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Posts Tagged ‘Indie Publishing’

2017 was interesting year for me. I feel like I achieved a whole lot of things and dropped the ball on a couple of important ones.

Personal stuff

The big carryover from 2016 was a legal issue with the government’s workers compensation agency. Comcare wrote to me in September 2016 to tell me that a report that I had done on my neck was being used by them reverse their decision to accept liability for any injury to my thoracic spine. I was informed on the phone that I would then have a debt of $96,000. You can imagine that as I’d retired and had started a Ph.D. that this sent me into a stress coma. I couldn’t focus on my Ph.D. for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t get Comcare to listen to anything I said nor did they listen to my e-mails. I was advised to get a lawyer. I cried. I’d never been litigious. I only ever received treatment costs and time off work associated with that. It was a nightmare.

With a hanging over my head I started 2017. There was an appeal hearing set for January, which was then postponed to March. I just wanted it over. When the official debt notification arrived from Comcare the debt was $16,000 not $96,000 as I had been informed over the phone. (Note I have redacted this post-sorry).

I was very lucky that my daughter Beanie took away all the documents Comcare had sent to me from my file and went through them. It was very frustrating and dehumanising not to be listened to. I’ve audited in government for nearly twenty years and I’d never come up against anything like that. Luckily I had the skills to audit the documents and found a lot of issues with Comcare’s decision.

During early 2018 I took a least one month off my Ph.D. I was on stress leave although it was hard to focus at all for the whole six months. This whole business from September 2016 had derailed my Ph.D. as well is affecting my health and my mental state.

This isn’t the place to talk about the details but needless to say I won my appeal in that from the first hearing Comcare agreed to talk to me and asked me to put in a proposal to them.

So this six months out of my life didn’t earn me any great compensation payout or anything like that. All I gained was Comcare undoing their decision to undo their decision. The psychological trauma that they put me through needlessly in the time wasted I’ll never get back.

The upside to all of this is that one of the strategies for dealing with stress is doing tasks, like craft, or writing and editing too. So to forgot about all that crap that was going on in my life, I buried myself in edits and getting books ready to publish. it wasn’t my PhD but it was something. A lot of this I had put in train the previous year and stuff I had written years ago.

So what was good about 2017?

PhD

Despite everything above, I managed to get confirmed for my PhD. I had put in so much work when I started the PhD that it helped immensely here. This means I presented a paper on my research and it was found to be worthy of continuing. Big tick for me. That was in March, just after the hearing.

Fannish stuff

The day Comcare and I agreed on a proposal was the same day I heard I had won the GUFF. The Get Up Fan Fun which would send me to Helsinki and Worldcon 75. I had such a headache from all the stress I went straight to bed and it took a few days for it to sink in. As I only had a short time and needed to get the cheapest fares I had to start planning the trip. As I blogged this trip I won’t go into detail here. It was amazing and a once in a lifetime thing.

I also got to meet Paul Weimer and hosted him as DUFF delegate in June for a night. The highlight was feeding him roast lamb, pavlova and taking him out to meet kangaroos.

Publishing

I republished books that I had the rights returned to me.

Shatterwing, Dragon Wine Part One

Skywatcher, Dragon Wine Part Two,

The Sorcerer’s Spell by Dani Kristoff.

New works

I wrote Opi Battles the Space Pirates in November #NaNoWriMo. Great stress avoider! And that was published in April.

Oathbound, Silverlands Book Two was published, and

Ungiven Land, Book Three.

Oathbound had been previously drafted way back in 2002-2004 so only needed revision. Ungiven Land had 50,000 written but they were almost all rewritten during 2016. The edit for this was delayed while my editor moved house and then took time to deal with issues.

Deathwings, Dragon Wine Part Three and

Bloodstrom, Dragon Wine Part Four were published.

These books had been written way back when too but not really looked at. In 2016, I got some beta reader feedback, cut out 10,000 words from the beginning and started polishing them. I then had them edited and they were out.

That’s eight Indie Published books. I have blogged about that process during the year.

That took me up to July and then I was off for two months overseas. So technically no new writing at all except for the PhD.

Writing

Sihe is my PhD novel. I started working on it after the Comcare thing was sorted and my PhD was confirmed. I have about 30,000 words of fairly polished words because I keep going back over it rather than writing forward. I didn’t write much while I was overseas. I got one day in Bergen to write. I tried a bit when I got home but got stuck on a technical issue. I think that’s sorted. I worked on Sihe in October, thinking if I got the draft down I could work on something else during NaNoWriMo in November but I had an acute sciatica attack that put me out of action for two weeks. I would not wish this thing on anyone. I had not experienced pain like it. It was like extreme labour pains but it wasn’t giving me a baby at the end. I writhed and cried and moaned. My four lumbar discs are all bulging. The foraminal spaces have been narrowed, which causes the pain down the leg and my sacroiliac joint had degenerated. For godsake! What the hell!

So it was a Chinese medicine doctor that helped me and hydrotherapy that helped get me functional. I’m still deciding on how to manage this condition in 2018. Most of my spine is now stuffed. I am using a standing desk all the time now. I have degeneration in my left foot too so that’s not always fun.

But in November, I started writing Skyfire, Dragon Wine, Part Five, and it was so liberating to be writing again. My goal was to get that first draft down by New Year’s Eve. Guess what? I did. I’m now working on Moonfall, Dragon Wine, Part Six.

I’ll have to do the revision and edits of these around the PhD as that has to take priority this year. This is my last year. But I think that’s doable! So two books in the works for publication in 2018.

Academic activities

On the PhD side I presented two papers. One at PoPCAANZ in Wellington. I blogged about the weather /airport lock out saga in June. I also went to Adelaide at the end of November to deliver a paper on Penny Jordan’s Man-hater, 1984 Mills and Boon book. I haven’t published the paper. That’s on the to do list.

Family

Over Easter, Matthew’s mum came to live with us. This has meant some adjustment to our lives. I think it is all going along reasonably well. We are lucky enough to have a room and bathroom downstairs so she has her own space.

My immediate family are all well. I lost my younger brother in November to liver cancer. He was 52.

World in general

While we live in a Donald Trump world uncertainty continues. Personally, I think Trump heralds a decline in the USA in world politics. He’s trying to make America great but OMGerd!

My use of social media is less. This is mainly because my Twitter stream is left, Twitter doesn’t let me see the tweets as they come and everyone appears to be Trump depressed. I’m still on Twitter it just doesn’t do it for me as it used to.

Entertainment

Netflix (and streaming generally I suppose) has brought joy into our lives. At first we didn’t’ think we would have time for watching stuff because we both write. However, with Matthew’s mum in the house-she’s grown to like it. Me being incapacitated with my back and having to take lots of breaks from everything including housework, Netflix has been great. It has some really good content.

Matthew’s mum went through five seasons of House of Cards. I haven’t watched that myself. The Kevin Spacey controversy happened when she’d finished and she was so upset because she admired him as actor.

My favs for the year on Netflix. The Expanse, Star Trek Discovery, The Crown (both seasons), Victoria, Anne with an E, River, Lucifer, The Good Place, Continuum and Jane the Virgin (although I didn’t get too far). I like that there is some cool SF on there, but also shows that can lighten your mood. The Crown was gripping by the way. I don’t know how they did it. Great tension throughout, great acting, immaculate sets. Well done! And they released the whole season in on go.

Non Netflix viewing. We just finished Game of Thrones Season 7. Technically we did that in 2018, but hey I have to wait another two years to see the last season, maybe longer as we buy the DVD sets. I thought Season 7 was brilliant. I feel so vindicated and I’m not saying why.

Movies. The Last Jedi, Thor Ragnorok, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and I can’t recall the others. I’ll have to consult with Matthew because he has a mind and he can remember things. I also saw Pride Prejudice and Zombie on DVD. I borrowed the disc from Robert Hood. I liked the movie so much he gave to me. Isn’t that sweet! Best proposal scene ever. Much better than the book! Truly!

Books

I find this hard to remember as I didn’t keep a spreadsheet in 2017 so forgive me if I read your book and didn’t list it here. On Audible the Expanse series rocked. I have listened to the first two books and the writing is amazing. Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, fan bloody tastic, regency fantasy. Right up my alley. That lead me to Mary Robinnette Kowal.

I got stuck into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series on Audible too. Totally mind blown. I’m about four books in.

I picked up The Dispatcher by John Scalzi for free on Audible. Great idea and wonderful execution.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline…not bad. Geeky! The movie should be interesting.

I also listened to all of the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold(also last year as well I think).

I read some Australian authors. Cat Sparks’s debut novel, Blue Lotus, Thoraiya Dyer’s Crossroads of Canopy, Jodi McAlister’s Valentine, Angela Slater’s Vigil and Corpselight, Keri Arthur’s Blood Kissed. I also listened to some of Keri’s audio books.

I read the first fourteen of JD Robb’s in death series and set about getting the whole set. I need to pick it up again. Very interesting. Also useful for the PhD perspective.

I also read some Mills & Boon of course. I’ve been interested in Penny Jordan’s work and Amanda Carpenter ( have all but one of her books) also Charlotte Lamb (She managed to surprise me with some feminist content!).

I’ve also been close reading, Reading the Romance by Janice A Radway (the 1990s version). I haven’t finished that because I go into flights of rage but I will. Also other stuff. Too much to recall here.

I have rabbited on long enough. Just have a great 2018 everyone. I have to come back to you about goals if I have any. I think I do.

I have the first two books of Dragon Wine on discount in a box set. Amazon.com only for $2.99. Click the link if you are interested. Warning. It’s dark, nasty fantasy so don’t read it if that’s not your thing. I mean really!

PS this blog was mostly dictated. It appears that my RSI has kicked off, just because I wrote 24,000 words in five days! I will conquer the world…ehem…maybe I’ll just dictate more words.

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Back in this post I said I’d give an update after my Bookbub in October, which was for Shatterwing, Free, USA only. See previous Indie publishing post here.

I think my earnings for September were higher than I first anticipated because iBooks mixes up the currencies and it isn’t until you get the invoice notice that you know what you are being paid. I think I estimated $76 from iBooks and it was more like $126. Also, I didn’t twig that Amazon hadn’t paid me any US earnings…I guess I wasn’t too vigilant or whatever. The deal is that for all payments except for Australian sales I have to wait until I hit the $100 or equivalent. In October, I was paid out my USA earnings from April 2016 until August 2017. This is what I mean when I say notional earnings. There are timing differences and minimum amount requirements before you actually see any money.

In October, I bought Patty Jansen’s Indie publishing book called, Self Publishing Unboxed, The Three-year, No-bestseller Plan for Making a Sustainable Living From Your Fiction and read it. (link to the book is here)

I bought the second book which is focussed on Newsletters etc. The second book is a bit advanced for me but I’ll get there.

I’ve been receiving Patty’s advice for a while. She’s probably the reason I am where I am now. She has some very practically and insightful advice no matter where you are in the process. Her book gave me a few gems. Such as I opened up a dedicated bank account as per the book and I’m so pleased with that. I have changed over all the payments to that account and linked it to Paypal and have a debit card. This means that my Instafreebie dues come out of that account instead of my personal credit card. It means when I look at my accounts I can see my book earnings. You can’t imagine how exciting that is. Instead of them being swallowed up by bills or spending them. May aim is to be able to pay for my edit of Skyfire with my earnings. I think I’ve reached that goal, or I will when all the money comes through. I may even have enough for the proofreading costs too. In that I have reached my first goal, to support my creative life with my earnings.

The other thing that Patty has put me onto recently is Mark Dawson’s podcast ‘Self Publishing Formula’. I have found them to be useful and inspiring. When I get more time I’m going to implement a lot of that advice. Mark Dawson runs courses etc but I’m probably not there yet in terms of earnings and output.

So the Bookbub result. In all over 27000 copies of Shatterwing were downloaded. I had immediate sell through, though conversion wise iBooks was higher. I made the cost of the Bookbub back in a couple of days. Amazon reporting is the quickest, others I have to wait for like iBooks, Draft2Digital (which is just Barnes and Noble sales I think) and Streetlib for Googleplay.

Estimates of downloads per vendor

Amazon 20,000

ibooks 2,400

Google Play 2,800

Barnes and Noble 2000

Kobo 500 (note the free download counter isn’t working properly).

Sell through is still occurring. For example, including the November sales so far, I have half a per cent on Amazon. It’s not much but considering level of sales before it’s good. I expect that to increase by the end of the month. Whereas iBooks was 1.5 per cent straight off and will rise by the end of the month.

By conversion I mean people who get book one who go on to buy book two. The conversion after that is really good. For example, if they buy book two they pretty much by the rest of the series.

The good news for readers is that I’m writing Book Five, Skyfire at the moment for NaNoWriMo. I was going to write them during next year but as I was fishing around for a project for NaNoWriMo I figured I owe it to my readers. One reader left me a message of Goodreads asking what the timetable was for the rest of the series. And some lovely readers left messages on my Facebook page leaving lovely comments. They all helped me to decide on that. I was going to write a contemporary romance. Another time perhaps.

Other things that happened as a result of the Bookbub. I went from one follower on Bookbub to 88 and it is still rising. People who follow you on Bookbub get an email when you have a new release and also when you have a Bookbub deal. That’s awesome.

I’m still small bickies but I’m growing my readership which is what I want. I just have to finish the PhD and then there will be no stopping me. I have two series that I’m thinking of publishing and I have another novel that needs polishing with a possible series after that. Then there are the ideas for prequels and sequels to the Silverlands and Dragon Wine. I just hope I hold up physically.

Earnings for October I estimate at over $1500.

I will also get paid out accrued British Pounds as well as USD because I made more than 100 in each currency. So cash wish a bit more than that.

This is enough to fund my edit!

I forgot to mention that I had an iBooks promo early in the month in Australia. I had around 1700 to 2000 downloads, with follow on sales. I don’t know the conversion rates. Last time I looked it was around 2 per cent but I haven’t updated the figures.

 

On the day my Bookbub results were coming through I was in absolute agony with sciatica. I’ve never experienced anything like that. It should have been an awesome day. I’m really grateful for the chance to promote the books to new readers via Bookbub. It was totally worth it. I have submitted Argenterra for a Bookbub and been rejected. I’ll just have to keep on trying. Perhaps next year when the rest of Dragon Wine is out I’ll get another Bookbub. You have to wait 90 days between promotions.

 

 

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As some of you may have seen I’ve been in Europe for nearly two months (August through to end of September) and maybe you thought that I had no publishing results while I was away.

I did a few things before I left Australia to make sure things were ticking over and while I wasn’t fully engaged in the promotion or writing side of Indie publishing, things were happening and somethings are easy to do on the run or the fly so to speak.

It is a bit early in the game to talk of trends, but I’m happy to say that August outperformed July. Let me cast my mind back and check my notes for August.

I had my books still up on Instafreebie by the way and I wrote to my newsletter subscribers to tell them I might be quiet. Travelling meant that I couldn’t participate in a lot of cross promotions. I had had Argenterra for free on a Freebooksy promotion and I left it free when I left. There seemed to be a tail there and ‘shrug’ it couldn’t hurt to leave it for free.

My Freebooksy results were around 2500 thousand copies given away and I earned the cost of it I think with people buying the second and third books.

I had signed up for a number of promos on Kobo which didn’t do anything at all. However, I did make $19 in August from Kobo, mostly people buying from the Silverlands series box set and the Dragon Wine Box set.

The great thing about Kobo is that the promotions are really easy to sign up for. I could do them on my phone. If Kobo accepts your submission for a promo it makes the changes to your prices if required. Some of these promos might be 30% off a box set. I thank case you need to do nothing at all as the promo is applied at point of sale. Most of these promos are free and you pay through a cut in royalties. This is a good thing if a promo doesn’t work for example. There are paid promos and I’ve only ever applied for a cheap one for $12 but haven’t been successful in getting one of those.

Streetlib was a no earner for me in August, but some freebies did go through there via Google Play.

Draft to Digital, which for me is Barnes and Noble, gave me around $35 Australian in earnings. Biggest for me. They would have to be the Freebooksy follow through purchases.

Surprisingly iTunes/iBooks was a big earner for me in August with $82.33 in earnings. Again I think some of that is the Argenterra Freebooksy and other sales are just random or coming from my newsletter.

Smashwords also came through for me with someone buying a whole set of the dragon wine books so about $15 Australian there.

And the big earner for me was Amazon with around $135 Australian in sales.

That’s approximately $285 from sales in August.

I also had a lovely person who had bought the ebooks order the full set of Dragon Wine in print so I can safely say my earnings were $300. Still small bickies but a steady increase. I was also glad I didn’t just take a rejection for Argenterra from Bookbub and used Freebooksy instead. That’s $100 US but that was money that was refunded from previous promotions that didn’t work so well.

Instafreebie was still ticking over but giveways were slowing down with no active cross promotion going on.

That’s double July folks.

I also had help from Patty Jansen’s ebookaroo which lifted the tail on the Freebooksy for Argenterra.

And I got news that I had been successful in gaining a Bookbub, International Only, but that’s excellent.

September

I don’t have all the figures in yet but I can work it out. Seeing as some of this money doesn’t get paid for months.
I found out today that Draft2Digital did not have my payment details. However, their tax interview process is so easy it was done in a jiffy.

As I was travelling, the main promotion in September was the International Bookbub for Shatterwing, Part One of the Dragon Wine series. I was so excited by this but didn’t really have anyone to share it with who really understood how amazing it was to finally get one. I think it has to be the wonderful covers from Frauke at Crocodesigns and the cover blurbs from Craig Cormick and Glenda Larke that swung it for me.

The international Bookbub runs in Canada, Australia, UK and India. It was for 99 cents. It cost around $200 to run it. I put all the stores to 99 cents, or so I thought. I didn’t realise that Canada and Australia were listed on Googleplay for $1.99 so the emails from Bookbub said my book was $1.99  and the sales were pretty lame in those countries as a result. Canada wasn’t too bad, Australia maybe I had four sales. I don’t really know. I was devastated and had to work out what happened. I sorted it out but still what a way to blow a good chance. UK sales though were pretty awesome and I must say the sell through in both UK and Canada has been good. So I’m thinking that the Bookbub paid for itself or will do.

I think there is a sweet spot there at 99 cents and $1.99. People are willing to try a book at 99 cents if you are unknown. If you are known and they want your book they will pay $1.99 and up. So in Australia that has to be true, Canada less so because books actually sold there despite the $1.99 price tag.

Here’s the thing, with the international Bookbub you can apply for a US one within 30 days. I did that and was refused. Why? Because my book had been reduced for more that 14 days in the last 90 days. I had to have it explained to me as I was confused. I always thought that you couldn’t offer to Bookbub if you reduced your price in the previous 90 days, but it is actually discounted for more that 14 days, so it’s okay to have a week or a day special price and that doesn’t reset the Bookbub submission clock. I will master these Bookbub rules.

Anyway I was a bit down in the mouth as not only did I stuff my international bookbub, I had stuffed the chance at the USA deal. But lo, a light did shine on me and I put my book in for a free promo Bookbub USA. I figured they could only say no. Yet, I was accepted. This confirms what I’ve been told that there are two different decision processes, paid and free. So I will have a USA Bookbub for Shatterwing in October. This is very cool because that is what I have wanted from the beginning. You can get a massive amount of downloads via Bookbub for a free fantasy book. Shatterwing is currently free because I was advised that Amazon were having difficulties discounting. Yet, as soon as I discounted elsewhere Amazon price matched so I requested the price to zero there too. Fingers crossed this all goes to plan.

Meanwhile I had put out feelers for someone to pitch to iBooks Australia for both my series. First attempt was a no, then out of the blue I get an email saying I’d been accepted for Shatterwing. It was going to be later in the month but then changed to today. So Shattering in iBooks Australia free book of the week. Which is blowing my mind. I did not expect that. Thank you Patrick and iBooks Australia.

So my results for September while I was travelling and couldn’t do much but I had an international bookbub (slightly underdone due to silly me and book settings).

Let me see.

No sales at all through Draft2Digital. This makes sense as my main sales are for Barnes and Noble and I had an International Book Bub which excludes the USA.

Kobo (I had a number of promotions. Some worked. Some were other sales)  $90 (58 books sold). I’m using the raw figure here but that doesn’t account for Kobo’s cut or exchange rates.

iBooks $88 with 59 books sold. Again raw figure, not counting exchange rates etc. Edit. Corrected figure is $118 and a bit more for US sales.

Streetlib was about $3-$4 but I have no idea what currency and have to wait a very long time to be paid given I haven’t reached the payment threshold yet.

Amazon approximately $260. This is an estimate because it’s in different currencies. The bulk of this was books sold for 99 cents, which means I earned 35 cents or pence.

In September I had sales across all my books, the bulk, some 231 copies of Shatterwing at 99 cents or pence. The sell through I think is around 10 per cent for book two and then less for books three and four. I had a couple of sales of the Argenterra series too.

So ebook sales are around $440  $470 so an increase on August. This is also more than the biggest royalty cheque I received from my traditional publishers.

I also had a book launch and print book sales at Conflux at the end of September so I haven’t done the accounting on that yet. I think I made enough to cover the cost of the table and maybe the cost of the books, which is good I think.

That’s me. I may pop back after the Bookbub and the Book of the Week Promo and tell you the results of that.

I consider myself very lucky to have some upward movement so soon after uploading the two series. I’m very lucky to have got a Bookbub relatively quickly. I have been the person who checks the sales figures and sees no sales. Now I see sales. Modest sales but believe me that’s better than none.

Many thanks to Patty Jansen for her advice and guidance and to Facebook group for promotion that I belong too. Thanks to the buyers of books and for liking the stories enough to read the series.

Here is a pic of me from my book launch taken by Cat Sparks. I know I posted it in the previous post but hey! Different audience.

IMG_0999

 

 

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Last month I posted about my Indie Publishing experience from a beginner’s perspective. That post is here.

There I discussed coming close to earning $100 in that month from my Indie publishing efforts. I did notionally make $100.

Well this month I’m over that amount. Earnings figures are notional by the way, because the money comes in at a different time. For instance Kobo calls them estimated earnings.  So this month notional earnings are around $140 $150.

Mind you I had to work hard for those few dollars!

I also gave away heaps of books this month but more on that later.

Sales

I used Kobo promotions a lot this month and that where I had most of my sales. Kobo are really easy to deal with and they offer a wide range of promotions, about half have no upfront costs just percentage of takings. I wasn’t successful in getting all that I bid for but I did okay. It takes time and I think getting my name seen will mean eventually people will buy. It also helps to have a number of titles.

Next biggest sales were iBooks, surprisingly. It is not easy to promote on iBooks. There is no easy way for Indies to promote on iBooks. I hope one day they will adopt the Kobo model.  Then Amazon was the next chunk of sales. Nothing earth shattering but better than a big fat zero! You cannot bid for promos on Amazon. Amazon put together their Daily Deals by themselves.

Promotion

As mentioned above I have a promo tab on Kobo. I directly list with them to access this. I had two or three promos with different books through the month: paranormal romance and dark fantasy.

I tried for a Bookbub a couple of times through the month with different titles and met with rejection so I decided to do something with another provider. It can be dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket, particularly when the basket holder is swatting your eggs away!

I used Freebooksy to get the word out that Argenterra was free on 28 July. I made it free earlier than that and it’s currently free. Interestingly, this means I won’t be able to tout for a Bookbub for this title for three months as Bookbub exclude books that have been discounted for three months. Freebooksy is not cheap. It was $100 US to list for a day. However, they are a great group to work with and they have been very considerate of my other efforts with Bargainbooksy.

I find it interesting that Amazon doesn’t let people promoted except by AMS ads which I don’t find effective at all because these email services are making heaps of money from marketing specials and freeboots to their subscribers.

Listing Argenterra for free is a loss leader tactic used by many vendors since forever. Technically I don’t like giving books away for nothing. I think it lowers the value of your work. On the other hand, giving away book one with the hope that:

  • the person downloading will read it (preferably sooner rather than later);
  • having read book one they will like it enough to buy book 2 and 3;
  • after reading books 2 and 3 will like my writing enough to try another series, and
  • after reading my work they become a fan of my writing and stick to me like spat gum to a shoe!

I don’t know if there are any figures out there, but from past experience and my own behaviour I know that free books downloaded may never get read, but as I said before I’m looking to find my audience so one must take a chance.

Before the Freebooksy promo I let people know it was free. Not in a big way. Patty Jansen put it on the Facebook page for Ebookaroo and I asked some people to include it in their newsletter. I don’t know if people did but about 60-70 copies had been downloaded before promo day. On promo day, I got about 1700 downloads on Amazon and about another 100 on iBooks. No figures from Kobo as their freeboot counter is out. But I had a tail, next day more books downloaded. This could have been due to late email opens and people clicking and finding the book still free, or because with the 1700 downloads I had reached #123 overall Amazon freeboots and #1 in three sub categories of Epic, Sword and Sorcery and Coming of Age. Then Patty Jansen included Argenterra in her regular newsletter and then more downloads happened. So far maybe an extra 300-400. I just had another look at the figures, maybe that’s closer to 500 downloads from a newsletter. That’s so fab. I’m so grateful for the little leg up.

I didn’t see a lot of buy through to the rest of the series. Maybe one or two. If only one percent of those 2400 people (maybe more) go on to buy the series that’s still 24 people who might go on to buy the series. The promo will pay for itself eventually. Also, people have my book so there is always a chance.

Newsletters and Instafreebie

Technically sending newsletters and listing books on Instafreebie are promotion too. Shatterwing was included in a group Instafreebie/Bookfunnel promotion and wow! It was the best yet. Probably 700 new subscribers who downloaded Shatterwing, Dragon Wine Part One over four days. I think the covers have something to do with that.

I think some of my sales come through my newsletter subscribers. Not heaps as yet, but I get a lot of people checking out the buy links on my website.

I also had a few deals going for newsletter subscribers. Not exclusive to them but being a subscriber allows them to find out about it.

Escape Publishing kindly discounted Rayessa and the Space Pirates and Spiritbound (Dani Kristoff) to 99 cents. The announcements for these were included in my newsletter and there were some sales. I don’t know how much because I can’t see because the books are controlled by the publisher. These books were included in Ebookaroo (Patty Jansen’s general newsletter) and there were some sales as a result. I was happy to give something to the newsletter subscribers and I don’t often get discounts from my traditional published books.

Also, to broaden things a bit and have something new to keep my subscribers interested, I published Beneath the Floating City, a sci fi, short fiction collection and put it on Instafreebie, mostly with a private link for my subscribers but it is also there for anyone to download. All bar one story has been previously published over the 17 years of my publishing life. I’m going to put together other collections. The next will be Compost Juice, magic realism and fantastical tales. I won’t do that until I get back from overseas. Maybe for Christmas. I also published this collection to all the eretailers.

Print versions

A major suck for my energy, time and dollars this month has been laying out books for print. Indesign gave me a kick up the butt and my photoshop skills are Neanderthal level, but I managed.

Shatterwing, Skywatcher, Deathwings, and Bloodstorm are out in print with the new covers. These are available on Amazon through Createspace and elsewhere as distributed by Ingrams. So yes, technically the library or your books store can order them in.

booksAlso, Oathbound and Ungiven Land join Argenterra, in print.

The Sorcerer’s Spell is in print too, but just through Createspace. It will appear in bookstores as well as Amazon over time, such as Book Depository. Opi Battles the Space Pirates was already in print, same deal through Createspace. You can buy a copy on Book Depository no problems.

This means that for the book launch at Conflux over the long weekend, 29 Sept to 1 October, I have books all to hand.

I have done all the things!

Phew!

Now to take off on Friday for nearly two months. Worldcon 75 and Helsinki here I come. I am the GUFF delegate, taking Australian fandom to Europe. See previous post for where I’ll be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have an exciting blog interview planned but it’s not ready yet. I am waiting for some answers to come in. In the meantime, I thought I’d post something about what is happening with me.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress lately due to an external issue. This has been hard on me. I’ve had to take sick leave from my PhD and I’ve had awful stress and anxiety symptoms and I find it hard to concentrate. High stress and anxiety increase my overall pain levels so it can be rather debilitating. I haven’t been able to read much at all, or invest in watching a movie or write fiction. I do walk a lot and I’m losing weight.

We live in an ableist society and so we are brought up thinking that we should be able to do everything and when we are not we get over critical of ourselves and also stress about how people view us. For me, I hate labels. I was sent to a psychiatrist last year to assess my stress and anxiety after a panic attack at work. I wasn’t sent to the psychiatrist until about four or five months after the attack. By then I’d been on meds and had two different lots of counselling and was feeling much better. I didn’t want to have a label and so was pleased that the psychiatrist said I wasn’t suffering from any psychiatric disorder. Even though this attack was brought on by an injury at work that I was having trouble adjusting to and workplace shenanigans. But shrug.

I believe my inherent ableism affects my outlook on my physical disabilities as well. The RSI and arthritic conditions limit me. I hate to be limited. I am a doer. I am an ablelist. It is part of who I am. There is so much I can’t do now and I hate it. I try not to think about it. No wonder I’m stressed. So I hate to acknowledge that these things make me less than I want to be. I know I should just suck it up right. I’m getting older. Well I’m 56 not 76!

But here I am again. Sigh. Having symptoms and it sucks.

My approach to Indie publishing has been to publish books that have been previously published and that I have the rights back to and books that I’ve already written that made it to acquisitions but weren’t bought by publishers. (This doesn’t include the book that is/was with my agent as we still have hopes). Last November, I wrote the short novel, Opi Battles the Space Pirates because that was just fun. However, while I’m not actively writing new stories, there is a bit of work in getting the books back out there and the new ones published.

The rights to Shatterwing and Skywatcher have been returned to me. This meeans they are no longer available. Before they can be relaunched they need to be proofread. Shatterwing is done and I’m just waiting on the map and the new cover. Skywatcher is still in progress in proofreading. My approach to this was work from hard copy that way I can use my tilt board and make it as ergonomic as possible. However, it’s still hard work! Concentration people!

My apologies to Dion who bought Shatterwing and then found he couldn’t buy Skywatcher as Pan Mac took it down. He wrote to me to say : Wing dust! It ended in a cliffhanger. In my defence, I had asked for the books to come down in May 2017 so I could have time to prepare but something went missing in the communication and I had no notice of when they would or did come down. They just disappeared from the Internet.

As per above, concentrating has been hard. Deathwings copy edit is done. I was a good way into it before the external stress causing business came back and overwhelmed me. But as I was nearly done, I managed a few more hours. Deathwings is now with the proofreader.

The new covers are in progress too. And I have Russell K looking at the maps. I’ve outsourced as much as I can. I have three weeks to finish revising Bloodstorm before it’s due at the editor. I think that’s doable, even if I only do an hour per day. However, if I don’t make the deadline, it will take longer to get Bloodstorm out.  No great dramas, except for readers because a lot happens in Bloodstorm.

For more of the Dragon Wine series, you guys will have to wait. I have a PhD to do. Although if this external stress thing doesn’t resolve I will probably go part time on the PhD for a little while.

The Silverlands series. Argenterra and Oathbound are published. I have to do a little bit of stuff to get the print file of Oathbound ready. I also need to pay someone to do the formatting for the Smashwords edition of Oathbound. I can do it, but it’s a bit difficult on the physical side of things. (Oh I hate admitting that–it’s the ableist in me!).

The edit of Ungiven Land is in progress. I may have a bit of work to do when it comes back to me later in the month. I had a chat to the copy editor this afternoon. Apparently I’ve developed new bad writing habits and may have my work cut out for me. My editor wanted to know if it was okay if she picked me up on things, suggested new scenes etc. I said go for it.

That’s what I want. That’s what an edit is for. Make me sweat. I want a better book.

This week I heard that I have the rights to The Sorcerer’s Spell back. That’s a sexy paranormal novel that is published under the Dani Kristoff name. That needs the same treatment. New cover, proofreading, new ISBNs etc. I have a half started sequel somewhere. If I’m to work on that then it will be dictation software! If I can concentrate. A lot depends on what happens over the next few weeks and months. However, finally I might get a male torso on the cover! A first for me.

There is administrative stuff that is done and heaps not done. Just registering ISBNs and Catalogue in Print stuff takes time and energy. I wished I earned enough to pay an assistant! Hahahahahaha!

Fun is over. Back to work.

And just for fun I’ll put a cover image of Argenterra here. It’s new low price is USD 2.99. I also revamped the blurb for this.

Sophy is not looking for a talisman: she is the talisman!

Sophy is snatched from our world during a ghost tour. Landing in the lush world of Argenterra, she’s the odd one out. She can’t use the land’s native magic, the given, even though her friend Aria, and everyone else, can.
Worse still, she’s a faded version of herself and doesn’t fit it at all.

Abandoned by Aria who marries a handsome prince, Sophy travels the land with Oakheart, the high king’s ambassador, to explore the mystery of why there is a crystal leaf growing inside her.

Then the accidents start to happen and she realises a dark force wants her: alive or maybe just dead…Argenterra with subtitle

For more information on The Silverlands Series and buy links, click here. Have you got your copy of Argenterra yet?

Also if you are interested in signing up for my Newsletter. Click here.

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Recently, I’ve taken the Indie Publishing thing more seriously. I believe there is only two ways to go about this. Do it or don’t.

I’ve also learned that is also hard work and that it requires a different mind set from traditional publishing.

Traditional publishing you have the acceptance of the publisher etc and they (hopefully) have a strategy to market your books. If you have the print deal you get into books stores and launches and if the publishers are pretty good you’ll have some press releases and even a marketer selling your books, getting you press in various places. These days you have to do some of your own marketing, Twitter, Facebook Pages, Blogs, Instagram etc etc.

That is nothing like Indie Publishing. And I don’t even know the half of it. I’m at the bottom of the hill pushing the dung to the top.

So what have I learned so far?

Advice is out there. Ask. I have learned so much mostly from the generosity of Patty Jansen and her cadre of Indie Publishers. (I’ll put a link up her page at the bottom of this post). Believe me there is a lot to ask.

Putting your book up on Smashwords or Ingrams and expecting it to sell doesn’t work (except maybe in some fluke circumstances). Believe me I had a book up there and it didn’t do much. You have to write more books. I had to turn that one Indie Published book into a trilogy. And I have the rights  back to another series so by mid-year I’ll be playing with eight Indie Published books and that gives me more options marketing wise/promotion wise. This does not include my traditionally published works under my own name and my pen name.

New skill sets…administration, formatting, Photoshop, buying stock images, learning about newsletters, different places to market my books, cross-promotions, pricing etc.

That’s just a quick overview. You really don’t understand until you do it. For example, I buy my own ISBNs so they have to be registered, then I register them with the National Library Catalogue in Print, then there is listing the books with different sellers and distributors, writing blurbs (the hardest thing of all), hiring editors, proofreaders, cover artists and writing briefs for cover artists. There are the ebooks to format and upload and print files to prepare…yadda yadda

Yet, it is rewarding. This has been the most challenging thing that I have done. It’s scary. It’s empowering. But most important of all–it’s a business. That’s the biggest change in mindset for me. I want to make a living from my writing. I want people to read and enjoy my books. I have to get the books out there. I have to find my audience.

So big achievement of the week. There have been a number of them, but sending out my first newsletter is the star  moment.

I’ve called the newsletter Wing Dust. People who have read the Dragon Wine series will get the reference.

Here is my newsletter banner, which I put together on Photoshop. Thank you You Tube for the tutorial. (It’s a very complicated and powerful program btw).

Newsletter banner master amended

If you want to sign up to my newsletter click here. 

You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

Heartfelt thank you to Patty Jansen. I suggest reading a few of her posts on Indie Publishing. Great advice and good sense from her. You can find her here.

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I am taking the writing gig seriously and this year you’ll see a lot of output from me (I expect five books out by June). So I want to put together a newsletter mailing list.

I’ve signed up with Mailchimp and I have a very basic sign up form.

I was hoping some of you lovely people would test it out for me and also that some of you would be interested in being on the list.

The mailing list URL is here. Feel free to tell me if it doesn’t work.

Also feel free to tell me what topics you want to hear about.

There’s

  • the PhD study
  • Writing advice
  • Self-publishing tips (as I learn them!)
  • Retro romance reading
  • General stuff.

Also, today took a serious turn. I’ve book a proofreader for the books coming up. This saves me a world of angst and time. I can proofread, but it is hard to do your own books and it takes me several run throughs to reduce errors. So booking a proofreader is worth the cost and has been added to the book budget.

I expect two edits to come in around the same time. Egad! Not planned that way.

And I put my toe in the water folks. I submitted a request for a Bookbub promotion. I’ll let you know how that pans out. But I expect it will take a few goes.

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