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!

March 24th, 2014

Underground Book Reviews

I’m happy to report that during the recent Kindle Free Promo last week, almost 3,200 copies of The Flower Bowl Spell were downloaded! Not all of these were from the United States and UK, although those were the two biggest supporters of this little adventure. What’s exciting is the fact there has been an uptick in “real” sales of the e-book version post-promo, not a huge amount, but a bigger surge than I’ve seen in many months.

Another exciting tidbit is that there’s a new review of the book on Underground Book Reviews, an online magazine written for and by indie authors. It’s always nice when someone approaches you about running a review or interview about your book, rather than chasing down the opportunities. I want to thank Candi Sary for shining a light on TFBS. I understand the magazine is pretty selective about the reviews they publish, and only posts one per week, so their site is nice and uncluttered. Check out Candi’s own award-winning novel, Black Crow White Lie, “the story of young Carson Calley who discovers he has the curious ability to heal people.”

Happy reading…and a Happy Monday to you as well.

 

March 16th, 2014

Free Book Promo for Kindle

Just a quick post to let you know that today is the first day of a 5-day promotion. Download a free copy of The Flower Bowl Spell to your Kindle. Already, the book has reached the #5 spot in the category of Free Books about Witches or Wizards, and #442 overall! That is pretty exciting. Thanks to those  who’ve downloaded a copy, and I hope you like it enough to leave feedback on Goodreads, on Amazon, or wherever you may roam.

 

March 9th, 2014

First Post of 2014 (Yeah, I Know It’s March)

Oh blog, I did not mean to forsake you. Simply, I have been busy avoiding you. Do I offend?

Whine time: Busy with freelance work, busy (sometimes, not often enough) writing or editing “real” work, family emergency, shepherding our 25-year-old cat to his next plane of existence, PTA, kids, blah blah blah.

But lately: I might have a piece or two in a new anthology due out in the near future. Exciting! Possibly a poem and/or a personal essay-story-memoir thing. More details soon…

And…

I might edit a friend’s picture book. (We’ll see. It’s nice to be asked.)

And…

A 6th grader might interview me  for a school assignment as I wear my Published Author hat…

And…

 The Flower Bowl Spell will soon be featured on the awesome online magazine Underground Book Reviews. I am too excited! They only review one book a week, so, whether it winds up being a positive review or a critical one, it’s nice to know they’re selective.

Seems more folks are checking out my blog, including those around the proverbial water cooler. One person asked me about progress on my latest project (which feels like a cracking of the whip), and another asked for advice about publishing his personal story with the help of a professional author. (It’s a juicy one. The story, not the author.) All of this means I need to be more on the ball with ye olde blogge.

And…here I am, rolling it along.

Happy Daylight Savings, folks! Must hup-two.

October 31st, 2013

It’s Nano Time!

Yesterday was kind of a landmark in the world of me. I finished a draft of my latest novel that seemed good enough to show someone other than my imaginary friend who follows me around all day. (Her opinion is one I don’t really trust—sometimes she’s like a hype man, other times…) Anyway, this is, I’d say, the fourth draft of this book I’ve been tinkering with on and off—mostly off—for ten years. It’s about two sisters who run a tearoom and their ups and downs in the romance department. I sent it off to my friend whose judgment I actually do trust—always important to have one of those.

Now I’m kind of dangling here. What should I do next? Well, it just so happens that tomorrow is the start of Nanowrimo. Honestly, I thought I’d miss it this year, that I would still be caught in the happy cloud of Nora and Rainey, the protagonists of the tearoom novel. So, I’m a tad thrown off to be at loose ends. There are plenty of them hanging about just begging to be tied up—like that prequel to The Flower Bowl Spell I’ve talked about. I do believe it’s time to give that a dusting off, just in time for November’s 50,000-word goal. Who’s with me? My Nano handle is livyink. Hope to see you there!

Oh, and have a happy and safe Halloween—and by safe, I mean, don’t pig out on too much candy. It’ll cause a rash.

 

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July 17th, 2013

Yes, I’m Still Here

Hard to believe it’s been over two months since I’ve posted. Trust me, my intentions have been to give some updates, but I seem to have forgotten how to write anything witty or interesting. Hang on…It’s coming back…I need brain yoga for creative flow!

There isn’t much on the book front, nothing really concrete that I’m ready to share, anyway. I’ll just be cagey and say I hope to have some good news soon…The Flower Bowl Spell got a really nice review from ForeWord Reviews online. Click here if you want to read it. Yes, I do write reviews for them too; however, we are all freelancers and I don’t personally know any of their other reviewers. Actually, this is what happened: I’d entered their Book of the Year Awards 2012 contest, but got disqualified since I write reviews (Should have figured that out, right?). They offered to do an online review instead. A total no brainer. I got some feedback from a few people who have read the review via Goodreads or on my blog, saying they would check out my book. Huzzah!

On the personal front, I went to my college reunion in May, and took my daughter with me. It was our first trip with just the two of us, and we had a lot of fun. We also visited friends and relatives on the East Coast so that was a bonus. In June, my family and I went to Hong Kong to visit more relatives and see the places my mother used to frequent in her formative years. Sweltering, muggy heat, but what are you gonna do?

 

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A conversation started at the American Girl Bistro outside Boston
(my daughter’s response: “Why would I tell you that?”)
HK skyline
The Hong Kong skyline
star ferryThe Star Ferry in Hong Kong

Summertime ushers my kids into camp and other fun activities. It also means some of my freelance gigs slow down, so I’ve spent more time getting some rough drafts into shape. Scrivener software has been more useful than I ever imagined. The tutorial was really helpful—I don’t think I could have just plunged in and started using it without going over that—but that’s just me.

I hope all of you are having a marvelous summer. And I promise not to let two months go by without any news. Pinky promise.

 

April 3rd, 2013

Above the Belt

Someone was snarky to me on Twitter recently. She was one of my “followers,” and I followed her as well—blindly, because, unless it’s porn-related, I will follow pretty much anyone. This explains my sudden popularity with Korean-language Tweeters.

I admit that I don’t have the thickest skin and I can be snarky, too. Not the greatest combo on the psyche. But I try to reel in the snark when it comes to those who aren’t in a place of power. Politicians, celebrities, the wealthy—I think they are kind of fair game. But me—I’m none of those things, so by my own rules, I should be left alone.

At the same time, I’m putting myself out there because I’m trying to be a successful author, to place my books into the hands of as many readers as possible via social media (it’s like a cheap, easy date). I know I’ve made myself vulnerable to some lunatics and just garden-variety grouches because of this, but that doesn’t mean I have to play along or engage in a flame war.

So, please (the magic word!), let’s try to keep things civil. Let’s be mature. And if you don’t have anything nice or constructive to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all.

Thanks to SweetClipArt.com for the image. Peace!

 Image courtesy of sweetclipart.com. Peace!

March 25th, 2013

Fun at the Fest

Thank you to all who came out to support the Noe Valley Authors Festival this past Saturday. I don’t have any stats, but St. Philip Parish Hall was crowded the entire afternoon. A special shout out to my Aunt Deetje and friend Hannah for coming out, and for buying books from local authors!

I sold a few books and did a book swap. I also raffled off a copy of my first novel Year of the Smoke Girl. My kids attended and, much to my surprise, sat quietly at my feet. OK, I admit, they were watching The Incredibles on the iPad. But it was in Mandarin! When they got squirrelly, my husband Paul ran them around. And he hung out the entire time too, chatting with authors and purchasing books.

 

Olivia Boler and Laura McHale Holland at the Noe Valley Authors Festival, 3/23/13
Me & Laura being bookish

I lucked out and got a spot next to my old Noe Valley Voice friend, Laura McHale Holland. She has two books, her childhood memoir Reversible Skirt and her flash fiction collection, The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song. Check them both out—you won’t be disappointed.

All in all, it was a great success. I was so pleased to see the huge number of local San Francisco authors, especially those publishing independently, and the great turnout of readers and fans. The energy in the room was fantastic. Let’s just say, I’m inspired.

March 3rd, 2013

Pour the House Wine

It’s so great to be in March. February was definitely a marathon, a brutal marathon. Maybe more like an ultra-marathon with endless days spent running for 26 to 40 miles with a pack of work and obligations on my back.

But March! March is a walk in the park. March is a leisurely hike. A stroll. Welcome, March.

And by the way, March 23, if you happen to be in San Francisco, I’ll be at the Noe Valley Authors Festival part of Word Week. Yes, I’ll have books for sale and I’ll be giving away candy and The Flower Bowl Spell bookmarks. If you buy my book at the Festival you’ll be entered in a raffle for a cool prize, TBD. The Noe Valley Authors Festival takes place at St. Philip the Apostle Church Hall at 725 Diamond Street, San Francisco, and goes from 2 to 5 p.m.

BTW, one awesome thing about February: I got to see my very good friend Siobhan Fallon, who was in town for a dramatic performance at Z Space Word for Word of two of the stories from her award-winning collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone. She also invited her good friend, middle grade author Anne Ylvisaker (Dear Papa, The Luck of the Buttons). Anne and I hit it off, which is great because it really is hard to find friends among writers, I don’t know why. (Insert snide joke about social awkwardness, backstabbing bastards, etc.)

Anne, Siobhan & Me at Z Space Word for Word
Anne, Siobhan, & Me at Z Space Word for Word

 

After the amazing and moving performance, Q & A with the directors and author, and book signing, we three ladies headed back to Siobhan’s sweet Union Square hotel. We got drinks at the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel, which was an interesting experience since it was packed to the gills with party people. The photo portraits on the walls lent the place a Haunted Mansion for Grown-ups feel. The three of us, writers with kids who are often cooped up alone with our work, had a ball, staying up late talking shop and life over glasses of wine.

I highly recommend nights like these.