Now We’ll See What Happens…

… although I have to say I’m not expecting anything positive to happen.

For the last five days my fantasy anthology of thirty interlinked tales (above) has been on offer for free. It wasn’t selling. So to give it any chance of being read, I did what I said I’d never do – give it away!!!

It says a hell of a lot about people, when fifty-one of you who didn’t want to support all my hard work by paying for it, got yourselves a free copy. Unfortunately this scenario is fast becoming the norm when it comes to ebooks.

So, if your conscience is bothering you now, do two things – read it from cover to cover. Then write a review and post it on the Amazon outlet you got it from. Don’t just file and forget it!!!

I have one hundred and eighty ebooks currently sitting in my Kindle for PC app on this laptop. I’ve read every one of them. Many of them several times. Guess what, I’ve reviewed them as well.This is how you should behave when it comes to ebooks in particular!

With the exception of eight that were given to me by their authors I’ve bought every one of them. If you haven’t figured it out yet – unlike fifty-one of you, I’m not a cheapskate…

Bah humbug

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This is the aspect of publishing I hate…

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… particularly when you see your new book already on the slippery slope to oblivion while you wait for sales…

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I took delivery of six copies of my latest work yesterday, to hand out to friends here in the UK. I also took part in an advertising gimmick from Amazon to offer three people the chance to get themselves a free copy. While they were free to the recipients, they certainly weren’t to me. Not at US$11.40 each they weren’t!!! Was I ripped off by Amazon? Yes! will I be doing it again? No!

So far the only sales have occurred via CreateSpace. As yet my countrymen and women, the very people I wrote it for, as it’s our history, have yet to step up to the plate. What does that say about UK readers? From my point of view, not a lot…

As for actual sales, excluding the six copies I bought, so far the number stands at nine. Hardly riveting figures I grant you. But that’s still better than zero. Now if only people here would get their backsides into gear and buy themselves a copy. Meantime all I can do now is wait. I’ve never been any damned good at it, despite often being told to be patient! Oh, and the other old chestnut – hurry up and wait…

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Thank goodness the promotion is over!

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What many of today’s readers conveniently forget, or are wholly ignorant of, is the fact that getting your hands on a free copy of any book is a privilege, not a right!

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To that end, the one time only five day promotion for this book ended at midnight California Time – that’s 8am this morning, here in the UK. From now on, if you want a copy you will have to open your wallet, set the moths free, and spend money buying it like everybody else.

Here are the two main links – Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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The following is the breakdown of the free copies taken:

Amazon US – 46

Amazon UK – 5

Amazon Germany – 2

Amazon Japan – 1

Amazon India – 3

The burning question now is how many of the fifty-seven free copies will actually be read, let alone reviewed? I’ll know the answer when I see movement on KDP’s Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, along with any review posted on the book’s relevant Amazon page.

For your information, 170 pages equals one copy of the book read. So I’ll know exactly how many of you actually bothered to read it. Back in the real world, past experience dictates that the numbers of pages read, and the reviews, will be pitifully low. So how about proving me wrong for a change. After all I gave you a free copy out of the goodness of my heart. So now its time for you to do the decent thing by me in return, don’t you think? Read and review it!!!

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Definitely a wood for the trees moment?

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This post follows on from the other day – https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/a-message-to-the-slackers/ where one of the commenters (Ken Thackerey) questioned my thoughts on reviews being the author’s only real means of knowing how many people actually read a free copy of a book. He got me thinking further on the subject.

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Why do some books become best sellers? Is it the fact that the author promoted their book, hoping for sales, by initially giving it away once it was published? Perhaps it’s because the author publicised it on every book and social media site, not to mention their blog? Could it be because the author let it sit for a while in preorder mode, prior to publication? Maybe its the cover? Maybe its the fact that it was edited by a professional, or that a lot of money was spent having it promoted? Each one of them is standard practice, and yes they all help. But only up to a point. Might it have anything to do with genre? Not necessarily.

Then the penny finally dropped. It’s none of them or any combination you care to come up with. I’ll tell you why some books succeed while the rest don’t. It’s only taken me twenty years to finally figure it out. Call it a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees if you like. It’s blindingly obvious once you see it. The answer was staring me in the face all the time from the books in my library. It’s in yours too.

In this day and age, no matter the genre, or how much time and effort you put into bringing that story to life to make it stand out from the crowd, what any book needs is reviews. It doesn’t matter how good the story might be. Nor does it matter how eye-catching the cover is, or how much money was spent on having it promoted. To become popular, and therefore by osmosis, to be considered a best seller, if it doesn’t have glowing reviews prior to publishing, quite simply you are wasting your time. I’m not talking about those written by the general public after a book is published. Instead I’m talking about presale reviews.

Look at the cover of any book coming out of any traditional publishing house. Whether the author is a known quantity or a newcomer, all trad publishers ensure that each book they put out receives a smattering of excellent reviews prior to publishing, one or two on the front cover. Others inside after the title page, and maybe one on the back cover along with the author’s bio. It’s simplicity itself when you think about it.

What about Indies? Does this apply to them as well? Emphatically yes. I known what I’ll be doing with my next novella or novel before I publish it. Oh, and no more free samples…

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A Message To The Slackers

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If you get a free copy of any book, it behoves you to at least read it!

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Unfortunately for independant writers, the downright miserly of this world will never deign to purchase a copy of anything you write. Instead they wait for a free copy to become available. Which brings me to the free giveaway of my latest scifi novella last month. So far out of the one hundred and five free copies of The Guardian taken up, it has received a grand total of five reviews – two five star, two four star and one three star. Does that mean that only five people read it? You could be forgiven for thinking so.

I can just hear the weak-willed apologists right now saying something like “ah but they probably have it on their TBR lists. Besides, reading a book, let alone reviewing it, is not compulsory.” To which I would readily reply, “in that case why did you help yourself to a free copy of the book?” I would go further by pointing out that good manners and common decency demand that you must read and review it.

On the odd occasion when I do read a free book, even those I beta read for other writers, I always review them without fail. Yes I have a TBR list, but when I owe someone the courtesy of reading and reviewing, I get on with it! Think about it, how else will any author know if their books are being read? Book sales figures don’t tell you.

Five out of one hundred and five definitely have read it. Its high time the rest of you got your backsides into gear. You know who you are, so please read and review it, preferably during the next two weeks! I gave it to you for nothing. So you owe me…

At the moment on Amazon USย The Guardian sits at 2066th place in its genre (Science Fiction), while here in the UKย The Guardian is placed at 1020th. What does that tell you?

I know what it tells me. The Guardian aint dead yet.

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What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

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Only everything!!!

The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand they must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!

Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that particular subject – Taylor Swift!!! We need someone like her to stand up for the largely toothless contributing authors of this world…

Thanks to Amazon belabouring the fact that eBooks are electronic files, the concept of never paying for any eBook written by an Indie has become the norm. How many of you feel guilty about reading that eBook you got for nothing? More to the point, how many of those free eBooks you downloaded, have you actually read, let alone reviewed?

Doesn’t it bother you that the eBook’s author invested several months, or in some cases, years writing it? If not, it damned well should!

It’s high time you all grew a conscience and put yourselves in the author’s place for once. After all, would you go into work if you knew that you would not receive a salary for your hard work? Of course you wouldn’t!

More fool us for loving the written word, to the point where we sweat blood like you wouldn’t believe to bring you that latest book. Common decency demands that we are owed monetary recompense for all our hard work in the form of royalties, no matter the price of the book in question.

Unfortunately these days most Indies are lucky if their titles sell in the dozens per annum. Thanks to Amazon’s penny pinching change in how they pay royalties, known as KENPR or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, combined with your own equally selfish attitude towards the product of our labours, if any writer thinks they will become rich these days, they’re seriously kidding themselves. We’re no different to you in that we need money to survive, but thanks to Amazon and uncaring people like you, 99.999% of Amazon’s Indie authors consider themselves lucky if they make maybe a couple of hundred dollars (US) yearly from writing.

Remember this tightwads – authors never receive royalties from those free copies you all greedily help yourselves too.

PS – if you agree with me, reblog this!!!

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From now on it’s entirely in your hands!!!

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The one and only chance anyone had to get themselves a free copy of my latest scifi novella The Guardian, is at an end. As I mentioned in the previous post read here,ย at the end of its promotional period I said I would give the story its final edit. Well I did. Yesterday (Monday) I uploaded the totally error free version to Smashwords, Creatspace and KDP, prior to it coming online at full price.

How do I know it’s error free? Trust me, if it contained so much as a single error Smashwords would have immediately rejected it. When it comes to quality control they are extremely particular, more so than Creatspace or KDP even know how to be!

To buy your eBook copy in the format of your choice on Smashwords click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.comย  click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.co.uk click here

With so many new books coming out daily, it came as no surprise to me whatsoever how few free copies were actually downloaded. The days of a free copy of any book in a promotion being taken up in its hundreds or even the low thousands are well and truly over thank goodness. Inย The Guardian’s case, over the five day period one hundred and five free Kindle copies were taken. If you are interested in sales statistics, here is its final rating at the end of the promo.

Amazon.com rating:

#27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

#1517 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction

Amazon.co.uk rating:
#7,003 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#21 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

In Amazon.com’s case the best it placed was nineteenth in the top one hundred free list. In Amazon.co.uk’s case it achieved even better at sixteenth.

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Well that’s it. I can do no more, except to continue advertising it on numerous social media sites, and here on my blog from time to time. Now its fate is in your hands. You need to read and review it. If you don’t, it will wind up among the millions of unread books out there. Even if science fiction, or in this case – erotic science fiction, isn’t necessarily your bag, the very least you can do is to help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by uploading the above links on your Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as any other’s you may contribute too. Plus, don’t forget to recommend it to a friend.

PS – If you do decide to follow Chris-The Story Reading Ape’s example (thanks Chris, much appreciated) by writing a review, please make sure that you post it separately on the Amazon site for your country as well as Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, both on the Kindle and paperback versions. Why? Because any review posted on Amazon.com does not automatically get added to the Amazon site you purchased your Kindle or paperback copy from in your respective countries, and vice versa. While you are at it, don’t forget to add your review on Smashwords (click on the link above) as well pretty please.

PPS – now its high time this writer took a much needed rest until next year.

Thanks

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All Writers Crave Feedback

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When it comes to meaningful dialogue with our readers it rarely if ever happens, more’s the pity. We writers need the connection. All a review ever tells us is that the individual responsible for it either loved or hated the book in question.

Most writers like myself have a blog like this one where you can leave comments below a post, and a Facebook page where you can voice your thoughts in person on any book written by us, should you choose to do so. Or if you want, we can just chat about something else entirely. The point is that by chatting, we get to know each other, hopefully forging a lasting friendship.

Like you, every writer is plagued with the typical faults, passions and emotions that all human beings share. Some are known to hold strong views on varying subjects. Don’t let that necessarily put you off talking to any of us. We’re not ogres.

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Now a word to the wise, so please pay attention!

With book sites like Amazon, we are well aware of the inevitable one star reviews, often written by other writers hiding behind pseudonyms. And so, unless you have just landed on planet Earth within the last half hour, by now you will have noticed that my latest offering is now in its second free Kindle download giveaway day.

Here’s the rub. I fully expect it to gain endless one star reviews as a consequence. That always happens when a book is given away in any promotion. To that end I would remind anyone who has taken advantage of the offer, that you did get it for nothing. Therefore if you feel the uncontrollable urge to write a cutting review of your free copy, don’t! No one likes an ungratful smart-arse. Peversity on your part will hardly endear you to others, now will it. For the majority, please feel free to write your reviews and post them on whichever Amazon site you downloaded it from.

Lastly, I’m well aware that there will be errors. All books have them. Once the promotional period is over I will take it down temporarily to search them out before uploading the corrected version.

As they say in America – have a nice day.

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Self Publishing versus Traditional

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When it comes to competing in the eBook market, without exception, all Indie writers struggle to keep their heads above water. While my efforts sell relatively well each month via Amazon.com, when it comes to the Amazon outlet here in the UK, the same cannot be said. All you have to do is look at the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store List as well as the Top 100 Free in Kindle Store List to see what the UK based Indie is up against.

The former list is mostly inhabited by traditionally published writers like Bernard Cornwell – Sharpe’s Rifles, or David Boyle – Allan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma. As for the free list, you are once again in competition with the likes of Messrs Cornwell and Boyle and a whole host of others, none of them Indies.

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I offered Goblin Tales for free from last Wednesday 3rd December, until yesterday, Friday 5th of December. As usual the greater number of free copies were taken via Amazon.com – 80. Compare that with 31 here in the UK, 13 in Germany, 3 in Japan, 1 in India, 3 in Canada, 1 in Brazil and 3 in Australia. It would have been nice if the figures were for bought copies. Whatever the case may be, the figures above don’t lie. This is a fairly typical worldwide spread for me when it comes to give aways. The really interesting thing is when I look at actual sales, so far its just 1 via Amazon.com and 1 via Amazon.co.uk.

Why didn’t I publicise the fact that it was free? There is no need these days. The ‘Get It For Free Brigade’ are always trawling the Amazon eBook list for their next free book.ย These are people who don’t believe in paying for the priviledge of reading your book, preferring to wait until it becomes free. Whether or not they actually read them is an entirely different matter. It’s as if somehow or other these individuals perceive the Indie as not a real writer, just because we are not published by a major publishing house, therefore why should they actually buy a copy of your book(s).

No Indie can fight that peculiar kind of mindset, especially here in the UK, meaning that even giving away copies is difficult. Had I conducted the give away from today (Saturday) through to Monday, undoubtedly more free copies would have been taken. But the figures would remain in the same proportions. As far as the literary establishment of this country is concerned, Indies are lower in the food chain than pond scum. Plus this is a nation that still likes to hold a book in their hands and not an eReader.

All I can say is, thank goodness for the enlightened US market, and countries like New Zealand and others who buy through it. As you saw above, actual worldwide sales for Goblin Tales, are practically non existant. Not to worry, once a few more people have read their free copy, hopefully its sales will pick up if they liked it and spread the word.

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Click on the picture below to go to my Amazon. com Author Page

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Click on the picture below to go to my Amazon.co.uk Author Page

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