Archive for the ‘amazon’ Tag

Createspace and print editions.

Createspace. Amazon’s resource for creating, amongst other things, printed editions of books. Even as a fan of the Kindle for publishing I do have to admit to there being a certain thrill to holding a physical book in your hands. We all started reading with print so it speaks to something deep inside to have an actual book you have written in your grip.

So, is Createspace a good idea? Yes, for those of us self-publishing it is a great resource. Sure, most copies of our books out there will be digital but there are always a few people who stick with print and print only. Even though it may only get a few sales that is still new people reading what you’ve written, whioch can only be a good thing.

However, there is one issue – the useability of Createspace. There are a lot of steps in setting up your book, and I do mean a lot of steps. Even if you have already set up your book in Kindle Direct Publishing you cannot just port it across to Createspace. You may have already done all the formatting of the text but Createspace will ask for a PDF of the interior . . . and then it will mess with it a bit so you still have to go through and fix some problems. You may already have a cover but you will still need to upload it again, picking a template that includes the spine and back cover. Why it cannot drag across the interior text and front cover automatically by use of your book’s ASIN, I do not know. Oddly it will let you port everything across to KDP at the end of the process but you cannot do it the other way around.

After much effort, and occasional bad language, I know have all my books set up as print editions as well as digital. This is great but in a couple of days I have the joy of trying to convince Amazon that the print and Kindle editions need to be linked, based on my first experience of doing it this is unlikely to be a fun time!


Serials and collected editions.

Once a serial is finished how long should you wait before listing the collected version? Once the collected edition is up, how long should the serial episodes be up? Should they stay available forever, or be taken down?


Honestly, I don’t know. The collected edition of my serial, New Dawns, probably went up way too quickly, but then again it wasn’t like the serial episodes were selling in huge quantities. I’d had them all up together for a few months but decided the other day to take down the individual episodes. Is this the right decision? Who knows, I will have to wait and see.


The other question is what to do about The Carters? So far I have published Sovereign Nation and a shorter follow-up called Chasing The Future but I don’t see the third story coming out any time soon, that is if I ever get around to it at all. On it’s own Chasing the future is not attracting a lot of interest so do I just bundle it together with Sovereign Nation? If I do, should that be as a new collected edition or should I revise the text of Sovereign Nation and add it in? This is one I continue to ponder.

Starting something new

I’ll admit it, things are tough at the moment. I’m studying full-time on a course where we (the students) are not getting as much support as we might hope for, my funding has been cut and the workload is huge. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing and it means my motivation levels are pretty low. The last thing I wrote (not counting essays and the like) was the Christmas episode of New Dawns and that was finished in November!

So, how do I get back into the swing of things? Notes. Lots and lots of notes. I am forever writing notes about story ideas. This is how I start my stories, sometimes with a note as short as a word or two and sometimes with a note several hundred words long. Then I pick one (or two) and add more and more detail to the notes until I reach a point where I just have to start writing it.

Now, it is true, the finished story often bares only a passinbg resemblance to the original notes but they give me a starting point – a feel for the story’s shape if nothing else. All I need to do now is pick a couple of my notes and start expanding on them – another story for the Carters? New Dawns, Season Two? A detective novel? Sci-fi? Who knows?

Failure to Launch.

No, not the awful rom-com. That is a movie so bad I think it may technically qualify as a crime. Instead I am talking about the launch of my latest book, New Dawns, which collects the serial I published recently.

For the launch two promotion were booked in, one was booked on 23rd November and the other on 28th November, both through The first I have used before and confirmed I was booked in for 5th December, the other I haven’t used before and I have not heard a word from. Neither put anything up yesterday. Neither replied to questions about when the promotions would go live yesterday.

End result, no sales whatsoever.

So, a total failure of a book launch. The big problem is that you can never get back that launch day feel and the promotional value of it. Hopefully they will get back to me today, or at least soon, and run the promotions but it is a big missed opportunity. Isn’t it annoying when things out of your control wreck your plans? I guess I should have remembered the old saying ‘Men make plans and God laughs.’

Serial Fiction

The final part of New Dawns, Season One, went up on Amazon on Friday. First time I have published a novel in serial form and the first time I have written a Christmas story to finish off a book. The collected version will be out in a couple of weeks (on 5th December) so I need to work out how best to market that and see what sort of download numbers I can get.

What have I learned from writing a serial? First and formost, if I am going to commit to a publishing schedule then I need to have everything written first or specific time set aside to write that cannot be taken over by other things. Everything but the final part was ready to go when I set it all up, the final part was tough to write as I had no time to do it and a commitment to get it out in the same schedule as the rest.

Secondly, serial fiction is a complex beast and very different from writing a novel or short story. Each individual part of a serial must be a satisfying story in itself. Not necessarily stand-alone as it is part of an ongoing narrative but a satisfying read on it’s own. Did I manage this with New Dawns? Probably not with every part. Honestly, New Dawns would probably have worked better as the first novel in a series. In any future serials I will try to think more like a TV series – the first part is the pilot and the others the individual episodes. New dawns was possibly more like a mini-series – one story split into parts – and the individual episodes should probably have been longer and thus fewer in number overall.

Will there be more New Dawns? Sure there will, there are a million more stories I can tell in that setting but I need to work out the best way to tell them. For now, I am ready to move on to the next idea and see where I end up with that. Will it be another serial? That will very much depend on the idea.

Sales and downloads.

In the past I’ve put up a lot of information about sales and downloads but recently I haven’t updated on the last few promotions – increased busyness in real life reduced time to post updates! Instead I thought I’d put up some total figures as they might be of interest.

A bit of history to start with, publication dates.
Second Time Lucky? and Sovereign Nation went up in mid-to-late September 2013.
Chasing The Future went up on Amazon in July 2014.
The various parts of New Dawns went up in October 2014, with another part going up the end of this week and the final one going up when I have finished writing it.

Second Time Lucky? total downloads: 1,153 (1,146 free, 7 sales).
Sovereign Nation total downloads: 1,243 (1,221 free, 22 sales).
Chasing The Future total downloads: 325 (320 free, 5 sales).
New Dawns (all parts) total downloads: 474 (458 free, 16 sales).

Overall total downloads: 3,195 (3,145 free, 50 sales).

Broken down by country:
2,929 in the USA.
162 in the UK.
30 in Germany.
22 in Canada.
14 in Italy.
8 each in France, India and Australia.
6 each in Spain and Japan.
2 in Brazil.

In just over a year that is 3,195 total downloads! Way above what I would have expected. Yes, it is mostly free downloads but I don’t care about that. Even assuming that the highest downloads (Sovereign Nation) are unique readers and that every other download has come from subsets of them that means over 1,200 people have read something I have written. At least I can be sure it is too many for it to just be friends and family!

Christmas in November (and October).

Admittedly Sainsbury’s had the Christmas biscuits out for the August Bank Holiday weekend so you could argue I am a little late but it still seems odd to write a Christmas story now. Then again, if I wrote it at Christmas I’d be releasing it after Christmas – not exactly a great release strategy!
The final part of New Dawns is set at the first Christmas for the colonists on humanity’s new homes, hopefully giving a positive and uplifting ending to the story. The only problem is, how do you get into the Christmas spirit so early? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m trying but it just feels downright odd, especially as the past few days have been bright and sunny! I’m in London, October and November are supposed to be cold! We’ve got better weather now than we had during some of the summer, where’s the snow?
I guess I could put on the Christmas 24 channel but I fear that many TV movies may melt my brain. A Christmas carols CD? If they get stuck in my head and I start wandering around humming them it will make people think I’m crazy. Well, I guess I am stuck with just using my imagination – serves me right for writing fiction!

Sequels and where to go next.

My serialised novel, New Dawns Season One, is being released a week at a time, Sovereign Nation is out there, Chasing the Future was released a while ago, Second Time Lucky has been out for a year – so, what’s next?

A Christmas story for New Dawns is needed to cap off the first season, then there will probably be a collected edition. The Christmas story will tie up most of the main storyline, or at least get them to a place where a pause is appropriate before season two. It will be somewhere between five and eight thousand words if all runs to plan, making the collected edition around forty-five to fifty thousand words long.

When I was talking to a friend about Sovereign Nation recently he said that he was surprised anyone survived it as I was killing off characters at a high speed, then I realised the sequel is similar in a way – lots of characters die and there is a lot of injuries. So, I want to do another sequel but I want to make it a bit less bleak, the Carters need to have some fun. I’ll probably come up with another novella or short story to carry on their adventures, a palate cleanser if you will, and then decide what comes next.

Then all I need to do is decide which of my dozen other ideas should be done next. Sci-fi? Fantasy? Romance? Thriller? Who knows?

New Chances free promo results.

New Chances went up for a free promo on Friday, the idea being that people would download it and then by the second part, New Beginnings. As a free download it was a success – 213 in a day. As a way to get people buying part two, not so much a success – no sales of part two. So next week I am trying running free promos for New Chances (15th to 18th October) and New Beginnings (16th to 20th October) with part three, New Homes, launching on 17th October. Will there be any cross promotion? Wait and see, I guess.

Chasing the future, my novella sequel to Sovereign Nation, will also be eligible for a free promotion again this coming week. Sovereign Nation has been a bit more successful so maybe it is worth putting this up for a free promo too? I will have to think about it, how to market a sequel is a new puzzle to solve.

New Chances Launch Results.

So I launched the first part of my new serial on Friday, New Chances is the first part of New Dawns Season One. I priced it at $0.99 / £0.77 and booked in three promos for it. It has sold 7 copies (and one Kindle ‘borrow’) since launch. Not exactly flying off the virtual shelves.

But, I have a plan. This Friday part two goes live so I am going to make part one free for one day only, with a Bknights promotion. Will free downloads of part one lead to sales of part two or pre-orders for the other parts? I have no idea, I guess I will find out Friday.