The following just arrived in my email from Book Marketing Tools. I think it contains excellent analysis and information.
The following just arrived in my email from Book Marketing Tools. I think it contains excellent analysis and information.
It’s finally here! The final chapter to the Peers of Beinan Series! Released on 1st February, 2015, Princess Anyu Returns tells the story of Princess Anyu’s exile on D425E25 Tertius and of her return home to Beinan to face the murderous and very treacherous Lord Yelu. In this scene from chapter two, Enter Anyu Wen, you are treated to a Firefly-influenced opening followed by the introduction of a very dangerous alien.
Music filled Anyu’s ears as she wandered the mall, light, rhythmic and sweet with the familiar sound of shawms and flutes. As if in a dream of the home she knew existed no more, Anyu drifted towards the sound. In the center of a large open space near an escalator, a small troop of performers dressed very much like Beinarians danced and played the sweet music. Recognizing the dance, Anyu put everything down and joined the forming circle. Memories swelled. Her feet knew the steps, transporting her and surprising the performers while the crowd of shoppers applauded. As the song ended, she disappeared, collecting her belongings once more. One of the dancers, a man with brown eyes, jet black hair, and apricot skin followed her, “Who are you?”
Anyu turned and faced him, “I beg your pardon?”
“You appeared and disappeared as if from nowhere. I have never seen you before, yet you knew the steps to our dance.”
“Everyone knows that dance,” remarked Anyu casually.
“Not in this time and place, they do not,” countered the man.
Comprehension filled Anyu, “Ah! You must be of this Society for Creative Anachronism that people told me about!”
“I am. My name is Seo-jun.”
“It suffices. So what are you doing here?”
“Shopping. New dress,” motioned Anyu at the fabric of her dress.
Seo-jun raised an eyebrow, “With a heavy pack like that and a basket of food?”
“Sure, why not?”
Seo-jun’s eyes changed from brown to metallic blue, his voice lowering, “You are not from around here. As a matter of fact, you are not from anywhere near here – not even this galaxy.”
Anyu tensed and instinctively raised her hand to her hip, forgetting for the xiao-shir that her sword was buried in her pack, “Who are you?”
Seo-jun grabbed her arm, “Let us take a walk, Princess!”
Seo-jun dragged Anyu to the parking lot outside of the mall. Forcing her onto the back seat of his black two door Ford Fiesta sedan, he threw her belongings into the car hastily, spilling out one of the kolaches from its basket. Suddenly a dark-haired and grey-eyed man wearing white trousers, a white t-shirt, and white linen blazer leapt out from behind a nearby station wagon, his laser épée humming fiercely, “Let her go!”
Seo-jun laughed, “Why? You cannot harm me!” To prove his point, Seo-jun concentrated; the doors on the sedan locked with a loud click. Anyu tried to pry open the locks; they would not budge.
Understanding her life was in danger she quickly found her sword and drew it from her pack as the man stepped towards Seo-jun with his laser épée. Closing his eyes and controlling his breath, the locks flew open. Anyu rolled onto the ground to safety. Lifting a finger, the stranger threw all of Anyu belongings out of the car including the stray kolache which rolled in its protective plastic sandwich bag until it hit Anyu’s pack as Anyu found her feet.
The man with the épée advanced on Seo-jun, “You will leave this world, Seo-jun.”
Seo-jun sneered, “And who will make me? You?”
“If I must,” confirmed the man, raising his épée and planting his feet firmly to attack.
“Your powers of mind are limited. Your powers of flesh are even more limited. When can your kind ever defeat us?” guffawed Seo-jun.
“Perhaps I will die trying,” offered the man.
Anyu raised her sword, taking a defensive position with her strange benefactor, “If he dies, he does not die alone!”
“I did not come here for you, Princess. But if you wish to die too, I can arrange that. Pity though; you are worth so much more to me alive – unlike your friend here,” frowned Seo-jun.
“Come now, what would Lady Laela think if she heard you talk that way? You cannot simply dispose of her favourite pet without provoking her wrath!” cried the stranger sarcastically, his feet instinctively falling into the ritualized martial arts forms of the knights of Gurun. Anyu smiled, recognizing the steps from countless lessons by Lady Knight Aldris of the knights of Gurun, her feet gliding into complimentary forms in accord with the Gurun style of fighting. Their two swords – one heritage and one modern – seemed to dance joyfully as they met each other’s eyes. Two complete strangers yet suddenly comrades in arms.
Undaunted, Seo-jun rolled his eyes, half amused at the irony of a man from the past wielding the modern weapon while the adolescent daughter of Beinan’s conquered queen wielded a heritage sword. It was, from a larger perspective, downright comical while being, from another point of view, rather heroic. “You both surely must realize how useless both your weapons are against me.”
“That has yet to be seen,” challenged the stranger. “I have never actually attacked one of your species before – but since you obviously are intent on taking one or both of us to Lord Yelu, I see little incentive to not at least try.” In affirmation, the stranger lunged at Seo-jun with his blade, much to Seo-jun’s annoyance.
Seo-jun deflected the blade with a wave of just one finger, “I am no longer amused.” Anyu, unaffected by Seo-jun’s telekinesis, glided closer, cutting her blade down and slicing ever so slightly into his shoulder. A few drops of black blood spilled onto the ground, sizzling against the payment acidly. Seo-jun faced her, his eyes like blue flames, “Unwise!”
Just as Seo-jun was about to throw Anyu into a nearby car with his mind, he observed several native humans approaching their position, obviously attracted by the noise. A man wearing the navy blue uniform of the State College police department approached cautiously, his firearm drawn. Seo-jun’s eyes changed back to their brown disguise. Stepping back towards his sedan, he opened the door, “Very well then, since this place is far too crowded for my taste, let us defer this conversation for another beinor. I trust you will make peace with your goddesses by then. I would hate to see your soul trapped around this world.” Sitting down in the sedan, Seo-jun closed the door, engaged the internal combustion engine, and drove away.
Relieved, the stranger stepped out around a car to turn off his laser épée out of sight of the police officer. Anyu pulled her sword sheath out of her pack, “What just happened?”
“I would think that would be obvious,” answered the stranger as the police officer reached them.
“State College police,” announced the officer. “Are you okay?”
Anyu looked at the officer and offered a respective bow, “Yes! Yes we are – thanks to you!” The police officer tipped his cap politely before turning back, unwilling to get more involved than absolutely necessary. Anyu turned once more to the stranger, “Well, now that’s over – did you know that Seo-jun creature?”
‘I do; I did,” admitted the stranger as he re-joined Anyu.
“Who is he? Perhaps more importantly who are you?”
“That is a long story – to both questions. I am not entirely certain I know who you are – except that you are not of this world. Why did he call you ‘princess?’”
“I do not know how you know I am not of this world – but he called me ‘princess’ because I am the daughter of my people’s reigning sovereign queen.”
The stranger took off his watch, “This looks like an ordinary multi-function time piece such as local men of wealth wear – but it is not.” Demonstrating, he tapped the surface of the timepiece rapidly three times. The display changed. “As I hope you know, all life on this world is kol-based, not silizium-based like we are. This function scans for silizium-based life. That is how I found both Seo-jun and you, actually. All three of us are silizium-based. But beyond that – all I can tell is that Seo-jun appears to be after both of us – not just me.”
“That name – Lady Laela – sounds familiar. Who is she?”
“Assuming these readings are correct and you come from B345A15 Quartus, also known as planet Beinan?”
“Yes, that is my home world.”
“Mine as well. Have you ever been to the castle temple of Abka Biya overlooking the Amba Mederi Ocean in Bira Hecen?”
“Do you remember a strange woman with metallic blue eyes who takes care of the temple’s observatory?”
“Vaguely – she did something – scanned me perhaps? I came to the temple to seek refuge from strange dreams I was having. She said I was seeing someone I knew in another life – someone named Janus who I later came to recognize as the same soul as this Lord Yelu the Bastard who has no doubt overthrown the Gurun dynasty.”
“Precisely. That is Lady Laela.”
“You know her?”
“Better than you do – and so does Seo-jun.”
“Who is he?”
“A very dangerous person from an ancient race – Lady Laela’s race actually. We first met them – we call them ‘The Amur’ – during the Great Migration. Woe to all Beinarians that beinor ever came.”
“My name is Anyu – Lady Engineer Anyu.”
“You are both a princess and an engineer?”
“Yes. You find that strange lord…”
“The locals call me ‘Christopher.’”
“That is not your name.”
“Why give me an alias?”
“I will tell you my birth name – in time. This is hardly the place to discuss our world.”
“I have a home in town where we can talk more privately – it is not far from here.”
“Lead the way!”
Good morning authors. If you are like me, you probably received an email from www.booklinker.net regarding their viewbook.at universal linking service:
“You may have noticed that BookLinker short-links are currently displaying brief rich-media advertisments before redirecting to your content.
This is because Amazon Associates are withholding affiliate income from us; effectively forcing us to display these ads in order to meet our ongoing costs.
Sales are unlikely to be affected, but if you would like to continue using our service *completely ad-free*, we are offering a new premium plan, costing 10 GBP per month.”
The email concludes with a request for me to sign up for the premium plan with no further details about the plan, what the plan includes, or how it works, nor was there any information on booklinker.net website*.
Based just on the information available to me, I interpret the above to mean that for every viewbook.at or related link you use for your books, you owe booklinker £10 — that is about $16 PER LINK — or your customers will be subjected to their very annoying advertisements blocking their connection to your books which will, naturally, cost YOU sales because no one wants that sort of intrusive spam.
As an author with ten, soon to be twelve, book titles, this amounts to paying them over £100 per month just to use their universal links to Amazon sites.
I don’t know about you, but I can think of better ways to spend that kind of money per month than just convenience links that direct customers to the correct version of Amazon for their countries.
Therefore as of today, I will no longer use viewbook.at links. There are competing companies to viewbook.at and of course, marketing strategies that do not involve universal links. If booklinker had chosen instead to charge a small fee per link generated (maybe $1 or £1 each), I could respect that and certainly I would pay that one time fee each.
But a subscription just to avoid annoying my readers? NO WAY.
(originally posted at 830 am EDT; edited at 1050 am EDT)
*Note: The remark by Michael Downing at 950am does NOT change my position. Even if what he claims is true — for which I have no evidence at the time of either the original posting nor this edit — I can only go on what was emailed to me this morning and make my own interpretations based on available information.
Can you believe September is nearly over? I certainly cannot! The final hours of summer are upon us. Autumn arrives and with it the Wiccan celebration of Mabon, the second of the Celtic harvest festivals.
It is a time where harvest is in full swing. A time to prepare for winter and the possibility, dare I say, of ANOTHER polar vortex. Could there possibility be a better time for discovering new books?
To that end, Apryl Baker is hosting a special BlogFest event for young adult and new adult books that she hopes will get people reading and discovering some great books across all YA/NA genres.
As part of the festival, a total of NINETY authors are donating some great prizes in two separate giveaways — one for residents of the United States and the other for residents in other countries. On facebook there will be some games, trivia, and special prizes to enjoy all month long.
As one of the participating authors, I am giving away kindle copies (USA) and Smashwords copies (International) of SIX of my books plus for one lucky USA and one UK winner, a free download of the audio edition of Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni. Watch this blog for more information about the books I am giving away and be sure to enter on Apryl’s blog for your chance to win. Up for grabs are FOUR Peers of Beinan Series books/novellas and BOTH of the Legendary Women of World History Books!
So come out, enter to win (accepting entries right now!), and discover some great new books to keep you warm when the weather outside is frightful.
This blog post from 15 September by Molly Greene of BookDaily.com explores the complicated issue of e-book pricing.
Whether you’re a self-published author with titles on Amazon or selling a non-fiction book on your website, product pricing is a major component of your marketing plan and income projections. I’m guessing you’ve spent a lot of time considering price point tactics. But let’s face it, the cost of ebooks – both theory and advice – is all over the board. What’s an author to do?
Just before the recent release of my second novel, I went looking for guidance that would help me build a workable pricing and book promotion strategy into my business plan for next year. What I found was surprising: it seems free ebook giveaways are out of favor, and authors who select the 2.99 price point for a well-written novel might be leaving cash on the table. And there’s more. Let’s break it down.
Per Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre, the move away from $1.99 is clear
Publisher’s Weekly ran an article about Kobo Writing Life (KWL) that included a great sound bite about ebook pricing trends from Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations. Per Lefebvre, the $1.99 price point is “dead … not just for us, but also, it seems, on other platforms,” pointing out that 99¢ KWL titles sell twice as many copies as those at $1.99, and that “$2.99 sells more than four times more.” Authors most often start at $2.99 “and walk the prices up,” he said. About 80% of the KWL titles that sell consistently are priced in the $2.99–$5.99 range, and he also pointed to “a bit of a lift in the $7.99–$9.99 price range.”
When you’re deciding on a promotional plan, remember that KWL allows authors to give away titles for free. Authors can distribute to Kobo via Smashwords or publish directly on the KWL platform. For more info, read my Kobo post.
Note this important takeaway: “A low price point may be a hook, but it’s the quality of a work that attracts readers, not the price.”
Per Smashwords’ Mark Coker, authors may be underpricing
Smashwords CEO Mark Coker’s May 2013 Booklovers Convention presentation revealed important points gleaned from his platform’s data. In the presentation he ponders the question, “… is $3.99 the new $2.99?” noting there are “fewer titles to compete against at $3.99, and authors appear to pay no penalty in terms of sales volume.” Per Coker, “I see untapped opportunity [at the $3.99 price point], where indies may be able to raise prices but not suffer unit decline.” He concludes “some authors are underpricing.” Smashwords data also reveals …
• $.99 remains popular, but shows a big drop compared to their 2012 study.
• $.99 to $1.99 underperforms in terms of earnings. (Per Coker, $1.99 is “a black hole.”)
• $2.99 is the most common price point with indies.
• $2.99 to $6.99 is the sweet spot for maximum earnings.
• Indies have virtually abandoned the $9.99 price point compared to 2012’s study.
Note this important takeaway: “Data-driven publishing decisions are irrelevant without a great book. Write the greatest masterpiece you can, and then review the data for ideas that at best might enable you to add incremental improvements to reader enjoyment, accessibility, and word-of-mouth.”
Per author Cheryl Bradshaw, ditch “free” and go with 99 cent promotions
So what’s up with free ebook giveaways? According to author Cheryl Bradshaw, it’s time to leave Amazon’s KDP Select program. “At some point Amazon started changing their algorithms,” she says. “This meant when a book came off the free list, instead of seeing a huge spike (a lower book ranking) as well as a nice increase in book sales, it wasn’t happening … to the extent I’d grown accustomed to, [and] recently I’ve been seeing a meager spike, fewer sales. Maybe short-term, maybe forever, but for me it means it’s time to try something different. In my opinion, a .99 promotion (not all the time, just as a sale) is the sweet spot right now.”
Per Joe Konrath, the case for $3.99 is strong
In February 2013 Joe Konrath wrote, “I have my novels priced at $3.99, my novellas and short story collections at $2.99, my trilogy sets at $9.99, and short stories at 99 cents.”
Link here to read the entire article: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing
Bottom line: There is no one “right” pricing strategy
Miral Sattar, CEO of BiblioCrunch, outlined a trio of author’s pricing strategies in an article published by PBS online. In her final words she notes, “The important thing to remember is no pricing strategy will work if your book isn’t in its best shape. This means having a well-edited, error-free book, an eye-catching cover, and selecting the right categories for discovery.”
Link here to read the article: How to Set the Right Price for Your Self-Published Book
Based on the information above, my conclusion regarding sales strategy might not be earth-shattering news, but here it is, and this will be my strategy in the coming year: • Avoid the $1.99 price point entirely!
• Price previously released (backlist) ebooks at $3.99.
• Scheduling regular .99 cent promotions can help maintain sales of the entire line.
• Pricing newly-released titles higher for a limited period after their initial launch can work well for authors with a loyal readership.
• Most importantly, no pricing strategy will sell a poorly-written, proofed and edited book.
About the Author:
Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and novelist with a preference for reading, writing, and rural life. Her novels include Mark of the Loon and her new release,Rapunzel; nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and Buy Your Own Roses and other essays (coming in 2014). She blogs about her life and self-publishing topics at molly-greene.com.
Good afternoon everyone. Today UK-based Back Cover Promotions launched their new magazine, “Creative Dreams.” I am pleased to write the very first feature post for Creative Dreams entitled, “Why I’m Lost.” http://ow.ly/u43yl.
The article discusses why I chose to put out a “Lost Tales” anthology, tips for successful world-building, and the writing process. If you aspire to a career in writing, I hope you will please read this inaugural post and through it, improve your own writing craft.
Have a lovely day and a great upcoming weekend!
PoB: Love is Never Past appears to be a historical romance. Can you set the scene for us historically? When does it happen and where? What is happening back then in that part of the world?
JY: At the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union collapsed and the nations that resulted suffered waves of ethnic violence and black market crime. Many people in positions of comparative privilege found their lives and livelihoods in ruins. Love Is Never Past Tense… starts several years before and follows my lead characters through personal challenges and then the turmoil caused by world-shaping events.
PoB: What genre do you feel best describes this book and why?
JY: Historical Romance is accurate but a bit misleading. I focus on the lives of my characters. The history shows up in some of the choices they make, where big events reshape otherwise ordinary lives. I draw on my own life enough that the book might best be classified as an epic historical romance based on a true story.
PoB: What formats do you offer this book in and why?
JY: I offer it in hardcover, paperback, and most electronic formats, including Kindle, Nook, iBook and PDF. I want to offer it any way the reader wants to get it but have not done audio versions yet. If hard copies are ordered from www.loveisneverpasttense.com I am happy to sign them.
PoB: What do you feel makes this book different from other books?
JY: As I said earlier, the book is based on a true story. The characters are real people. Some of the people participating in the plot told me that they are emotionally and vividly reliving the events in which they participated.
PoB: What is it about you as a person that makes your book compelling to read?
JY: I am a person who lived through the events described in the book. I am a survivor. If I fall, I get back on my feet and face another day, hoping for the best, creating another situation that can lead to the place I want to be. I focus on my goals and try not to pay much attention to obstacles. With my Russian background, I see the glass half full (with Vodka). 🙂
*Opinions expressed in author interviews belong exclusively to the authors featured and do not represent the viewpoints of the Peers of Beinan series, author Laurel A. Rockefeller, or any other related entity. Presented interviews do not constitute endorsement of any product, service, or point of view. Readers are encouraged to form their own opinions concerning presented content herein.