Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

putting-puzzle-pieces-together

So it turns out that there’s an issue for indies that few people talk about. Here it is: there’s a difference between folks buying your book and actually reading it.
Obviously the fact that people buy your novel is a great compliment and that’s not something to be sniffed at. But we all have such busy lives and such long TBR lists that it’s impossible to imagine ever reaching the end of them, which means there’s a possibility that those readers will never read your book!
I too have a TBR list that makes my eyes water. When I look through my TBR list I get excited by all of the tales there ready, just waiting to be absorbed into my being. I know that I’ll love some of them and loathe others. I know some will inspire me in my own writing and others will inspire me on how not to write. But it’s thrilling to know that all of those stories and characters are there for me, waiting until I am ready… well the paperbacks anyway. I suppose Amazon can do what it likes with the Kindle reads :p
But how to choose, how to choose… deciding on what to read comes down to a number of factors for me. Though I’ve learned my factors often aren’t the same as others. I choose to read books that are unrelated (entirely) to anything I might be working on with my own writing at that moment. Sometimes that means a different genre or time period, other times it’s just a different location or setup. The worst thing about the TBR decision is the amount of time it takes to pick something to read. Think of all the words we could be experiencing in those minutes it takes us to make a decision.
Often when I’m trawling my TBR list I’ll go back to product pages to re-read descriptions or reviews, which can then lead me to other work by that author (or other authors) and often I’ll find myself increasing the length of my TBR list! Ahh!
I don’t take part in reading challenges because I face so many time challenges with my writing that I wouldn’t want to embroil myself in more. But I do admire those that do. It must be electrifying to have that goal and to be working towards completing a reading mission.
But, back to the original point… Indies spend an awful lot of time and energy writing books, we know this. They spend an awful lot of time and energy promoting books, we know this, too. But it turns out that there’s another hurdle we are completely powerless to overcome.
So how do we put the pieces together? How do we connect the reader to the novel? The answer is, we don’t. There’s such a thing as free will and we all have to accept that there comes a point where fate decides. You can’t force someone to do something which they do not want to do. You can try to make your work as interesting and enticing as you can and then after that, the Gods decide… or rather the reader does – haven’t I previously mentioned that you’re all-powerful? :p
A writer can do only one thing. Keep writing. Your book may languish for years in the e-reader of a potential five star reviewer, but there’s no way to know who that is. Push someone too hard and you’re more likely to find yourself at the one star end. Yes, it’s frustrating, and yes, it’s disheartening to know that your work is lying there unabsorbed. But when there are so many writing and publishing factors that you can influence this is not one to get stuck on.
Still, I make an appeal to all readers. Set a number, three or four, maybe ten or twelve, but pick a number of books to read on your TBR and vow to read that many at the start of each month before you buy any new books. Just think, your next favourite novel could have been on that TBR list all along waiting for you, it’s time to venture forth and discover it!

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

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asexyb35b47d7476d9e6f44af103d117974a3
It’s out! Yes, that’s right, Explicit Detail is now officially available in all Amazon territories.
It turns out that release day is actually a bit of an anti-climax. With the introduction of pre-orders most people who wanted their copy early ordered ahead of time. Pre-order sales, as it turns out, don’t actually translate into a bump in Amazon rankings so from my POV everything is the same today as it was yesterday. There was no anxious waiting to see who would be interested in picking up their copy because I already had the pre-sales figures.
Hmm.
But pre-orders are a great thing. They mean that readers can ensure to get their copy of the novels that they want and they won’t forget or miss out. I’ve already set up the pre-order function for my next release and it’s currently working its way through Amazon’s system.
Getting a book out is always a relief. I don’t have to worry about walking out in front of a bus now, the book is out, no stopping it now. Well, I should say that I have to worry less about walking out in front of a bus, but should also note that I do still intend to look both ways before crossing the street.
The apprehension I feel this time is lessened by the fact that Explicit Instruction is already out there, so I hope that more people will be aware of Rushe’s ways. But that doesn’t ease the worry altogether. Rushe doesn’t become a different character over night and so he’s still abrupt and crude, and rough, and foul-mouthed… need I go on? Flick has her work cut out. But it’s the reaction of the readers that makes me nervous. If you’re not expecting Rushe then he can be quite a surprise. The sex is full-on and dirty, and pretty constant at the start so buckle up if you plan to read it :p
With the pre-order promotion done and the majority of initial sales now over, my work is sort of already done. All I can do now is hope that people will read and respond positively. I turn my faith over to the readers with the dream that you will enjoy Rushe and Flick and then tell your friends. It’s your word of mouth that we authors rely on. You are all-powerful as far as we’re concerned. So please read Explicit Detail, if you can, and spread the word. Tell your friends to tell their friends, and we can make sure that Rushe is experienced by any and all who enjoy a good dose of drama and passion. He believes himself so unloveable, maybe we can prove him wrong.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

ONEFLAME

Today I pose a question to you all, what makes a bestselling author?
Note, I’m not asking what makes a bestselling book. Obviously there are a lot of factors required of a novel to make it fit into that category. But the question is, what makes the author a “bestseller”? A lot of novels out there claim to be written by bestselling authors and I wonder – did the author dub themselves that? If so, what makes it true? We wouldn’t want to dupe our readers but there must be a barometer for this, surely?
Now, it may be enough to say that if your novels have sold in decent numbers then that makes you a bestseller. But what is a decent number?
Maybe it’s about sales ranking. I’ve had a novel stick at number one for a few weeks, great, right? Absolutely, I was overjoyed. But that same novel didn’t make it to number one in every territory. Several of my novels have reached single digit rankings in their genres, great! Again, that’s not in every territory. Is it enough to reach the top ten in the US? Does that mean you’ve made it everywhere? What about the UK? Does that count? Which country doesn’t? Yet, if I reached number one in a smaller country, could I still dub myself a “bestseller”?
The answer is that to be considered a bestselling author, by Amazon terms, you have to reach the top three hundred in overall sales on Amazon.com. Though I see books out there who have reached this marker whose authors do not claim to be bestsellers. I also see books that I know have not made this milestone who do claim to be bestsellers.
This would lead me to the next question, would stating “bestselling author” on the cover actually sell more books? What’s to stop us all doing it, I doubt every reader would go out and check your historical rankings but if they did and found out that you hadn’t reached number one in their country would they feel conned?
I suppose being a “bestselling author” isn’t necessarily the same thing as being a “number one bestselling author”, is it? But short of listing your highest sales ranking on covers, which would have to be individually designed for each territory, how can we ensure not to oversell ourselves?
Maybe stating on the cover that you were a “bestseller” would sell more. Alternatively, it could mean that your work is read with a more critical eye, that the reader will have higher expectations, thus if you don’t meet those you could disappoint your reader. That brings us back full circle to creating a bestselling book.
Is titling yourself as a “bestseller” an act of arrogance? Or are we merely giving readers more information?

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

success-lincoln-quote

Success is a relative term that we all have to define for ourselves. When I started my publishing journey I had to learn about a lot of new things that I hadn’t considered before. Ironically, the easiest part of this whole process is the writing! Yes, that’s the part I find myself retreating to when the rest of this experience becomes too much.
Has my writing style and process changed since I released my first novel? Yes. You have to let it be organic. Every new experience adjusts our perspective, so our writing will always adjust to compensate.
But what I didn’t do was make a concrete assertion of what “success” would look like. I suppose we all have a vague idea of what it would look like to achieve our dreams. But when you start on the path to try and realise your ambition the whole thing takes on a new configuration.
I’m not actually here to talk about writing, but as I previously stated, writing is my go to place when I’m struggling elsewhere. So why am I here? I’m not really sure, to be honest. I sat staring at the empty post for a while… and that’s not like me. I’m one of these strange people who love the white, blank page. It doesn’t intimidate me, it excites me, because it lies there ready to absorb the adventure, to record the comedy and drama woven in the words.
But I sat and I stared… I could write about writing. I could write about publishing. I could write about process. I could talk about opinion. Today, I’m vexed by a challenge that I can’t overcome. I can’t think my way out of it. I can’t write my way out of it. With those two avenues exhausted I sit and I stare.
I can write full-length romantic fiction. I can publish novels in various digital formats and in paperback. I can create and maintain websites. I can blog. I can interact on social media. Other than the first, these are all things that I’ve had to learn since I started this publishing journey. What can’t I do? Find a way to encourage readers to engage with me as a writer.
I don’t know if it’s me. I don’t know if it’s my novels. But no matter how much I talk to and question people, and generally try to encourage dialogue, readers are reluctant. Why is that?
So I do what any sane person would do, I consult the plan for achieving my goal… hmm… What does success look like? Goals in writing can be severely narrowed… “I must edit this many chapters this week…” “I must reach this word count.” “I must write the blurb, description, design a cover…” “Come up with a character name…” the list is endless. But because it can be divided into so many segments it’s easy to focus on each task and ignore the big picture.
At first it’s just a wonder to see your book on Amazon! Then it’s amazing to see the red line on your sales dashboard graph move at all. All of these little feats become cause for celebration. Mastering the tasks in themselves can feel like climbing mountains and reaching summits. What do you do when you’re over the mound of learning, and comfortable enough in the process, then realise that you’re lacking?
You try to find a task to complete… but there isn’t one. You can’t achieve a task toward a goal when you don’t know what success looks like. I do wonder how other indies measure their success, is it in sales? Maybe its in monetary terms? Or maybe it’s the number of dedicated fans that they have?
Success is relative, but I still don’t know where it stands in relation to me… could it be hiding around the next corner? But if you’re standing on the road alone, when is it time to accept that you’ve taken a wrong turn?

Good luck on your adventures,

Scarlett

Explicit Instruction

ExplicitDetail

Click on the image to pre-order your copy today!

preorder
For all the media coverage, both positive and negative, that Amazon has had over recent weeks, months… years. We indie authors do have a lot to thank them for. We work hard to provide the best product that we can but Amazon allow us to reach an audience far further ranging than we could on our own. And they keep on giving…
The pre-order function was a complete surprise. I know a lot of indies have been clamouring for it and to have our voice recognised is very much appreciated.
We do have to pause, however, at this stage and ask ourselves if this is perhaps Amazon’s way of asserting their dominance in the marketplace. Their dispute with Hachette has seen many well-known authors be denied the pre-order function and authors have been sucked into the middle of the debate with newspaper ads and a letter writing campaign, etc. It is possible this is Amazon’s attempt to curry favour among the self-published.
But we scratch their back so they scratch ours. Indies generate revenue for Amazon and Amazon offer readers. Permitting indies to set up their books on pre-order does allow us to operate more professionally. The hope is that indies will live up to the expectation Amazon have put on us by giving us this option.
So what do we get? On our KDP Bookshelf when we “add new title” we are given a new section to complete in section four:

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We can choose a release date within the next ninety days, but have to submit the completed manuscript to Amazon ten days before. Great, right? To proceed you do have to send them your draft manuscript for approval. Once they have seen that there is enough book there to take the risk on, I guess, then your product page is created.
If you don’t get the final manuscript to them by the stated date then you have breached the terms of the agreement and you will be suspended from using the pre-order function for a year, can’t say fairer than that.
I think it’s terrific. I really do. I hope this is the first of many steps on Amazon’s part to provide a more equal platform for all authors. But we cannot waste this opportunity. Using this function because it is a novelty could be dangerous, if many indies don’t fulfill their end of the bargain Amazon may have a re-think. So bear that in mind!
Readers, well, now you can ensure to have all the novels you want from the moment they’re available. The options are out there for you to choose what you want and it will be delivered to your device on release date. Simples.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

shifte

I studied business at college. A large part of business is marketing, so is economics. Here it is.
Books, in most varieties, would be classified as an “elastic” product. What this means, in its simplest form, is that as the price goes up demand will go down. Books are a “luxury” item, you don’t have to buy them.
If the price of your favourite author’s next book suddenly jumped to $900 the chances are you’re not going to run out and buy it on launch day. Whereas if an author you’ve never heard of offers a book for $0.01 then you might be willing to give it a whirl.
We can all agree that supply of ebooks is covered from every angle. If you look at the market as a whole then we know there are choices abound. Even down to the individual author, we don’t have a problem supplying a specific book. The costs to produce are minimal. Time is the greatest factor in creating our product.
Fixed costs are likely covered by our personal bills, as are the variable costs. Again, the only exception to latter would be labour, but every author going in knows that time will be required and it is usually just our own. Further down the line there may be costs accrued for editors or cover designers, etc. but realistically you can’t claw that back by inflating the cost of your novel. You would need to project exactly how many you may sell and if you’re a new author that’s virtually impossible.
When you publish through Amazon they can chose to alter the price of your books without reason or notice, which makes it very difficult for us to control sales of our product. CreateSpace is just crazy because they dictate the minimum price your book can be sold for (which is always an extortionate rate) meaning that a lot of authors are lucky to make more than a couple of pennies for sales of paperbacks. It’s the author who is judged for setting a high price – but we didn’t!
So you’ve written your book, you’ve published it, you may have set up the paperback set up too. Then comes the next big task, promote your book!
I brought up the business thing because I spend a lot of time thinking about pricing, even though it’s sometimes outwith my control. I’ve witnessed the truth of my economics professor’s words on my KDP sales dashboard. I’ve watched the coloured lines go up and down. I’ve watched the royalties go up and down too.
I want to say here that I recently read a blog post about KU and whether or not the number of the books borrowed were added to sales figure, and as such influenced rankings. I can’t find the blog post again. But if there’s anyone out there who is interested, the answer is, no. The number of units borrowed in no way contributes to your book’s rank. I’ve worked it out. Sales alone dictate the rank.
If the economics theories are correct, the next focus is factors that affect demand. So I’m certainly looking forward to winter because summer is a bummer on book sales! Especially with the glorious weather we’ve been having, lol.
But because I have been considering pricing, and marketing strategies, I want to let all new authors in on a little secret. The vast majority of promotion opportunities out there don’t do squat for you. The price for some of these advertising campaigns is nothing short of daylight robbery. I’m still new to this publishing thing too, which is why I wanted to let you know not to part with your money. It really upsets me that websites claiming to make you the next big thing prey on those eager to carve out a writing career. It’s a passion but it can leave author’s open to being taken advantage of. There are some good sites out there with reasonably priced offerings, seek those out first!
But, I’ve gone and done it again with the rambling. I’ll try to pick up this thread again soon because I have lots of views on the promotion machine, and some personal experiences I’d like to share. For now…

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

It’s out, Explicit Instruction is now available on Amazon. Please buy it and review it if you like. It’s published, I’ve told everyone I know, and I’ve conveyed that message through all of my online channels.
Now that is out the way there’s only one question left to answer. What’s next?
I’m in that limbo phase now. As a writer there are always ideas crowding out my thoughts. One character, a scene, a line of dialogue that my sub-conscious wants to prioritise. It takes discipline and perseverance to write and thus moving through the phases of writing requires focus.
The phase I’m in now I like to think of as my “resting” phase. That doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing, because I am. What it means is that I’m between the fury of projects. Tunnel vision is common amongst us writers… or indeed any of us creative types. I can be consumed by a draft, or an edit, or the peripheral elements required in publishing – cover design, blurb, description, etc. Right now I’m not consumed. Being consumed means living and breathing the work, getting up at the crack of dawn and writing until you can’t sit up anymore. But it doesn’t mean I’m any less enthralled.
My next project is going to be the Mistake Me Not sequel. It’s written but I have decided to rework a section so I’ll plough into the editing to get it restructured. I’ve started already and am well on my way to getting the first re-draft together. I’ve done that while sorting the necessary parts of Explicit Instruction out and so I almost haven’t realised how much I’ve done! :p
My head is buzzing with another idea that’s desperately trying to take hold, it’s trying to claw the MMN aside to gain my focus but I’m fighting against it. The MMN sequel was written long before Explicit Instruction took over and if I let this other idea consume me MMN will be deferred again.
But the sequel is written. Luckily I’m working with a cover designer already for the sequel so a September launch looks secure at this time… providing I don’t change my mind again!
I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to continue the Mistake novels after this sequel. I do have an outline written and researched for my favourite Stone man – can you guess which it is? 😛 It’s certainly not pressing. I might let this other idea crowd in. But I got a review for Explicit Instruction today on Amazon.com – not bad for launch day – that called for a sequel of Rushe and Flick’s story! Rushe is quite a hero! But it’s only launch day, we’ll see if it sticks. In the meantime…

Sneaky Snippet

‘My boyfriend’s a bodyguard,’ Lacie said. ‘Sorcha got it right. How many ways do you know how to kill a person?’
‘One’s enough,’ Ryder said. ‘But I believe in variety.’
Lacie leaned in close. ‘I know. I share a bed with you.’

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

ExplicitInstruction

Hello guys!
SPECIAL NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: Explicit Instruction is available now! I’ve put the link below for you all to check it out when you can. It’s been a long journey and finally we’re here. I look forward to receiving your feedback about this novel, and I very much hope you enjoy embarking on another adventure with me!

Good luck on your adventures,
Scarlett

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LADEH0U

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LADEH0U

Blog: scarlettfinn.wordpress.com
Website: scarlettfinn.wix.com/scarlettfinn
Twitter: @finnscarlett
FB: http://www.facebook.com/scarlett.finn.9

Something a little bit different today folks. While in the melee of getting ready for my book launch, a topic which I started a discussion on here was also addressed by a fellow blogger here.
Let me say right now that I have no answers. I struggle with the issue myself but it’s worth further thought. I’ve used Amazon for years, since it started, since before it was the Amazon we know today and their only business was books – physical books. So I have to admit that I have an affection for the company.
But recently there has been so much controversy surrounding them that it is difficult not to sit back and think. Should we be loyal to Amazon? They provide us with low cost goods, they offer a service in delivering those goods, and I have to say that in my dealings with Amazon through the years any frustrations were – for the most part – dealt with successfully.
But it’s bigger, stronger, and much more aggressive than the cosy friend it seemed to be in years gone by. Why do they get away with it? They’ve been partly to blame for the closure of smaller bookstores, there was a time I practically lived in Borders. They don’t pay their taxes, the rest of us have to. Last but by no means least is their conduct regarding pricing, publishing, and their increasing control over an ever shrinking competitive arena.
I’m a writer. I publish on Amazon. I’m not fool enough to be ignorant to the platform they offer. I would never have been able to reach the customers I have through my own privately run website, or even through a smaller online retailer. I’ve used Smashwords too and though they distribute to various dealers their sales numbers are nothing on Amazon’s. I have readers in all but one continent. I would never have achieved that on my lonesome. Surely I must be grateful to Amazon for that, and I am.
But I find myself experiencing Amazon in different ways. As a writer I am ecstatic to have the reach they provide. As a reader I am thrilled by the vast choice they offer. But as a citizen and a consumer more generally, I am dismayed at their lessening morality.
All of this I suppose comes down to one unavoidable truth, life isn’t fair. It should be fair. Amazon should use best practice to ensure that the reader, writer, publisher, and distributor are given equal voice. It always vexes me that I have no control over the pricing of my own work on their website – you wouldn’t find that in many other product driven sales contracts. Fine, if they want to set the price then they buy from me wholesale. I give them a number of novels to sell, then they pay up front, after that do what you want Amazon.
Amazon should pay the appropriate tax, they should exist in an equal society with the rest of us. But that’s just it, we’re not equal and in this world size means power. It means making your own rules, and the rest of us have to lump it. Life isn’t fair.
So while Amazon continues to steam ahead the rest of us have little choice but to follow. In my discussion post I likened Amazon to a drug dealer. If your drug is reading books, then in this day and age there is one place you will keep coming back to in order to obtain your drug of choice. It doesn’t matter how much you like or dislike the dealer you still need a fix. Life isn’t fair.

Good luck on your adventures,

Scarlett