- If I fuck up, it's all on me.
- Sometimes I make silly business decisions.
- I have to pay for editing and cover art myself.
- I'm the one who has to run around figuring out how to pay for all this.
- Sometimes being a hermit clashes with the goal of selling books.

Sometimes the Cons outweigh the Pros, but for the most part, the Pros win every time.  Of course, your mileage may vary.

Did I miss anything?  Feel free to add your own pros/cons in the comments.  =o)