Congrats to Diane Amos!

Winner of a 2012 NECRWA Beanpot Award for Promise Me Forever!
I wish I could have been there to congradulate you in person!

And for those of you following my Independent Publishing posts... I haven't forgotten! Stay tuned for the results of my first Amazon Free Promo. Coming soon!


Free Today! Stealing Darkness!

Check it out! Stealing Darkness is a FREE read today! And, if you like the story, please take a moment to "like" Stealing Darkness on the Amazon page!

http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Darkness-Paranormal-Novella-ebook/dp/B007SH9IHO/ref=lp_B001JP4FUG_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1333975074&sr=1-3

Minn Sterling ran away from Crescent Lake to escape the pyschic legacy left to her by her mother and to protect her heart from the man she was too scared to love. But when three women are mysteriously killed and the only connection the police have is her psychic link to the killer, Minn has no choice but to face her fears and run back into the arms of the one man who believes in her enough to catch the killer.



Yeah!

Independent Publishing: Part 3: Amazon Kindle Continued

Disclaimer: This is part 3 of my Independent Publishing Series and Part 2 of my Epubbing through Amazon Kindle section. I've talked about the prep and I've talked about everything that goes along with it, including loading your baby up on the Amazon KDP Dashboard. In this post I'll talk about the second part of the Dashboard and I'll talk about the Reports tab on the Dashboard. If you haven't read the first post I'd suggest you start there at Independent Publishing: Show and Tell: Part 1. My reason for putting this information out there is to help anyone else looking to make their way through the process of publishing their work. I am not anti-Traditional publisher, in fact, this process has made me ever more aware of just how much they do and the time and effort involved in bringing a work of the imagination to the masses. If you have any questions I would urge you to take a look at some of the links listed on my Independent Publishing page and, as always, you can email me at Teagan@TeaganOliver.com and I will try to help or point you in the direction of help. And, as I've said before... What I don't know could fill a book, but I still might be able to lead you in a direction where you can find your answer.




Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Page 2 -

Rights and Pricing:
Verifying Your Publishing Territory:
Note: If this is a work that was previously published or you have retained certain rights for your work, please review your rights to make certain where those rights pertain to for publishing. This will make this next step easier.

If this is a new work that has never before been published through any outlet and you own all rights to your work then it is here that you would publish your work as "Worldwide Rights - All Territories". This says that the current work will be published in all the territories that Amazon currently publishes.

There are some authors that I've heard from who retained the rights to publish outside the US. Their book may still be available from their publisher, but they have permission to seek publication outside the United States. If this is the case then you would publish your work under "Individual Territories" and pick the territories you rights to publish.

Now comes the big one...
Choose Your Royalty:
You would think this would be an easy question to answer. After all, they give you the choice of 35% and 70% royalties. But how do you decide which royalty?
 
If you work is between $2.99 and $9.99 for the US Market, your work will automatically receive the 70% royalty rate. Any price below $2.99 will be automatically enrolled for the 35% royalty. If you try to choose the 70% royalty on a book under the minimum price it will give you a warning and disallow this choice. 

Once you've chosen the price... In this case, we'll say that you chose to publish your work for $2.99. This price would be entered under the "amazon.com" box. Once you hit enter it will automatically calculate the amount of royalty you will receive on each purchase at the $2.99 price.

Note: There is a .01 delivery cost that is assigned to each book that is delivered at a price between the $2.99 and $9.99 price points. This does not pertain to any book under the $2.99 price.

Once you've put in your price for publishing on Amazon.com you can either check the boxes on the other Amazon venues to have the US price translated into their currency or you can set the price for each individual venue. I'd suggest that unless you have a really good idea of the market for each venue then it's best to let Amazon do the figuring and make the calculations for you.

Amazon has a few notes of their own when it comes to setting international prices. I've listed part of them below, but please see the site for more information. (This comes directly from the dashboard)
  • EUR and GBP list prices that are set automatically based on your US Dollar list price are converted using the exchange rates in effect on the date that they were initially calculated. If the converted list price would be outside of the minimum or maximum list price we accept for the currency, your list price will be converted so that it is equal to the applicable minimum or maximum list price for that currency. List prices automatically set for your existing books are displayed in the above table.  
  • The list price you provide is VAT-EXCLUSIVE. The VAT we will add for sales to customers in EU countries from our EU Kindle Stores will be 3%. VAT rates, where applicable, vary for other countries.

 The last piece of the publishing puzzle for getting your work listed is to pick whether you want to allow "Kindle Lending" of your work. This is part of the "Kindle Book Lending" program and there is more information on this on their site. Basically, if the user is part of the Kindle Book Lending program they can choose to share your work with anyone for 14 days.
 
YEAH! You've made it through the initial uploading process for getting your work into Kindle's listing. There is the requisite acknowledgement of Terms and Conditions. I'd suggest that you read through them thoroughly before choosing to publish on Kindle (or anywhere else for that matter). But once you've acknowledge the T&C you can go ahead and hit "SAVE AND PUBLISH".
 
Now take a deep breath! It's a big thing you've done. You've just put that work out for sale. You've labored over it and polished it and made it your own and now you need to push it out of the nest and see if it will fly. But you will have to wait about 24 hours for it to go live on Kindle. Once it does you can sell, sell, sell.
 
KDP Reports Tab
I really wanted to touch on this because it will be the most visited tab on your dashboard. It's here that you will see your daily and monthly sales totals. You can look up your royalty accumulations and get reports for your files. You can also check to see how you are doing at the other Amazon venues through the small drop down menu. Warning: It can become highly addictive to look at these figures. But it's your best indication of how your work is doing. There are times when the reporting is slow, but usually within a day or so the sales will show up on your reports.
 
Next time: I'm going to talk about marketing that book your just uploaded to Amazon. After that, I'll begin touching on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and anything else that I can think of that may be of use to you.
 
As always, if you have any question and you can't find the answer here or through one of the references I've listed on my Independent Publishing page you can contact me at Teagan@TeaganOliver.com and I will do my best to answer your questions or at the very least... point you in the right direction.
 

 

Independent Publishing: Part 2: Getting started with Amazon

Disclaimer: If you read my first post then you've already read my disclaimer. If you haven't read the first post I'd suggest you start there at Independent Publishing: Show and Tell: Part 1. My reason for putting this information out there is to help anyone else looking to make their way through the process of publishing their own work. I am not anti-Traditional publisher, in fact, this process has made me ever more aware of just how much they do and the time and effort involved in bringing a work of the imagination to the masses. If you have any questions I would urge you to take a look at some of the links listed on my Independent Publishing page and, as always, you can email me at Teagan@TeaganOliver.com and I will try to help or point you in the direction of help. As I said before, What I don't know could fill a book, but I still might be able to lead you in a direction where you can find your answer

Where to Publish?
My list grows every day as I learn of new avenues for publication. There are also places like Smashwords.com that will distribute your work through their "premium catalogue" to outside resellers such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, iTunes, etc.

Right now, as I type this there are three major outlets for our work. Each has their own benefits and downsides and each have an equally confusing set of demands or qualifications for publication with their site. Today, I'm going to cover Amazon. I'll be going over some of the other publishers in later posts. I'll also try to list some of this information on my Independent Publishing page, but you should always check their site for any changes to their rules and restrictions.

Amazon -  Kindle Program
Alphabetically, they're first in line. But there are other reasons for looking at Amazon first. If you want to debate the merits or downfalls of the global monstrosity and the vast market share that they maintain then there are places to do this. But not here.

Amazon publishes ebooks through their KDP Dashboard system. This Dashboard enables the author to upload content, set price, upload cover, pick the distribution (amazon.ca, amazon.fr, etc.) and also this will give you the option of viewing your book before you set it live. You can view how the readers will look at your book when they download it. This can be a very important tool.

Amazon also gives you the chance to enroll your ebook into the Amazon Select Program. This makes it part of the program that makes books available at a special price to Amazon Prime Customers and allows some participants to borrow your book. Books enrolled in the Amazon Select Program are still available to everyday Amazon customers. They are able to purchase the book at the price you set. The Select Program also gives you the ability to promote your book for 5 free days during the period. Many authors disperse these over the course of the program as a way to boost sales and rankings.

NOTE: The biggest stickler to this program is that you must grant exclusivity to the program for a 3month program. No Smaswords or Barnes and Noble. Just Amazon. You need to decide if focusing on one market is worth it or if you would prefer to bypass the select program offer and publish at Amazon with the ability to trade in other markets.

How Does it Work?
When you log onto the Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Dashboard you will be greeted by a header that includes four sections, Bookshelf, Reports, Community, KDP Select Program.

The Bookshelf is where all of your titles will be listed and where you will automatically default to when you sign in. In the box below it will list a introduction to the KDP Select Program. This gives you the information on the program and also tells you how big the fund is for the current month. Anytime that anyone borrows your book you earn a portion of the fund for that month.

Below that is where your titles are listed. From here you have an "actions" drop down menu and a
add a new title button". If this is your first time to the rodeo you would click on the new title button, but if you already have a title available there are a lot of options available to you under the actions menu that you should be aware of. From here you add an existing title to the Select Program, change or edit the book, edit rights, royalties and pricing, and if you wish, you can unpublish from here. If you book is already part of the Select Program you can choose to extend it for another 90 days. You can also manage your promotion or "free" days from here. I'll get into "free" days a little more when I talk about marketing.

Uploading Your New Title
Your first decision is whether or not to commit to the Select Program. This choice is entirely up to you. My first Independently Publishing book Three Truths was a book that I had gotten the rights back on from a previous publisher. This is the case for a lot of authors who have the rights to previous work, but aren't entirely sure what to do with their back list. In this case, I decided to forgo the Select exclusivity and made it available also at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. (But that's a tale for another blog). For Stealing Darkness: A Darkness Paranormal Novella, this was a totally new story for me. I wanted it to get all of the attention and chances it deserved and I went with Select hoping it would be promoted more readily. It's done reasonably well considering the market and I've had some accomplishments not seen with other books, but how much of that is because of the Select program? I'm not sure.

  • BOOK NAME: Do you have one? Is it catchy? Does it represent the genre and feel of the book and will it entice the reader paging through hundreds of titles?
  • If it's part of a series you would enter that here along with the volume reference if needed (book 1, etc.). Mine is part of a novella series I've written so I added this information.
  • DESCRIPTION: This is that blurb for your book that you've worked so hard on for so long. This is the back cover copy that would normally suck the reader in and immediately download the book. Writing short promo copy isn't easy. But there are some great workshops and articles out there on doing it. All else fails and you aren't sure what to do, go read some of the other descriptions listed and model yours after theirs. (Just don't plagiarize!)
  • LANGUAGE AND PUBLICATION DATE: Language is pretty obvious. The publication date is the date of publication for your work.
  • PUBLISHER AND ISBN: Both of these are optional. Note that Amazon will automatically assign you an ASIN number to track your book in place of an ISBN.
  • VERIFY PUBLISHING RIGHTS: Do you hold all rights to this work or is part of the public domain?
  • TARGET YOUR BOOK TO CUSTOMERS: My biggest advice for this is to look at what other writers in your genre list their books. If you write Romance, Vampire saga then go for Fiction: Romance: Paranormal. You can add up to 7 keywords. These are what readers will put into the search engine when looking for a book.
  • UPLOAD YOUR BOOK COVER: Just follow the instructions on this one. 
  • UPLOAD YOUR BOOK FILE AND SET DRM: DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a process to help protect your work from being copied and distributed. IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO ENABLE YOUR DRM RIGHTS IT CAN NOT BE FIXED LATER. 
  • Note: The maximal size for your book file cannot exceed 50MB. There are some formatting considerations to be done before you upload the book. I'd suggest reading their formatting guidelines before you do it and make as many changes before you hit upload.   

Since there is so much information still to be processed when it comes to publishing with Amazon I've decided to break it up and give all of you and myself a break. Plus the son is begging to be fed. So, next I'll talk about the next step. Hope to see you back here again.

Independent Publishing: Show and Tell: Part 1

Disclaimer: I'm in no way an expert. But what I am is someone who is traversing my way through the ipubbing journey and I think it's important to share some of the information that I've learned so far. These are the things that I've done, good or bad. My intention is to create some resources for others who are interested. So if you don't see the answers to what you want now you have two choices, you can email me at Teagan@teaganoliver.com or you can wait to read on in the series. What I don't know could fill a book, but I still might be able to lead you in a direction where you can find your answer.


PRE-IPUBBING
Where to start? Logically, it starts with a product to sell. Have you got one? Perhaps you have a book that you have gotten the rights back on and just don't know what to do with it. Or maybe, you have a long back list of books that you've written and polished (polished being the operative word) and want to get them to market. Where do you start?

If you've got a book that has been polished and well edited then you can skip to the next section.
But if you are still working on that book and it needs a little work then there are some things to consider here first. The work you put out there represents you. If I can give you anything else to hang your hat on then it would be this. I've seen a lot of authors who pay to have their books edited. This can be extremely costly and not always with the results that you want. If you don't feel comfortable in your abilities to edit and you have the money to spare then there are those out there that will do it for you. If you are like me and you have limited money to invest there are ways to get around it.

  • Invest in a good book on editing your manuscript or take a workshop that highlights this.
  • Find some great BETA readers. I'm not talking about mom reading your book unless she has the ability to be brutally honest.  (Mine had this ability). But get more than one person who can BETA read for you and pick people who may have different specialties. I belonged to a critique group early on and I learned an huge amount from fellow author Susan Vaughan. Her specialty was grammar and I still carry on many of those lessons today. How many is a good amount of BETA readers? As many as it takes for you to feel that the product you put out there will be the best it can be. I heard once that most editors stopped reading submissions after 3 errors. In this case, the editor is you reader and they do have the ability to return the book and put very visible reviews on your work. Give them something to rave about, not rant.
  • When you think you are ready to publish take one more look. Or have someone else look at it. Even traditionally published books can have a multitude of errors, but they are most often much more acceptable by readers who tend to believe that the error can come from some big name publisher.

If your work is ready to go and you are itching to publish I would urge you to learn a little before you put it out there. I'm a jump in and swim kind of person. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it bites you in the butt! When I decided to put Three Truths up for sale as an ebook I needed to learn a few things about the market before I could take the plunge. I would suggest building your arsenal or toolbox of reference materials.

There are 3 basic "free" yahoo lists that I've found to be an asset gathering information. Each offers their own unique specialties and each come with their own set of listserve rules. Make sure to check them out and follow them. It's better to be cautious, then to get yourself kicked off a list that can offer so much information. Also, don't let the "romance" or "mystery" monikers dissuade you. These people have spent a lot of time analyzing their efforts and are willing to share their information. Not everything works for everyone, but it's a great place to gather resources, get new ideas and even ask questions.

INDIROMANCEINK
MURDERMUST ADVERTISE
MARKETING FOR ROMANCE WRITERS

I can't even begin to tell you about the wealth of information that I found by being on these lists. I would, however, suggest being on digest. These can be high volume lists and being on digest gives you the ability to skim.

The last part that I want to talk about is branding. If you've been in writing for any length of time you've heard the term, but there really is a reason for this. Think carefully about the image and books that you want to put out there. This is not the time for scatter shot publishing. There is nothing wrong with writing and publishing different genres, just understand that you need to make it clear to the prospective reader what product they are getting when they buy your book. Think about name, image, quality and availability. These are all part of the package. How do you want to present yourself to the market?

As I progress I'll be talking about different resources that are available. If you have any questions, please let me know at Teagan@TeaganOliver.com and I'll help where I can.

What Do You Fear?

Fear is perhaps the biggest motivator in our lives. It can also be the thing that stops us the most. I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't have some sort of fear. Some are controlled by their fears more than others. Some look at fear as a challenge, an obstacle to overcome. And some use fear as a wall to hide behind.

I write about fear a lot in my books. Usually to a varying degree depending on the type of story. But for Stealing Darkness, the fear was very real and very immobilizing. Minn Sterling isn't afraid of the psychic gift she inherited, but she is afraid of the psychological cost that comes with such a gift. She's afraid that she'll end up like her mother and that she won't be able to handle the gift. And she's afraid that she'll never be able to find the man behind the murder of three women. Murders that she can hear, but can't stop.

I'm sure there are those that would find this kind of ability illogical. But I believe that we all have varying degrees of abilities, mostly depending on how much we utilize them. Are you following that lucky feeling straight to the store to buy a lottery ticket? Then you're utilizing your intuition. But what does intuition have to do with fear? So much and more. Fears are generally based on a personal event or trauma, but fears can also happen without logical reasoning. I have learned that fear can also be a learned behavior. If a parent lives their lives fearing the things around them then they can pass it along to their children. And it goes on and on and on.

What am I afraid of? I'm terribly claustrophobic, I hate small places and being confined. I blame this on the episode of Winnie the Pooh where he's stuck in Rabbit's hole and they leave him there until he is able to loose enough weight to wiggle his way out. I'm scared of making a fool of myself or calling attention to myself. Some wouldn't consider this to be a big fear, but as a child it caused me to withdraw and be incredibly shy. I was always acutely aware that at any moment someone could jump up and tell me that I was horrible and should go away. I've managed to counteract this one by becoming an author and workshop presenter. If you're acutely afraid of putting yourself out there, the worst thing imaginable is to put yourself out for criticism. It took me a long time to figure out that criticism can't kill me, but my fear could stop my life.

Surprisingly, some of the things that scare others do not scare me. I've been a paranormal investigator and spirit intuitive and I've found that spirits don't scare me. Standing in dark rooms in odd houses in the middle of the night don't scare me. The living are often more scary then those that have passed. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't be cautious when dealing with spirits. There are good and bad, just like people. Many spirits retain the same personality they held in life. Especially, if they are lingering for some reason or trying to make contact. If they were insistent, stubborn, sometimes caustic and overbearing in life, well then, they are probably going to come through that way in the afterlife. There are others, some whose intentions are to create fear in people. Just like there are people in everyday life who feed off fears and negative emotions, there are those on the other side who are able to connect the same way.

So what are your fears and how do you overcome them? Leave a comment and share some of this insight. Maybe it'll help someone else, or at the very least, give insight for a writer's work.

Stealing Darkness, A Darkness Paranormal Novella

NOW AVAILABLE!

Stealing Darkness
A Darkness Paranormal Novella
Format: Kindle Ebook (Kindle PC format)
ASIN: B007SH9IHO

ORDER HERE
Amazon.com/Author/TeaganOliver

Minn Sterling ran away from Crescent Lake to escape the pyschic legacy left to her by her mother and to protect her heart from the man she was too scared to love. But when three women are mysteriously killed and the only connection the police have is her psychic link to the killer, Minn has no choice but to face her fears and run back into the arms of the one man who believes in her enough to catch the killer.

Another Run at the Hill - BIAW Challenge April

I'm not sure if the saying "another run at the hill" is a Maine thing. Probably not, but it is something that my father always said when he was making another attempt at something. BIAW?! Never heard of it! If you're a writer then it's a smaller version of NANOWRIMO challenge that takes place each April. I've posted about it before, but I thought it worthy to post about it again. Each month Book-in-a-week.com revves up writers by giving them a self-imposed challenge to meet for one week. It can be as little as 10 pages or as much as... well, as much as you can write and not have to be committed to a hospital for lack of food, sleep or sanity. My challenge for this month is 35 pages. That's 10 more than last month and I made last month by a page. Doesn't sound like much to the average person, but I've found out a few things about the BIAW challenge that make it worth the effort.

1. It's a week. Not a month. I tend to lose motivation for pages when I have a whole months worth of work looming over me. A week is enough for me to write the first two chapters of my newest book. That's not a bad thing. But there were also weeks when I struggled to get the bare minimum of pages down.

2. Since it's only a week it's much more justifiable to the family. I tell the family "book in a week starts tomorrow" and then they are all prepared. With one computer in the house, we have to share and that means that hubby knows he's got to get his work done on it early so that I can write.

3. Noise cancelling headphones are your friend. Even if you can hear them screaming at you from the other side of the headphones you can act like you can't hear them and just continue on with your writing. I love to load up on podcasts and run them in the background while I write. The noise helps cancel out the sound of the TV and NASCAR, GOLF and the Xbox. Ughhhh!

4. I write at night. Always have. I think it goes back to the seven years that I worked 3-11pm when the kids were little and I came home and wrote until I fell over asleep in the chair. Find your sweet spot and stick to it.

5. There will always be outside influences. This week my daughter will be home from College in PA for Easter. Actually, she's been home almost like clockwork during BIAWeeks since she went to college. But she doesn't mind that I write and actually I'm pretty fast at it, so it's usually not a problem. It's all about balance... and getting the pages done.

5. Notebooks are your friend. I carry one with me everywhere and I write on breaks and lunch. Usually, I'll take my lunch during the BIAW so that I don't have to go find something and waste the time when I would have been writing. Make the most of it. Also, dinners are planned ahead. Pizza place is on speed dial and I've got a list of coupons for Subway if they start grumbling too much.

6. Stick to one project as much as possible. And if that doesn't work and you can't get the words to come then work on anything else that lets you free that muse. They can be fickle, but don't beat yourself up. The only person you are really competing with is yourself. Me? I'm the least competitive person in the world, except for when it comes to competing with myself. Push. Push. Push.

7. Social media hiatus. I know. I know. I'm addicted to Pinterest right now, but you've got to limit your time when it comes to Facebook, Pinterest, Farmville, etc., etc., etc. They are a time suck. Some of it must be done if you are promoting a book. I say, pay your teenager to do it for you. They are on those sites all the time anyway. Set it up ahead of time and let them go.

8. And lastly, know that you can do this. Even if you don't meet your goal then you've most likely gotten something down on the page and every page is an accomplishment. Go for it! You can do it! Push yourself! It's a win-win, when you take another run at the hill.

Book-in-a-week.com

Featured Post

Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" ...