The great freebie giveaway experiment

It is far too early to work out if it’was successful or not but last weekend I decided to give away my A Simpler Guide to Gmail, Second Edition book for free for one day only.

As you might have already guessed A Simpler Guide to Gmail is a non-fiction book about of all things, Gmail, not a romantic story set in 1920s New York (although it could be a great time travel tale given enough time and plot!) I’ve come to the conclusion that giveing  away non-fiction books may not be the best idea.

As I mentioned it is too early to make a decision whether it is a success but I did give away hundreds of books on Saturday. So much so that I bottled out around midnight UK time and cancelled the rest of the 24 hour promotion.

Now I’ve taken part in giveaways before, the last one was with Fantasy Island Book Publishing for my Children of the Elementi book. The value of giving away books on Amazon is that your customerscan lend those books to their friends using the Amazon system. Of course at the moment this is only true for the US but it will expand in time to other countries.

The market for non-fiction is smaller. That is why traditionally the books are more expensive. You wouldn’t begrudge someone a living from their talents would you? I would agree that non-fiction is not necessarily easier or harder to write. After all fiction book are all in the inagination, but historical novels do need a certain amount of research. Still the market is smaller.

Another thing I did not take into account inmy great experiment is that it appears normally, the freebies available are not all full-blown books. I didn’t realise this but a Saturday of downloading lots of books revealed that most of the books were teasers or promotional material for services. Oops. I gave away the Full Monty, the Real McCoy (too many cliches?) – the complete book. I seemed to have missed a trick there!

My only hope is that people who have downloaded it find it useful enough that they will think to review it or at least tag it. If receiving is not on their minds, my sevond hope is that they lend it to their froends – before April when I take it off the Kindle Select program. Gmail was my biggest seller on Barnes and Noble and you could argue that I was putting all my eggs into one basket by only selling it on Amazon.

Time will tell!

Republishing with KDP – Customers don’t automatically get changes.

I’ve had a few problems moving from one edition of my Gmail book to another. I didn’t want to delete the other one as it sold well and was highly ranked. I would have to start from scratch. I tried putting a message in the original book to people who already bought it offering them the new one. I was expecting them to refund the book and get the new one. Turns out they weren’t getting the changes!

The reason I didn’t want to keep the old edition because the name was wrong (my maiden name instead of married name) on the customer facing details. It was fine on the KDP admin side and I had contacted Amazon a few times, it seememd sorted but would revert after a while.

Anyway, turns out if you have made changes and republish your ebook, you need to send an email to Amazon asking them to send the new file to your customers.

Here’s an extract from the Amazon website explaining further. Customers can also request a later version of the same book to be sent to them.

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3-16 Do I have to re-buy or re-upload my book to get the updated copy I re-published? If you’ve already purchased your book and subsequently revise the content and re-publish the updated version, you don’t need to re-purchase the book to get a copy. At this time, it’s not possible for publishers to receive the updated file without contacting KDP Support for help. We’re working to automate this feature and appreciate your understanding with our existing solution to manually send the updated content to your device.

We request your explicit permission, and will do the same for any customers who contact us to receive the updated content, prior to sending the revised file because the new version will not have previously saved Highlights, Last Page Read, Bookmarks, and the location of notes may not match. If this is acceptable, please email [email protected] confirming your permission and which title/s you’d like to have re-sent. Thank you.

Note: Customers who purchased the old content can also contact our Customer Service department to have the new file delivered.
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I hope this helps.

Ceri

Lending ebooks through Amazon – oh the unfairness of it all!

In the US, (and I am not sure where else), if you buy a book from Amazon there is every reason to believe that you can lend it to a deserving friend., what other kind of friend would you lend your books too?

Unfortunately this is not the case in the UK and possible South Africa, I have a friend there.

If you bought a book from Amazon, all you do is go to the Amazon book page and click the link on the top of the page to lend the book, Your friend will then have two weeks to read it. Sounds simple, don’t it (bad grammar deliberate). If you want more details on how to do this Johanna Garth has a great blog post explaining how to lend them to your friends at: http://www.johannagarth.com/2012/01/shared-good-book-lately.html

Well I can’t do that and I feel left out. I’m the girl sulking in the corner of the party, nursing a gin and tonic looking at the floor, whilst everyone is partying like its 1999 (erm 2012) in the center.

On Facebook, there is a group called SOS, Share our Stories. Its all promoted by Fantasy Island Book Publishing (FIBP) to promote the lending program. After all authors just want their books to be read. Authors are freely lending their copies of other author#s books within the program, unless they are currently reading them.

I think it is about time that Amazon opened up the Kindle Lending Library to the rest of the world or at least the UK! We like to read too and there is a great vampire novel I KNOW my friend will love.

Here’s hoping 2012 will be the year of the Kindle Library.

C’mon Amazon don’t leave us inthe corner…

 

 

Indie Publishing on Kindle – Part One

This post is for Ricardo from G+, who asked me to blog about this. :0).

I’ve published a few books on Kindle. While it won’t make you rich (unless you are very lucky) it will give you an enormous feeling of satisfaction for making someone happy or just helping a stranger who would find your books useful.

So what did I do?

First I came up with something I felt I could write about. I love my Android phone and was always trying out apps so I had my idea.

I then needed to format the book so it would look good in an ebook. Remember there are no page numbers in an ebook because everyone can change the size of the text and even spacings for comfort, so a page will have a different number of words for different people. I would recommend the Smashwords Style Guide (available from Smashwords.com funnily enough).

Another thing to note about is formatting, if you are using  Microsoft Word then try to use the styles function. Use this to space out paragraphs, headings etc. Your book will look so much better. Also this will have the added benefit of the ability to change all your headings in your entire book by changing one style.

Yet another aside. Think about how your images will look in greyscale. Kindles on tablets and phones are usually in colour but the ereaders are in grey. Even if they bring out a colour Kindle there are millions of the black and white versions which will be out there for a looooonnnng time.

So you have formatted the book, what next?

Upload the book to Kindle Direct Publishing of course. Remember to pay special attention to the tags as that is how people will find your book once it is published.

Pricing

Think hard about pricing. If you are writing a non-fiction book then have a look at similar books in the field you have chosen. How long are they? How much are they? Try to get the balance so that you are offering value for money.

For a fiction book, if the book took a lot of effort and a long time with a huge amount of editing then I believe selling for less than $2.99 is selling yourself short. I think more than this for a first time author is hubris.

Wait a couple of days and you are set.

Of course this is not the definitive guide to publishing with KDP as this would be a lot longer than a blog post should be, but it should give you an overview.

Add books to your Author Central Profile

I was asked by a friend how to add their books to their Amazon Author Profile. I thought possibly there may be others who may not know how to do this so I am giving back to the community with this blog post.

To add books to your Author Central profile (works on both .com and .co.uk sites):

  • Sign in to Author Central.
  • Click on Books
  • Go to the bottom of the page where it says Are we missing a book?
  • Click the yellow button which says add more books
  • A list of books will appear with your author name in it. There is a button under each book. If it yours and you haven’t clicked on it yet it will be yellow. Click on it.

If the book isn’t there check how your name is spelt on the book on your Amazon page. If it is different from the one in the search box on the Amazon Central Books page type in the variant spelling. You should be able to find all your books this way.

Children of the Elementi passes the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Award

To celebrate getting through the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, I’ve reduced Children of the Elementi to just 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords until the end of March.

***************

Smouldering in the circle the Deoc glared malevolently at Aras. Its body was made entirely of fire but as Aras watched, the flames rescinded. Skin formed over the creature’s body. First its arms and legs, then its face before it was covered completely in skin. Over this, a robe formed until a man stood before him with red and gold-flecked eyes.

‘What do you want?’

‘I need you to kill a boy.’

‘Why would I do that?’ The creature smiled, confident in its power.

‘You have no choice.’

***************

 

The pitch:

The powerful Elementi Empire spanned over a thousand years, its kings and queens loved and revered by their people and their elemental abilities feared by their enemies. Treachery and Magi illusion destroyed the Empire almost a century ago. All five heirs were thought to be lost.

On present day Earth, fourteen-year-old Jake has an ordinary life of school, bullies, parties… until he stumbles on an ancient crystal. Meanwhile across the dimensions, the Magi Emperor is alerted that not all the Elementi were killed all those years ago. He summons and dispatches Adramelech, an evil fire demon to hunt and kill the last of the Elementi. If the heirs unite their powers and return to Eleria then all Magi gains from the war could be lost.

Can Jake learn to control his growing elemental powers and reunite the other lost children in time?

Children of the Elementi is a 51,000 word young adult adventure set between two worlds. Written by a former school librarian, it is a culmination of book requests and feedback from children and includes magical powers, underwater cities, sword-fighting and a sea battle.