Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
April 25th, 2014

Why Does KDP Hate Me?

Unfortunately, there was a snafu with my Kindle Direct Publishing account, and my special sale was cut short today. I hope to have it up again, but here’s what I take away from the experience:

When I decided to independently publish my novel, I went with Smashwords first because they have a wide distribution, not just on their own website but also with other major retailers—iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, etc….They don’t have a deal with Amazon, so I put up my book there later, unaware that Amazon had this KDP Direct program. What is it? Basically, if you publish your ebook exclusively with Amazon, you can do a couple of promos. One is a free giveaway of your book, run for up to 5 days. The other is discounting your book, again for 5 days. You also apparently get a slice of some profit-sharing that I only vaguely understand because I find such things tedious, even though they’re important.

I hesitated to take my book off Smashwords. They are great to indie authors, and they don’t ask for exclusivity. But sales had become non-existent, and I wanted to get some traction and exposure, that would be simple to run and not too time consuming. I took the book down and signed up for KDP Select. That was a mistake. I should have waited a couple of weeks because it takes a while for all of Smashwords’ partners to take down your book from their websites. KDP immediately sent me a warning. They have creepy crawlers out there, just looking for you to mess up.

When I was sure that I was in the clear, I went ahead and put the book up for free in March. It was great! Tons of downloads. Then, yesterday, because KDP has some kind of time constraint on when you can offer the Kindle Countdown Deal (the discount), I put the ebook up for 99 cents. Yay!

This afternoon, I got another robot-like email from KDP that “our records indicate that we previously informed you that submitting non-exclusive content to KDP Select is not acceptable and may result in loss of KDP Select benefits” and “as a result of repeat violations of the KDP Select exclusivity requirement, we have removed all of your books from the KDP Select program. Your titles remain available in the Kindle Store.”

WTF!?! (Deep, calming breaths. But why is it suddenly so hot in my brain???)

They sent a link (so helpful!) to the offending site, and sure enough, there’s my book on a French site—FNAC, actually, where I used to go shopping when I lived in Paris 20 years ago. How do I like them pommes? Not very much.

I contacted Smashwords about this, and got an immediate (human!) email response. They are going to work on getting this down, and they didn’t even call me a traitor for leaving them. Sniff, sniff!

Back on Amazon, my discount promo was taken down within an hour.

So, word to the wise, if you want to play with KDP, go ahead, but take advantage of KDP Select before you upload to Smashwords. Your iTunes, B&N, etc. friends will grumble, but it will definitely save your grief and time.

April 24th, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal

I’m putting on my retail cap to tell you that from now through April 30, 2014 (that’s a Wednesday), the Kindle version of The Flower Bowl Spell is only 99 cents. That’s 2 bucks off the regular price, a 67% discount. What a deal! So tell your friends to buy up and enjoy the wonders of Wiccan Memphis Zhang and her crazy supporting cast members.

Click here to go straight to The Flower Bowl Spell Amazon page. Happy reading!

October 9th, 2012

Blogging Today Only!

Just a quick shout to let you all know that I am guest blogging today on Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf as part of her There Are Witches in the Air October event. Find out how the Wiccan New Year served up inspiration for my novel’s heroine, Memphis Zhang.

All month long, Melissa is featuring novels about witches. How spooky is that? There’s also a chance to win a copy of The Flower Bowl Spell in eb00k form. I hope you’ll head over. Cheers, and happy reading…

 

Witchesintheair2

 

August 13th, 2012

Holding Pattern

Ever since I got back from a week of camping (bliss: no cell phone or Wi-Fi access!), I haven’t been writing, or promoting, or much of anything. I’ve been reading, trying to find a book that will hold my attention and get me jazzed, but that’s been tough too. As far as writing goes, I’m at a bit of a standstill. I finished a draft of a children’s chapter book, and my first readers (my kid and the husband) gave it a thumbs up. My writing group will critique it later this week, and I’m going to a workshop in a couple of weeks at Book Passage with Amy Novesky, so I hope to get some good insight there as well.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
What I Did on Summer Vacation

Here’s the brutal truth: sales have slowed way down on The Flower Bowl Spell. I know I can only hold myself responsible for that. Most sales have been to friends, family, and the occasional acquaintance. I doubt a total stranger has bought the book (not counting the freebies downloaded during E-book Week on Smashwords back in March). If I could “break in” to the stranger market—sounds weird, I know—then maybe sales would take off. But for now, I’m dialing back promotion because it hasn’t really paid off. I did two blog tours this summer, working my butt off writing guest blog posts and answering interview questions and visiting the host blogs. Yet there wasn’t a pick-up in book sales.

Consequently, at this point I can’t justify the cost (editing, book cover) it would take to put out a second book. I’m in a wait-and-see mode. A holding pattern.
Part of this limbo has to do with my non-author life. My kids are about to head back to school, which means soon there will be more of a routine in place for us all (although more stress as we navigate homework and after-school activities, among other things). Another part is my freelance-writer life, and thank goodness it’s alive and kicking to help with the bills, etc.

Things are bound to change—of course I want to put out a second book! Most likely it will be a short-story collection, because that’s what is the most ready and polished. I also hope to query agents about the children’s chapter book sooner than later. I would love for it to be out there, published by a traditional press that can support it as a series.

We shall see. Time will tell. It always does.

July 22nd, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour Update

There’s been a scheduling change to the last few days of my Bewitching Blog Tour, so I thought I’d just let you all know. Here is the rest of the schedule as of today:

July 22 Guest blog and review
A Chick Who Reads
http://achickwhoreads.blogspot.com

July 22 Guest blog and review
Black Hippie Chick’s Take on Books & The World
Http://blackhippiechick.wordpress.com

July 23 Interview
Mary’s Garden
http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com/

July 25 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit
http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com

July 30 Review
Books, Books, and More Books
http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.com/

Thanks, and please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested. I’m not sure how effective this has been as far as new sales go. There’s definitely been a lot of ebooks given away, and positive reviews but not many (any?) new sales. Is that over-sharing? If you’ve done a book blog tour, has it helped your books’ sales?

March 14th, 2012

Kobo Readers, anyone?

Thank you to all who downloaded a copy of The Flower Bowl Spell from Smashwords last week during Read an E-book Week. I really hope you enjoy reading the book, that it keeps you up at night thinking, Well, just one more chapter…

Since then, things have been quiet. I probably shouldn’t share this because it’s kind of negative, but I haven’t had one sale on Amazon this month! And I have no idea how things are going over at iBooks, B&N, etc. I do know the book is finally up at Kobobooks, so if you have a Kobo Reader, go for it! And to buy one, click here.

In the meantime, I am nearly done getting the book ready for the paperback version. So, so close. I hope to have it done before heading out with the family for Spring Break, but there’s also a giant freelance project looming over my head…and a little one…Ah, life!

February 24th, 2012

Last days at $0.99

Two things have been on the old noggin lately, with regard to this publishing thing. The first is about the price of my ebook. I’ve kept it at a low $0.99, but it’s come to my attention that there is a glut of these $0.99-ers out there that are, ahem, not of the greatest quality. Most are self-published with ugly covers, poor editing, and plot holes. I found this out because (second thing on the noggin) I’ve been trying to drum up interest from book bloggers to review The Flower Bowl Spell. I found a great blog—naturally—about book bloggers called The Book Blogger Directory, and it has been my main resource. So, going down the list, starting with those who like reading paranormal and urban fantasy books, I find that I’m stopped short almost immediately by the fact most of these bloggers are refusing to accept self-published books. At least one gave an explanation having to do with the reasons I already listed (crappy books) plus the fact that dealing directly with authors can be an unpleasant experience. Some bloggers have been “attacked” by authors after they received a poor or critical review.

Now, I totally understand the frustration of these bloggers. It is completely unacceptable to engage in any kind of threatening dialog with anyone, really. It’s unprofessional, and well, just plain crazy. But, as one other blogger pointed out, it’s not just indie authors who get defensive. Traditionally published authors are just as capable if they so desire in tracking down a reviewer and going off. So, those bloggers who are shutting out indie authors are really shutting out their chances of reading some possibly excellent fiction. Like mine. And that is where I as an indie author get frustrated. I knew it would be tough to get reviews. Remember, I did this 12 years ago, although I was querying the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, not Urban Fantasy Vixen blogging off of WordPress, or whatever. It ain’t easy to get a bite, it’s a ton of “leg work,” and much of it feeling like a frustrating waste of precious time, which is why I’ve begged everyone I know to write up reviews of the book (and yes, one person even gave it 4 instead of 5 stars on Amazon. That is OK! I want you to be honest.)

So, back to Thing One: An indie author pointed out on another book blog I found, called—surprise!—Book Blogs, that he has decided to set the price of his ebooks higher than the $0.99-ers to distinguish his work as being better—well-written, well-plotted, well-edited, with a pleasing-to-the-eye cover—and therefore worth the extra money (he was going with $1.99). I discussed this with my writing group, Kill Your Darlings, last night, and my esteemed colleague Mark pointed out that he agrees. “It’s kind of like iPhone apps,” he said. “The ones that are free are probably not as good as the ones that are $1.99, and even the $0.99 ones aren’t going to give you that much more than the free ones.”Like a a more expensive app, my soon-to-be higher-priced book will give the user/reader a better experience than a cheap one.

Tomorrow is the one-month publishing anniversary of The Flower Bowl Spell. To celebrate, I will raise the price to $2.99. So get it now, while it’s still a bargain!

February 7th, 2012

Olivia’s author interview with Dina Santorelli

Blogger Dina Santorelli, who is a fellow freelance writer working on a novel, posted her interview with me this morning on her blog, Making ‘Baby Grand,’ the Novel. I have been following this series of author interviews as well as Dina’s weekly writing tips, which I think are just so helpful. You can read my interview by clicking here. Cheers!

February 3rd, 2012

Premium Status and Kindle Love

The good news: The Flower Bowl Spell got Premium Status approval from Smashwords. Whoo hoo! [fist pump] That means they will ship it to Apple (iBooks/iPad/iPhones), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Sony (Sony eReader), Kobo, and Diesel for purchase through those channels.

The bad news: It won’t be up for sale at those places for two to three weeks. Boo hoo! [pout] Smashwords has the book in its shipping queue, they only ships on Thursdays and Fridays (today is Friday, and it didn’t ship), and then it takes another one to two weeks for the book to be available with those purveyors of fine e-lit.

The good news: You Nook, Kobo, and iPad users can upload the book NOW from Smashwords‘ website. You can then download it to your readers. You can find directions on how to do this here. Even Kindle users can do this, although I did upload it separately with a different ISBN (actually, it’s just Amazon’s ASIN, but what do you care really?), so Kindle users can get it NOW on Amazon.

Did I mention it’s 99 cents everywhere! That’s $0.99, in case you missed it the first time.

Next on the agenda: Uploading the paperback version to CreateSpace, wrestling with my website, and drumming up interest from readers/buyers other than my family and friends. Oh boy.

 

January 31st, 2012

Flower Bowl Spell up on Kindle

Mission accomplished! My goal back at the end of 2011, was to get The Flower Bowl Spell up for sale as an eBook in January, and I did just that. (Pat on the back.) The book went live on Amazon yesterday. I downloaded it, noticed a couple of glitches (e.g. my author photo wasn’t showing up), and got some help on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum. People  in the community were really great, patiently walking me through how to create a zip file on Word (I’ve often opened zip files, but never knew I could make one without special software. Sometimes I’m an unintentional Luddite).

Anyway, my next goal, to be accomplished in February, is to get the book on CreateSpace so those who don’t have eReaders can buy it. I’ll look into the Expanded Distribution plan, which means bookstores and libraries could order it too, as far as my understanding of it goes. Also, I’ll need to start promoting it, looking into book bloggers and reviewers who might give it a chance. If you know of a reviewer, website, blogger, etc., who might be interested, please share!

In the meantime, if you have already bought a copy, thank you so much! That’s $0.99 well spent, to be sure!