Category Archives: E-books & E-publishing

E-book Sales – Up and Up! By Vicki Lucas

Article by Vicki Lucas

It’s hard to give away something valuable. This is especially true when you are a self-published author. You believe you have created something out of sweat and tears that is going to bring you money. So, you boldly upload it to Kindle and wait for the whole world to buy.

But the book doesn’t “take off.” No one buys it. You’re happy for the $3.00 a month you’re making, but you need actual money to make a career out of it. You ask others for advice. The main thing people say is… “Give it away for free.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll resist the advice for several months. I have two words for you based on my experience.

Don’t resist.

Giving your book away for free goes against the grain. It’s difficult. There are all sorts of reasons not to give it away for free. Do any of these sound familiar? I spent two years working on Toxic. I deserve the money. It’s worth a whole more than I’m selling it for already. You’ve heard the excuses. You might have even made them.

On a whim, I decided to put it on Kindle for free for two days. Since it was a quick decision, I didn’t advertize it too much. I tweeted it. I put it on different places in Facebook. I contacted a handful of web pages that have sections for free e-books. That’s it. Looking back, I see so much more I could have done, but honestly I wasn’t expecting too much to happen with it. I thought I’d get about a thousand downloads and probably no sales.

Surprise!

No one was more surprised than I was when the tally rushed past 100 in the first hour! In fact, by the end of day two, I had 1,455 downloads! Yes, they are all free so that means I don’t get a penny (until they want the sequel, that is!). But something amazing happened after that. My sales have skyrocketed. I’ve gone from a very small trickle to a medium trickle. I am by no means rich, but I have enough earnings to buy a large pizza, and let me tell you, that pizza is going to taste awfully good. I’ve recently read that for every three you give away, you sell one. So be generous.

It’s been weeks since I offered Toxic for free, and the sales continue. They’ve slowed somewhat, but at least they are steady.

So, thank you so much to those who have supported Toxic and given it a try! I cannot say how much it means to me to see those numbers going up. God is good! I truly hope that you enjoy reading it. I’ll be watching the reviews to see what you have to say.

Oh, and another cool thing. I noticed that fifty-four of those copies went to people in the United Kingdom and four went to people in Germany. I am now an international author! And I’m dying to go for a book tour. If you’re interested in hosting me, email me and let’s chat!

Thanks again for the support. You guys are the best!

***

Have you given away an e-book? What was your experience with the give-away? How are sales now?

***

Vicki Lucas

I have always struggled with the question “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology…only to find myself with no desire to work in that field. I switched careers to Teaching English as a Second Language and obtained a Master’s from Seattle Pacific University. Thankfully, I found joy in the classroom. Teaching at universities and community colleges gave me eleven years of incredible experiences, remarkable coworkers, and unforgettable friends from many different countries. However, the distant mountains began to call, and I responded, not knowing where I was going or what my purpose was. After a year and a half of traveling through the quiet places that are left in the world, I settled in Montana with my husband and my dog. I have begun to write the stories I heard on the wind.

Connect with Vicki on her webpage, Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.

Opening photo by Murray Conrad.

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Filed under E-books & E-publishing, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Publishing

The working mom’s tricks for writing a novel in your free time, by Alina Adams

Got kids? Got a job? Got a life? Also got a burning need to write a novel?

Yeah. Me, too.

Got a problem? Yeah. Me, too.

In the two years prior to the birth of my oldest child, I’d published three romance novels, dozens of magazine articles, and a non-fiction book on figure skating, while working a full-time job. In the four years following the birth of my oldest child, I published one romance novel, one non-fiction book on figure skater Sarah Hughes, two soap opera tie-ins, and four mystery novels. By the time the third child came along, seven years after the first, I was down to one soap opera tie-in and one final, murder mystery.  And it was certainly no mystery to anyone why my output had dropped so precipitously.

It took a lot of trial and error (and crying over spilled breast-milk on a computer key-board) before I even began to figure out how to balance the mothering with the mystery, the toddler with the typing, and the wailing with the writing.

However, three kids in, I can honestly say that I’ve managed to work out a few “Working Mom Tricks For Writing a Novel in Your Free (!) Time,” which I am eager to share with those interested in forgoing trivial matters like eating, sleeping, and the facade of sanity all in order to indulge that elusive muse and squeeze a satisfying writing side-dish on to an already overflowing platter.

Trick #1: Think First: In Stanley Kubrick’s film, “The Shining,” aspiring writer Jack Nicholson goes ballistic when wife Shelley Duval interrupts him with the excuse, “I didn’t hear you typing, so I thought you weren’t working.”

“Just because you don’t hear me typing,” Jack roars back, “Doesn’t mean I’m not working.” (And then he goes on a killing spree. Just ignore that part.)

Because the homicidal lunatic has a point.

“Writing” is the act of actually sitting at a keyboard and tapping keys to produce words that might one day form sentences and then actual, coherent thoughts. “Writing,” is an act that can and often is interrupted by someone wanting to sit on your lap and visit, “Noggin.com, please!” (hopefully your child and not your boss), as well as by someone asking you to watch their phone while they pop out to lunch with their latest girl-friend (hopefully a co-worker and not your husband).

“Working” on the other hand, consists merely of thinking about what you’re going to write, and thus can be done while driving, washing dishes, doing laundry, making beds, giving baths, standing in line at the grocery store, packing lunches, showering, breast-feeding, pushing a carriage, standing on a subway platform, cooking, and even while reading “The Cat in the Hat” for the umpteenth time, since you probably can do the whole thing on auto-pilot by now.

The best part is, “working,” works. You don’t have to be in front of a computer to think about a scene, to decide what you want it to be about, where you want to set it, how you want each character to approach it, and where you need it to lead. Remember reading “The Cat in the Hat” until you can trill it by heart? Playing the same scene in your head over and over again, polishing the dialogue, the structure, picking just the right word to describe a key plot point makes it much, much easier to maximize your precious computer time once you do get the squatters off your lap.

Trick #2: Skip Lunch. And on-line solitaire: The law mandates that every employee receive a one-hour lunch every day. The law does not mandate what you can or should do with it.

Look at that computer on your desk. It can be used for reports and spreadsheets and schedules. It can also be used for writing your book. In your free time.

What free time? Well, there’s lunch for a start. A good hour to sit in relative silence and get your thoughts together – on paper, no less!

Plus, let’s be honest, here: Lunch aside, how much of those seven other hours at work do you use for getting the job done, and how many are spent playing solitaire, surfing the web, chatting with co-workers and forwarding e-mail jokes and petitions?

That’s all prime writing time. No one is suggesting shirking your duties and risking your job. But, if you’re going to take breaks anyway, why not get your high from writing instead of caffeine?

Trick #3: Write Longhand: Even the most lightweight laptop is a tricky thing to schlep to the playground or Gymboree. However, a notebook and pen fit easily into the most crowded diaper bag (strong suggestion: attach the pen to the notebook or you’ll loose both in the Desetin Depths). Write longhand while you’re sitting on a bench at the playground. Write longhand while you’re standing and rocking a stroller with your foot. Write longhand while breastfeeding and while waiting for your pasta to boil and while waiting outside of my “My First Karate Class.” The best part is, entering your text into the computer later will give you the chance to revaluate your work with a fresh eye, fix those mistakes made on the first go around and, best of all, also counts as an official second draft i.e. you’re that much closer now to a polished manuscript!

Trick #4: Get Your Kids into the Act: Experts say that reading to your children is the best thing any parent can do to bond, raise IQ and otherwise earn their Mother-of-the-Year stripes. Sure, toddlers and up would probably rather hear “Winnie the Pooh” than “Mommy’s Work in Progress.” But, can an infant really tell the difference?

Nothing gives writers a better idea of whether a scene, especially one featuring lots of dialogue, is working, than reading it out loud. It can be an ego-crushing experience as you realize that the brilliance you heard in your head doesn’t quite match the drivel you seem to be articulating now… but that which does not kill you gets you ready for more editorial rejection later on. And that’s a good thing. Probably.

So grab that baby and that manuscript and read it out loud until the prose finally shines. Or your infant is old enough to start requesting a different title.

Then start again with the next book – and the next child.

Alina Adams

Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman.  She has turned her Figure Skating Mystery series, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and Skate Crime into enhanced e-books with skating videos embedded alongside the text.  Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, a romantic serial where readers guide the development of the story. In addition to converting her own backlist, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at http://www.AlinaAdamsMedia.com.

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Filed under Blogging, E-books & E-publishing, Guest Writers & Bloggers

On the Plum Tree blog

I’m over at the Plum Tree blog today with Niamh Clune.

While you’re there, be sure to make a comment about a writer in the Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology (there’s a critique give-away).

And check out the new Plum Tree Books website.

For a great pay-it-forward, inspirational FB group, see Plum Tree Group.

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Filed under E-books & E-publishing, My Guest Posts

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly-formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.

Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.

We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen. In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories, whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.”

Executive Editor, Karen S. Elliott stated, “While I looked at all the stories in the Every Child anthology, I edited only a few. I thought it was important, for this tome, that the writers be able to express the heartbreak and joy of childhoods past without censorship.”

Spokesperson for Orangeberry Books, Niamh Clune, explained how The Orangeberry Group is at the vanguard of a new wave of Internet publishing companies. Orangeberry aims to put quality first and bring exciting, exceptionally talented authors to the reader’s attention. Its focus is not on commercialism, but on quality, beautifully written, well-told stories. Orangeberry will also publish poetry. A further aim of the publishing company is to bring a collection of exceptional artists from across many different art disciplines to collaborate on projects in a personal, hands-on, mutually supportive manner.

The motto of the company is, ‘Paying it Forward.’ The company relies on a well-developed social network, the dedication of the core team members, and their talent and enthusiasm coupled with a socially entrepreneurial spirit. Supporters and members of this group will also benefit from on-line mentoring, a book-club, the Youth Tube Channel, and the OBBlog.

To buy the book

please visit

www.orangeberrybooks.com

All proceeds benefit Child Helpline International

Introducing the core members of The Orangeberry Group –

Niamh Clune

Niamh Clune 

Founder, Coordinating Programme Executive and Artistic Director of Orangeberry Group

London, England

Niamh Clune is the founder of The Orangeberry Group. During her lifetime, she has been a spiritual psychologist, award-winning social entrepreneur, environmental campaigner, and award-winning writer of songs. Her song, “We Are the Voice,” was chosen to promote the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg (she performed it with her daughter, Aleisha, at the opening concert). She has lived and worked in Africa for Oxfam, UNICEF, and World Food Program. Previously, Niamh penned, The Coming of the Feminine Christ and The Angel in the Forest. She has been described as an Irish mystic; a doctor of the soul. One reviewer described how The Coming of the Feminine Christ “puts us in mind of Anglo-Irish visionary writer AE, better known as George Russell.” Niamh has been a prolific writer about environmental issues for international magazines and newspapers. The Skyla McFee Wisdom Stories are Niamh’s latest fiction project. Orange Petals in a Storm is the first in the series.

Click here to visit Niamh’s websiteClick here to follow Niamh on Twitter 

Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

Operations Executive Manager of Orangeberry Group

London, England

Doug Johnson worked in overseas aid and development for most of his working career. He specialised in emergency programmes such as the Mozambique floods, the Ethiopian drought, and the wars in Sudan and Liberia. Doug has vast experience in management and consultancy for agencies such as Oxfam, UNICEF, and Action Aid. He has also been published by Oxfam having written the Seeds and Tools Guide for those working in emergency situations. Doug has also been involved in publishing, built an eco-house, loves gardening, lives on a boat on the River Thames and is the proud grandfather of three little girls.

Click here to follow Doug on Twitter  – Click here for more Tweets from Doug 

Karen S. Elliott

Karen S. Elliott  

Executive Editor at Orangeberry Group

North Dakota, U.S.A.

Karen S. Elliott was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun. Her favorite book is the dictionary. Karen’s favored genre is horror, although she also enjoys reading and writing memoir, historical fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Recent publications include Delaware Shores Losers Club and The Devil’s Passing on http://www.writingraw.com and From the Frying Pan Into the Freezer on North Dakota Ambassadors. Karen’s foray into experimental fiction produced The Garden which appeared on http://www.bewilderingstories.com. She has a story in the anthology Every Child is Entitled to Innocence. Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, writer, and grandmother.

Click here to visit Karen’s website  – Click here to follow Karen on Twitter 

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Filed under E-books & E-publishing, Editing & Proofreading, Special Events