cimorene12's journal: change or die

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Noedig » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Cimorene, thank you for the Angela Palmer tip in an earlier post. A stonkingly great adult talent. Thanks for that and keep your thoughts flowing.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by jennypenny » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:16 pm

So ... did you read The Shadows? Is it worth reading? I wasn't going to read it until I heard that Ward went off-genre. It's pretty funny that she's got the whole romance community in an uproar over it. They can be such an uptight group.

My biggest problem is that I declined to review the book, so now I have to pay for it if I want to read it. :o

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:43 pm

@Noedig You are welcome. Amanda Palmer is great. :)

Yes. I read The Shadows. It was better than The King, thank goodness. I'm actually glad that she took the risk.

I am a little bit ashamed, but yeah, I bought it even though it was (by my standards) astronomically expensive. I read it on the day it came out.
$7 Million Contract for Meredith Wild
I mean, the title says it all. She's published 5 books total, and Hachette is throwing money at her. Seven million is a lot of money.

This kind of thing happens fairly rarely, if you look at the entire pool of self-published authors, even though EL James, Anna Todd, Jasinda Wilder, and now Meredith Wild are making headlines. She also strangely was completely on point from the word go. You don't get there without a substantial amount of know-how and support.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:04 pm

Indie Recon: Basics
I really liked the chart, because it's a succinct summary of her succinct summary. It's fantastic. I can't imagine ever going direct on Kobo, simply because they have a really wonky payment policy. Going through D2D is a much better option.

Notice who is missing from that chart? Google Play. All Romance. Smashwords. Oyster, with their brand new retail store. With the exclusion of Scribd and Oyster, the chart completely ignores the other subscription sites besides Amazon.

March KU Payout: $1.337
There's sadness on kboards. What I loved was a post from Rosalind James:
If you write 50-60K, or 20K, and you write fast and/or have a big backlist (have been writing for quite a while), I think it can be a good option.

If you write 95-115K like me, and and you write 500K words a year (which is a LOT, but not good for KU if it's across 4-5 books), it's not so good. I was an All-Star every month I was in KU, with my highest bonus being $5K, but it still didn't make up for the cannibalized sales on 10 long books.

I may eventually end up writing short like others, but for now, it doesn't seem like the best choice, because my core readership likes longer, more complex books. They do not like 50K books, and they do not like serials. So...I'd have to gamble that I could change my style to appeal to a completely different market that is looking for something different out of their romance novels.

I think that if your model fits the KU universe, you're great. If it doesn't, probably not.

I'm going to speculate here that the market is changing. That "indie" is going to be the short, sexy stuff (in romance, at least), erotic romance, and paranormal, and that tradpub and Amazon Publishing will take the sizable readership that still wants what I'll call "traditional" books--longer, stand-alone books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Most tradpub is that way, and tradpub is still selling a lot. There isn't that much crossover between the two markets--people who read tradpub in my market don't read much indie. Two different markets looking for two different kinds of books.
That's not entirely true. I'm an obvious crossover, but then I'm a voracious reader. I read the huge books, and I read the shorter ones from Milly Taiden. I like the short, snappy storylines.

The indie target market is people who cram in reading between doing other things. A novella can be read on a lunch break. You can read a romantic short when you're sitting in the car, waiting for your kid to come out of soccer practice. One of my cousins told me that she used to read a lot, until she had kids; then, she was lucky to finish a magazine article. That kind of busy, on-the-go reader is the kind that a lot of the shorter romances are marketed to.

It takes a long time for the average reader (aka not me) to read something that's 100k long. Milly Taiden used to write that long, and her current move to write novellas to short novels (and some actual shorts, like her smut-shorties and her Fur-ocious Lust series) means that she will profit more from smaller things -- and flooding Amazon with new releases -- than 100k books.

However, a lot of that is right. Tradpub will always go looking for 100k novels, because that's what they know. I'm also seeing that there's more upside for people who can write 100k novels (I can't. I've tried.). Milly Taiden is winning Amazon, but if you want to win on a larger scale you have to write big novels.

KDP All Stars
The people who are getting All-Star bonuses are writing serials and shorts. Authors who publish in 100k chunks just can't move fast enough for Amazon. Amazon gives you special dust when you first publish.

That's why Hannah Ford keeps releasing tiny pieces at a time and dominating the topseller charts while she does it. There are so many complaints in the reviews about length and editing, and it doesn't matter.

Frustrated reviewer:
TO THE AUTHOR: are you so money hungry that you need to charge a dollar for every 25 pages! ... gital-text

She still has the most KU borrows, good enough to become an All-Star on two pen names. KU rewards frequent, steady releases. People can complain as much as they like, but this is what KU incentives bring. Short serials are back in style.

Book Report
There's a little bookmarklet that you can use to analyze your KDP reports. It tells me how much money I'm making. It has bugs. However, I like it enough to pay for it.

It's fascinating that people protect what they love. Hugh Howey loves it, and he said so in a Facebook post. And bobfrost's image was great.

No breakout success, just steady releases of over 92 titles. That's hard work, right there.

Bonus: MMM kicks his IRP (and sort of Tyler Cowen) in the face: ... p-working/

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:50 am

Scribd and Oyster vs. the KU Goliath
Publishers are trying to make sure that Amazon doesn't get all of the bargaining power the next time negotiations come around. I looked on Scribd again. What would be the tipping point for me would be if they had Tamora Pierce's books. She has a lot of old books, a significant backlist, and I have print copies of all of them -- in Indiana. I think that it's ridiculous to buy other copies, and I'd much prefer to buy ebooks of them. The cost is prohibitive, so I'd rather have a subscription service I could pop in and out of to read them again.
Jan 15

So I looked on Oyster - and they have Tamora Pierce's books. I was about to sign up, but then I realized that only Alanna and Daine's books are in the subscription service.

KKR: Freelance Finances
The State of Oregon has a name for freelancers with only one client—employees. Yep, in the state I live in, one sign of a freelance business is more than one client. Hmmm…a state encouraging common sense. That’s not really the state’s reason for doing so, but that’s the net effect. Don’t put your eggs in one basket ever. As a freelancer, that’s a recipe for disaster, as those who got harmed in the KU Apocalypse found out. One change, one bad decision by the company you’re working with, and you could lose everything. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly when one client or one online retailer treats you really well. But you need to look at the large client as an opportunity that will go away. When I talk about negotiating a contract, I tell writers they must imagine that the nice person they’re negotiating with will move on and be replaced by a demon from hell. That evil demon from hell sometimes replaces the nice person who treats freelancers well inside a business. The thing is, the demon from hell can show up at any point. And the freelancer might not notice until he turns in the latest project or he gets a seemingly innocuous e-mail explaining that terms of service for the online retailer have changed ever so slightly. What might seem slight to that online retailer might be huge to the freelancer—because you’re in different businesses, after all. Your needs might no longer coincide.
I've said this before, and it's not going to come as a surprise to anybody on the boards: the ability to write for a living goes hand in hand with financial literacy. If you can figure out how to live with lumpy income, then you are set. We're the ones who would accept $110k any time during the year vs. $80k in regular biweekly paychecks.

Regular Paychecks
Felix Dennis said this in How to Get Rich - paychecks are addictive. They are safe. And he paid a lot of people paychecks to keep talented people working for his dreams, not theirs.

I can't deny that paychecks and the illusion of safety (and benefits) are seductive. At the old company, we got paid on the first business day of the month. At my current job, we get paid every 2 weeks. That's incredible.

But having only one stream of income makes you fragile (yes, NNT). You have to find a way to mitigate the loss of income from losing your job. Jacob advocates saving and investing. Ramit Sethi has done very well with Earn1K, because the pitch is that $1k/month would help you. And it would.

MMM: Income Optimization
Every dollar is actually a little employee that will work for you, 24 hours a day, for as long as you keep it. But you don’t want your employees hanging around eating donuts in the smoking lounge of your zero-interest checking account. You will simply sweep these green paper employees to wherever they will work hardest for you.
The same goes for books. You want them to work as hard for you as they possibly can. Removing books from Smashwords (and everywhere they distribute) and putting them into KU can double or more your income. But it does make you fragile; there were plenty of people sad at the KU payout for March. They don't really have a choice, though, as they've gone all-in on KU. There should have been a stampede to the KDP dashboards to uncheck the auto-renew box, but there probably was not. People would rather complain than take the first step to go wide.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:56 pm

Indie Recon: HM Ward
She has a very long presentation explaining how to sell books. If you can bear her voice for that long (I can't), then definitely watch it. The good part in my eyes started around minute 35, when she showed the Golden Tripod.

Bonus read, because I loved the idea: ... s-popular/

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:31 am

PV Excerpts
Charm Pricing
Charm pricing—also known as psychological pricing—is a strategy based on the theory that certain prices have a psychological impact.

The most common example of charm pricing is ending a price 99 cents. There’s a mildly interesting scientific explanation for why it works, but you just need to know that the number nine is extremely powerful in pricing. Studies indicate that, counterintuitively, you can sell more of the same item for $39 dollars than for $34.
99 cents is what romance costs right now. If you're wide, you're charging 3.99, 4.99, or 5.99. If you are in KU, you're charging 99 cents. It's not about the 35 cents you get per sale.
Income Distribution: Writers
The top 5% of authors earned 42% of all income received by professional writers in 2013, according to The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.

Meanwhile, the bottom half of professional writers accounted for just 7% of all authors' earnings overall.
While a typical full-time writer earned £11,000 a year in 2013, the top 5% each earned at least £100,100, the research showed.
The report said: "Thus, it appears that writing is a profession where only a handful of successful authors make a very good living while most do not."
Around one in six writers did not earn any money from their writing in 2013, it said - despite 98% saying their work had been published or used in other ways.
The article is fear-mongering (and oh no, writers are making less than ever!), but the 80/20 rule says that the top 20% account for 80% of the income. The top 10%, according to the report, is making 58% of the income. This is how the world works. The trick is how to become part of the top X% and stay there.

The only people who will have to pay $10/month to use BookReport are the people who make $1k or more per month. Nobody knows how big that market is. Many, many authors make very little. The breakout successes get all the media attention.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:28 am

Gulf Coast Bookstore
There's buzz around the Florida bookstore dedicated to self-published authors. Seeing the response on PG's website and inside of the writer community, I wonder if I should imitate them. I messaged them to be put on the wait list, but I was told that Sarasota was too far away to be a "local" author. There were a LOT of people who wanted to pay to put their books in an independent-only retailer.
Self-published authors rent shelf space for three months for $60, plus a $15 set-up fee, close to what they might spend to exhibit a single title at a day-long book fair. They also handle stocking and restocking. In return, the authors receive 100% of every sale rather than 40% from a bookstore that sells their books on consignment.
I was thinking of setting this up for any American author (interstate commerce is enough to make me know that it's going to be headache, so no chance of international authors).

Their model is very good for an extremely local bookstore. If I made it available to any American author, I'd need to hire people to staff the store - handle the cash register, stock and restock, keep things clean, etc. The overhead would be higher, so $60+15 wouldn't cut it. I'd also make anybody who wanted to buy the books online go through CreateSpace; I know firsthand what it's like to ship retail products to customers who have moved away, and it is a PITA. PLUS the store doesn't take a cut of each sale, which lowers the store's risk a lot. As long as you can get enough authors to take care of your fixed costs and keep the lights on/rent paid, you can have an independent bookstore.

The area has lots of tourists and snow birds.
With the tourist season in Florida winding down, Jacobs says that he and Jefferson are focusing their attention on building a reputation for the store with locals. The slow season will also give them time to weigh the pros and cons of offering featured authors an e-commerce option.
I'd hire someone to handle the day-to-day, but I don't think that it's a bad idea at all.

Dark Romance
I finally overcame my aversion to Aubrey Dark's blurbs and read one, His. It was surprisingly good. The whole idea of "love redemption" so common in romance plays out. You can cure a serial killer if you just love him enough, apparently. The fact that he tied you to a bed and you tried to commit suicide - totally resolved, nobody worries about that. Rough sex where he slaps you across the face? Totally hot, we're all good here. He carves himself up with a knife and forces you to look at pictures of him beaten up - again, so good, totally explains where he's coming from, we're fine.

What's surprising is how good Aubrey was at making it seem normal(ish) to fall in love with a serial killer. He's a Dexter-type serial killer, a hero/villain.

I read Part 3 of His Gift, too. Stockholm Syndrome to the max. And also, if you love him enough, you can erase his darkness. He loves you, so you win. That's how dark billionaire romances go.

I recognize that dark billionaire romances are the natural direction, given that in most billionaire romances the hero has "dark secrets." It's just gotten darker and darker.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:30 pm

Krista Lakes
From October 2014
Readers' Behavior
I'm realizing why it helps you to have a large catalogue now. When I discover a new author I like, I'll immediately get every single KU title they have. I've done that for at least 4 authors during this month, most recently with Krista Lakes.
She wrote a blog post (using do not link, as I do not want her seeing a pingback to my journal if she ever checks her stats etc.) about meeting with Amazon.
However, after yesterday’s meeting, I have less and less confidence that my total embrace of Amazon exclusivity is mutually beneficial. Thanks for reading my post. This meeting has accelerated some of my plans and I’ll have big news soon.
I'm worried. Except for one piece that I have wide, that I use to learn how to publish on the various platforms whenever I hear about one that might be worth it, I'm in KU.

Krista Lakes has, until now, been a big cheerleader for KU.
I had my best month ever in October, and it was due to KU.

With two books hitting Amazon’s Top 100 list (Barefoot Kisses and Hurricane Kisses) and Saltwater Kisses getting close to breaking into the list for the third time, I was the 10th best selling author in KDP Select.

This October,
I gave away close to 100,000 free books.

61% of all my books sold were actually borrows.

Due to the lower royalty percentage on 99 cent books, 66% of my earnings actually came from borrows rather than sales.
I definitely was not the only person to find out about Krista Lakes last October. If you are the 10th best, then you get a $25k bonus on top of a substantial amount of borrows and sales.

Krista Lakes has a substantial amount of clout as one of the most visible authors in KDP Select. If she decides to do something big with a different retailer - any, at this point... Barnes and Noble would do well to court her, but who knows - everyone will at least look over the fence.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:28 pm

Social Media: A Lesson on Cover Design
So I'm poking around, learning about viral marketing and how it relates to books. I understand now why street teams are so important. They are big multipliers on your outreach; Monica Leonelle says that 85% of book sales are due to word-of-mouth. That's why Amazon acquired Goodreads. Tucker Max, back when Bookstrapper was still live, said that every author needed to have a marketing strategy that included Goodreads.

I'm gearing up to do Goodreads giveaways. I recognize that they generate buzz, and they aren't prohibitively expensive to do.

So anyway, my books got pretty big recently, in a very modest way. Nothing like Milly Taiden of course. But when I saw other people sharing my books, I realized how important it was to have the top part of your cover look good and convey your story.

Look at Bella Andre's books. Here's one: ... 938127951/

Due to the way that Facebook does things, the image that people see is a square starting at the top of the image. You need to make sure that square conveys at least part of your story. I already knew that thumbnail sizes of your cover were important, but I hadn't consciously thought about what my books would look like on a social media site.

Monica Leonelle and Stories
She said something that really made me think - she says that writers have to refuel. They have to read. I realize now that TV and movies are really good ways to refuel, although it's sort of hard now to look at them as pure entertainment. They really are research.

Last posted October 13, 2014
What can I say about Neil Gaiman that hasn’t already been said?

Well, he’s no genius. He’s better than that.

He’s not a wizard, in other words, but a conjurer.

Wizards don’t have to work. They wave their hands, and the magic happens. But conjurers, now…conjurers work very hard. They spend a lot of time in their youth watching, very carefully, the best conjurers of the day. They seek out old books of trickery and, being natural conjurers, read everything else as well, because history itself is just a magic show. They observe the way people think, and the many ways in which they don’t. They learn the subtle use of springs, and how to open the mighty temple doors at a touch, and how to make the trumpets sound.

And they take center stage and amaze you with flags of all nations and smoke and mirrors, and you cry: “Amazing! How does he do it? What happened to the elephant? Where’s the rabbit? Did he really smash my watch?”

And in the back row we, the other conjurers, say quietly: “Well done. Isn’t that a variant of the Prague Levitating Sock? Wasn’t that Pasqual’s Spirit Mirror, where the girl isn’t really there? But where the hell did the flaming sword come from?”

And we wonder if there may be such a thing as wizardry after all…
I understand now why authors are allowed to deduct books as business expenses. I always thought that was the dream. But I keep seeing the levitating sock and the spirit mirror, and it's hard to get deeply immersed into a story anymore, because I can see the wooden frame behind the painted set. And I'm trying to see the wooden frame, that's the thing. JR Ward says to pay attention to the novels that you've loved, the novels that have really touched you to see what they did.

Small Bets
I was reading an article which featured a big director in Hollywood, one that did Bridesmaids. And he was talking about putting the movie in front of test audiences. He put scenes in and took them out to get the right emotional reaction from his audiences. I thought, "Of course!"

Patrick Rothfuss has a team of 50ish beta readers, and the favorite ones are the ones who scribble their emotional reactions down in the margins of the hard copy.

It's the Chris Rock method of little bets, something that Ramit Sethi/his friend taught me.
In gearing up for his latest global tour, Rock made between forty and fifty appearances at small comedy clubs. His early performances can be painful to watch. Jokes will ramble, he’ll lose his train of thought and need to refer to his notes, and some audience members sit with their arms folded, noticeably unimpressed. The audience will laugh about his flops—laughing at him, not with him.

Developing an hour-long act takes even top comedians like Rock from six months to a year. If comedians are serious about success, they get on stage every night they can, especially when developing new material. They typically do so at least five nights per week, sometimes up to seven, and sweat over every element and word. And the cycle repeats, day in, day out. (Writers for the Onion suggest roughly six hundred possibilities for eighteen headlines each week, a 3 percent success rate.)

By the time Rock reaches a big show — say an HBO special or an appearance on Letterman — he’s flawless.
You have to throw a lot of disgusting, misshapen clay pots. A lot of clay pots are going to fail before you can make good ones.

Putting short stories, novelettes, and novellas into KU are my way of testing the market for different niches. The thing is, niches don't perform uniformly for each person. Everyone is going to get a different result in a certain niche, even if it's a highly lucrative one. Some people fail and don't hit it right; other people hit it dead center and profit out of the park.

I've been looking at Sadie Black recently. She has 6 pieces, all of them in Short Reads, and two bundles, one of them a boxed set of her own work, the other an anthology. She's in the top 100 in contemporary romance. It is not trivially easy to get that high. There's an incredible amount of marketing that you need to do to get there.

However, she's also hit her niche dead center. Look at Indebted: Part 1. It's amazing, and how well it is doing reflects that.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 01, 2015 5:03 pm

Mobile Retail
The mobile experience is something that's dramatically different from web or even tablet. When designing for the mobile form factor, you have to do things really differently.

There are a lot of good insights from that McKinsey analysis. The big one is that the mobile retail experience is important.

One part is that Amazon's mobile experience for books is not so great. I can't 1-click anything. I have to add it to my wish list.

Apple's is phenomenal. iBooks on a computer is lackluster, but iBooks on my iPhone is stunningly great. It's the same design. It's mobile first. It's SO easy to buy an iBook. I love it.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue May 05, 2015 7:19 am

Apple and Samsung Smartphone Sales
Going wide is my next major project.

Bonus read: How to hit the USA Today bestseller list:, ... 0/all.html

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed May 06, 2015 8:48 am

KM in April
Notice how much variation there is in KM's graph. The best day had over 1000 borrows and sales (looks like 1200). The worst day was April 28, with a bit over 500 borrows and sales. It bounces from peak to trough.

Power of Free
KM has hit free promos very hard.

Rosalind James and Free
In my experience, I got about 3% of the number of free books downloaded in increased sales per book after the free period. The past two times, that didn’t include the free book, or not to the same extent, due to recent algorithm changes. But I figured, if I got 10,000 downloads, with six books (besides the free book) out, that would be 1,800 additional books sold right there. Like I said, no-brainer—the last three promo periods had netted 92,300, 40,000, and 62,000 downloads.
KM has even more products out than Rosalind, so the people who start picking up the entire catalogue buy even more.

Novels vs. Serial Installments
KM's novels are wide, and I think that the sales are not worth mentioning. KM wrote a post in the 100 title experiment that he had taken off a month to write a novel which had not sold anything like enough to make up for the lost income from not publishing for a month. Novels are high risk products, but they have higher earning potential. And if the novel sells badly, you can serialize it and put it into KU. JS Scott is the #1 contemporary romance author right now; her most recent work consists of novels. But Olivia Hawthorne is #2, and she only writes the shorter pieces. The latest one, published a month ago, is only 26 pages long, which is around 5,000 words. Olivia has published 74 pieces since beginning in late January.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu May 14, 2015 5:35 am

Economics of Tidying Up
It's just a book about minimalism and mindfully culling your possessions, but the writer acts like it's a brand-new idea. Meh. This is old hat for an EREr.

Trad Pub and Joint Accounting
Author #2’s agent got him a 2-book deal with a well-known mass-market paperback publisher. The contract included joint accounting. Nelson explains in her “Think Like an Agent” series why joint accounting can be a very bad deal, as this author was about to find out.

When his first book published, it sold reasonably well. Meanwhile the author was busy writing the second. To his surprise, the publisher rejected the book. The author wrote another, which the publisher also rejected. The author wrote a third book, which the publisher rejected when the book was half finished.

Are you keeping count? Two and a half books written over who knows how many years in a valiant effort to deliver the second book of his contract. Meanwhile, because these two contracted-for books were irrevocably linked due to joint accounting, even though the first book was selling well, during all that time, the author didn’t see another dime.
It is very validating to be published by a proper publisher. However, it's not the most lucrative route. You'll be forced to write and rewrite and submit new manuscripts, only to have your next books rejected. It's not like that guy is an isolated case. That sort of behavior seems normal for a publisher, honestly.

Mark Dawson's 15k mailing list
He's making $450,000 a year from self-publishing which I can pretty much guarantee you is more money than he'd make in trad pub. He's a helpful member of kboards.

Mailing Lists
Having a 15k mailing list isn't cheap. On Mailchimp, that's $150 a month, whether or not you send a single email. I started out on Aweber but closed my account there, and I just started up on SendGrid. Mailchimp has the easiest UX by FAR, but it's also incredibly expensive. It's a freemium model, and as soon as you hit the end of that limit, 2001 subscribers, you owe them $30 a month every month. At the 15k subscriber level, SendGrid costs $83.70 a month for sending 15,000 marketing emails rather than the $150 that MailChimp charges for just having 15k subscribers. There is a crossover point. When you are HM Ward and you have 50,001 subscribers, looking for a cheaper option than Mailchimp is pretty necessary.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 15, 2015 9:23 pm

I'd heard about it, of course. There were people who were saying it was good. Some said it wasn't.

Someone just used it for her review team. It was a struggle. But what was even more surprising was that people reviewed it on GoodReads who were just ordinary people, not her review team (which BTW had a heck of a time getting copies). And I read one in Spanish that was just going ugh, this story was bad. And people who weren't already fans of her just said "did not finish." That would scare me a lot as an author. I found it really gripping and funny, but maybe that's me. It's sorta like dark billionaire but thank goodness the hero isn't a serial killer, you know? That book was romantic suspense done right. My cup of tea isn't going to be everyone else's.

I also started a review blog. I have many reviews. From now on, my reviews are going on my review blog. I've seen how it can give you a boost.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun May 17, 2015 12:22 pm

Great Migration
Chad wrote:There is obviously a danger that Amazon becomes a monopoly and screws the authors over like the current cabal, but the barriers to entry into being a bookstore/distributor/publisher are significantly lower now than in the past. This will make it very difficult for Amazon to treat authors poorly, as they will just go to Google Play, iTunes/iBooks, Alibaba, some random startup, etc.

So the migration is already happening. Google Play is still a mess, and Viola Rivard continues to have problems with them, as they've cost her thousands upon thousands at this point. Having the reading app pre-installed on every Android device pretty much inevitably means that people will buy books via Google Play. Viola went wide with Dragon's Appraiser, and it's evidently made her enough money to continue publishing her serial wide.

There are some authors who are deriving half their income from Google Play, which, again, is pretty author-unfriendly.

iBooks is taking off like a little rocket. JS Cooper has made a TON of money in KU, but she's wide now. Having little free snippets has really helped her sell. Mina Carter similarly has made a ton of money, but now she's part KU, part wide for new releases. I've heard that the best revenue-maximizing strategy is to enroll a book for the first term and go wide after. It sounds easy and reasonable, but it actually requires action to uncheck the auto-enroll box. Most people aren't unchecking.

One problem for me is that my books aren't going to fit in on Apple. I've looked at similar books (Julia Kent's, for example, or Lexi Blake's NYT bestseller), and they are categorized in erotica. That's obviously not going to work, because Apple's erotica ghetto is even worse than Amazon's adult dungeon. So now I have to write books that will some day fit in with Apple's more stringent guidelines of what kind of sex you can have. If I could figure out how to write cowboy, I'd be writing that. Cora Seton's military books were also blowing up the charts for a while. I'll probably just stick with writing what I write, though, until the day comes when it doesn't make money.

George the original one
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by George the original one » Mon May 18, 2015 2:59 pm

8-) I know the cowgirl sex position, but what is cowboy?

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon May 18, 2015 10:33 pm ... he-cowboy/

It's an illustration, but yes. I have never put it into a book. ;)

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 22, 2015 3:24 pm

Why Writing Is Just Like Software
I've said this before in my journal: all of my work experience before going into the old company was in writing. But I'm thinking a lot right now about how similar they are.

Mark Dawson again: ... 5082d8de47

In software, you have to iterate constantly. Marc Andreessen says that the time between being the disruptor and the disrupted is 5 years. In books, it's faster, much faster. That's because you don't have to drum together users or figure out distribution. Those channels are open to you from Day 1. The courts call it "disintermediation". I call it opportunity.

You can also put together a book completely solo. We're all product people. The people who can rise to the very top of the book market are also good on the Sheryl Sandberg side: market analysis, negotiating partnerships, understanding users/customers... The list goes on and on.

When I read Liliana Hart saying that she spent 14 hours a day working, I wondered what she was doing. I know she's not writing for 14 hours a day, because she releases a few books per year. There's an ENORMOUS amount of nonwriting work when you are actually making money off of your books. The ratio of writing time to nonwriting time fluctuates every week for me, and I'm keeping track. Editing and publishing don't count as writing time, as they are not writing. I used to think that publishing was as easy as filling in the title field and hitting the yellow save and publish button. I had no idea what people were talking about when they talked about the time that they spent publishing.

Most startups fail. Most self-published authors make very little for their work. It's the ones who find a rabid audience, the true fans who will keep them in groceries from here until the end of time who make money.

In order to use MailChimp, you have to put in a website. Before I agree to take on the burden of constantly updating a Twitter account, I set up an page for each new pen name (how many do I have? It feels like zillions.).

I get email from every week from readers telling me that they are enjoying my books and asking when the next one is coming out. I don't have a contact form on my websites or an email address where people can readily contact me. I recognize that a lot of the top authors have them right there, because it makes you feel accessible to your readers. I'm not into that at the moment; just handling my review teams takes a lot of time, and they are nothing like the huge ones.

Anyway, you iterate a lot. If a book fails, you look at why, and you fix it. And you can take lessons learned from books that you've written that have made you tons of money and try to replicate that success. When you do agile sprints, they aren't to pump out code or features. They're to push out books.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Sat May 23, 2015 7:37 am

cimorene12 wrote: ... he-cowboy/

It's an illustration, but yes. I have never put it into a book. ;)
Thanks for sharing this. We'll be expecting new sex positions in your journal from now on.

Sounds like you're finding success. Congrats.

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