Kindle Countdown Sale!

Mulraney_PENDRAGON_BOOK1_EbookEdition

For a limited time (9/24 to 9/30), you can get my YA fantasy novel, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon for just $0.99 at Amazon.com. (update: looks like it’s finally live…phew) As always, the book is free for members of Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime. Thanks and enjoy! šŸ˜€

Amazon Sweetens the Select Deal

But are they just making the rich, richer?

If you haven’t seen this post from Amazon about the new Select All-Stars program, I suggest you head over and take a look, especially if your books are in KDP Select. Essentially, Amazon needed an additional $2.7 million (on top of the standard $2 million), just to get August’s KU/KOLL borrows payout to $1.54. They had to more than double the pot, and it still came out almost $0.50 below the average for the last two years!

In addition, they’ve installed an All-Star program for the Top 100 books and authors per month who are in the Select program. The numbers look amazing, but when it comes down to it, Amazon is simply rewarding those who are already successful. And, if these top authors are then further thrust into additional spotlight, what chance does it give to anyone else wanting to break into the top? Are they just making it better for those who already have it good?

As always, the folks over at kboards are already heatedly debating the possible issues. šŸ˜‰

What do you think? Good for the author or bad for the author?

Foul Language

Censored

I recently received a 1-star review of my suspense/thriller, Multiples of Six, because there’s “foul language” on the first page. It created some discussion in the comments section of the review about whether it was legitimate for someone to review a book after only reading one page. Especially when they could have previewed the book without buying it (though it was free this week) and discovered the same thing. I’m not here to discuss that and I don’t wish to condone any sort of retaliation against the reviewer (though, judging by her other reviews, her main purpose is to point out foul language in books). Honestly, I’m a bit tickled by the review. That kinda thing makes me laugh and a part of me is sorta glad it’s there (besides, I’ve racked up eight 5-star reviews of the same book this week). What I’m really interested in discussing is the use of colorful language in writing and why I believe it’s necessary in certain circumstances.

I write my adult fiction under a pen name (Andy Rane) for a reason. I don’t want my YA readers reading that content. It’s not meant for kids. It’s not particularly violent. It’s not gory either. But, a few of the characters use rough language. Why? Because that’s a reality of life. Ever worked in a factory? I did. I learned a lot of colorful adjective combinations during my brief stint. Now, I’ve spent most of my career working in offices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the language cleans itself up. Sure, it’s not factory speak, but it’s not uncommon, in my workplace at least, to hear an occasional f-bomb dropped in a meeting. We’re all adults.

What I didn’t learn on the factory floor, or at the construction site, or in the high school gym locker, or… you name it, I learned from my father-in-law. A Vietnam vet, his use of profanity is legendary. He drops a dirty “C” like it’s nobody’s business (a word, even in fiction, I’m loathe to use). Now, if you happen to live in a world where no one swears, good for you. I can tell you that it probably means they’re doing it behind your back. Either way, I don’t write stories about that world. In my YA stories, I certainly keep it pretty clean. There are no f-bombs allowed, but damn, dammit, crap, and maybe even an occasional bastard are fair game. In my adult fiction, I like myĀ characters to feel asĀ real as possible and, at least in my world, real people swear. Some real people love to swear and so do some of my characters.

I know you have an opinion on this subject! Feel free to let meĀ know in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by!

Amazon Releases Utility for Creating Illustrated Children’s Books

KindleKids

From Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing yesterday:

Starting today, you can use Kindle Kids’ Book Creator to create illustrated children’s books for Kindle, taking advantage of features like text pop-ups. Here’s how to get started:

1. Download the tool, and you can convert individual illustrations into interactive books for both Kindle devices and free reading apps.
2. Once your book is ready, export the file and upload it to KDP.
3. Set the book category, age range, and grade range to help customers find the right books for their kids.

Want to learn how to prepare, publish, and promote illustrated and chapter books for children? Check out the new KDP Kids for more information.

So, while folks have been publishing children’s picture books through KDP since the program began, the hurdles to getting there were significant. Now, the path should at least be a little more streamlined.

What do you think? Something you’ll use?

Wow… BookBub… Wow

That’s pretty much all I can say. As you might have seen yesterday, I ran a BookBub ad for book #1 in my suspense thriller series (Multiples of Six by Andy Rane). The first book was released back in 2011 and did reasonably well over the years (~1200 actual sales). But, being a slow writer, I saw little to no response when I released book #2 in the series, nearly 2.5 years later. I then went on a run of failed BookBub submissions. I’d gone down the free road with Multiples in the past. I’d probably given away just over 20k copies of that book prior to yesterday. So, in my mind, it only made sense to run a sale promotion instead of a free promotion. I wanted my $0.99, darn it! Well, it wasn’t to be, and after countless rejections, I finally asked for a free run. Apparently, I just had to say the magic word (free!) and that would’ve gotten me in long ago (kidding, but it kinda felt like that). Finally, the BookBub folksĀ relented and let me into the pool.

I decided to add anĀ incentive to buy book #2 in the series by lowering that book’s price, in a Kindle Countdown Sale, fromĀ $2.99 toĀ $1.99. The joy of the Countdown is that you still get your regular royalty rate, even if your sale price is less than $2.99. So, I would make $1.39 on each copy of the sequel that sold. This was going to be how I recouped the BookBub fee (US$250 for a free thriller). That meant I would need to sell ~180 copies to break even.

I’m a closet optimist. I wear the pessimists mask in public, but I’ve always got high hopes, no matter what. But even I was leaning toward pessimism on this one. I thought the exposure would be good, but I held out no hopes of getting some of the kinds of numbers that romance authors see on a regular basis (a 40k free run is very common for romance, from what I’ve seen). I’m happy to say that my fears were alleviated by midday on Tuesday. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In preparation for this week, I had notified several sites of my book going free (Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today, to name a few). So, I was pleased when I cleared 400 copies of Multiples on Monday alone, with 11 sales of Divisible. Eleven down, 169 to go! Not sure where they came from, as I couldn’t find a major site listing my book, but it was a nice start and pushed me up to just over #1000 in the free store by late Monday. My expectations at that point were at least to get into the Top 100 Free list on Amazon. Knowing BookBub’s past successes, I thought I could get that far.

Then I woke up Tuesday morning to a surprise. At 7:24, Multiples was already at #610 on the Free list. I watched the numbers climb slowly during the morning, despite telling myself I wouldn’t keep checking. What can I say? I’m weak. I was really waiting to see what happened when I got the suspense/thriller email from them. It arrived around the same time it normally does, at least for me; ~11:45 AM. That was when things got crazy. Like, stupid crazy.

It was so torrid for a while that the rankings couldn’t catching up. Two hours after I’d received my email, I’d crossed the 20,000 unitĀ mark. Amazon was still saying it was rankedĀ higher than it should have been. I left the house and my KDP dashboard behind for a while in the afternoon. If it was this crazy during the afternoon, what would happen as evening approached? When I returned, I saw what I could have only hoped to see.

Number 1 in Kindle Store-2

Multiples was the #1 free book in the entire Kindle Store. No categories to get in the way. Just #1 overall. It’s 11:08 PM Tuesday evening as I write this bit. I have given away 44,718 copies of Multiples of Six, and sold 379 copies of its sequel, Divisible by Six. It’s now 11:38, and I’m entering this into WordPress. In theĀ half hour that’s elapsed, the numbers are now 45,190 and 382. 472 books in 30 minutes. And that’s slowing down! Oh yeah, and I made my ad fee back… and then some. šŸ˜‰

As I polishĀ up this post on Wednesday morning, the ride isn’t quite done, but we’re on that slow coast back into the station. Tuesday’s grand total for book #1, according to Amazon, was 47,295. I’m not sure where their cutoff for the day is, but I’m guessing 12 AM PT. Today, I’ve added another 1641 copies in the wee hours, giving me a 60 hourĀ total of 49,343. Oof! Book #2 fared well overnight and reached 409 units sold on Tuesday. Another 16 have sold this morning, giving me a 60-hour total of 434. Multiplied by $1.39 = ~$603. Not bank-breaking by any means, but not too shabby either.

Multiples of Six is still #1 on the free list as I post this. Later, however, someone else’s book will appear on BookBub and more than likely push me out of the way. Sure, I’ll get some play for a few days. My sale lasts until the 5th on both books. But the rocket to the top is over. Looking at Monday’s BookBub freebie, Jackpot by Susan Fleet, it’s stillĀ at #14 on the Free list. I’ll have to see where I stand in 24 hours. For now, though, I’m just excited to see how long the tail end lasts. At this point, it’s not unrealistic to expect overĀ 55k total giveaways, possibly more. The ‘Bub turned out to be everything I had imagined it could be. Now, as my wife said, “Guess you’d better get your ass in gear on book #3, huh?” Yes dear!

If you’ve got any questions about my experience with BookBub, IĀ hope you’ll askĀ them in the comments below. No secrets here! Or, if you’ve had experience yourself, please feel free to share! Thanks for stopping by. šŸ™‚

Thank you BookBub!

Number 1 in Kindle Store

#1 Overall Free in the Kindle Store

The day is young and my suspense thriller is sitting at #1 Free in the entire store! Wow… behold the power of the ‘bub. šŸ˜‰

As of 4:20 PM Eastern, I’ve given away 28,443 copies of Multiples. And I’ve sold 240 copies of Divisible, its sequel, which covers the cost of the ad.

Oh, and I get a bonusĀ 1-star review because of foul language on the first page. Sigh! At least future readers will know if they read the reviews. I think I smell a future blog post topic! šŸ˜€

The morning after

After weeks of prepping for the launch of my latest book, I have to admit to always having a bit of a launch hangover the day after. After watching for sales all day yesterday, I feel a little let down. I had high hopes but, as usual, they were a bit too high for the first day. Of course, we all want our babies to go out into the world and be received with open arms. I was very pleased that one of the blog visitors who had asked for a review copy was able to post a very kind review. However, day 1 sales were… mediocre to say the least; 3 copies sold. :-/ It’s times like these I have to remember the advice I give to others: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Time to shake off the post-launch excitement hangover and move on to the next book.

So, what did I learn this time around? Pre-orders aren’t for me. At least not yet. I used the pre-order feature this time and got none. This could be attributed to the fact that this is my first official YA book. I don’t exactly have a lot of readers under my belt as far as that goes. No one was waiting with bated breath for this book. šŸ˜‰ Maybe I’ll use it again, but I saw no benefit this time around.

On an up note, someone (meaning, some blog or freebie notification service) must’ve picked up my suspense/thriller (Multiples of Six by Andy Rane) yesterday because I’ve given away over 450 copies already and todayĀ is my BookBub ad! Woot!

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Now, if only that said “Paid” instead of “Free.” šŸ˜€

Happy Book Birthday!

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It’s been a long time coming, but Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is now live and available for purchase through Amazon. It’s a fun story that I’ve really been excited to work on and refine for publication. If you’ve been following along this summer, I’m sure you’ve heard me ramble on about it. I hope it’s the first of many good books I want to produce in the YA for boys vein (though I think girls will enjoy this story as well). I look forward to getting it out into the wild and continuing my work on its sequel… the next book you get to hear me ramble on about… Danny Dirks and the Heir of Mordred. Thanks for all of your past and continued support.

P.S. Sharing this news with your friends and colleagues would be the greatest gift you could give my book on its birthday. Thanks! šŸ˜‰