Posts Tagged With: amazon

My publishing plan for 2014

Now, let me preface this post by stating that this is an extremely tentative plan, cooked up in the shower yesterday, and now delivered via the magical power of the internet to your computer screen!

Step 1: Finish writing Chasing Nonconformity

This is the most important step, as this sequel is the pivot point around which the rest of the plan turns. I’m about halfway through the re-write right now, and will hopefully get it done by the end of February. Then begin the rounds of editing and beta readers and general headaches … so I’m hoping that if I buckle down and really put my nose to the grindstone, I can maybe eke out a finished manuscript by September?

Step 2: Get covers for Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity

Of course, I already have a cover for Imminent Danger, but that cover is technically owned by iUniverse, and I don’t really feel like paying them several hundred dollars to come into possession of a cover to which I’m not particularly attached. The plan, you see, is that I’m going to re-publish Imminent Danger on my own (i.e., not through a vanity publisher), which will give me much more control over the fate of the book. So I’m going to need covers for both books 1 and 2.

I was in talks with a cover designer last year, but things didn’t really work out — I didn’t know what I wanted, and the designer had a particular style that, while lovely, just didn’t mesh with what I had in mind (despite me not actually knowing what I had in mind). See the problem? Indecision abounds in my world. Anyway, I’m now messing around with cover design on my own, and have tentatively acquired a new designer … more on that story as it unfolds!

Step 3: Break from iUniverse and re-release Imminent Danger via Amazon KDP

So this is actually two steps in one. Basically, I kind of like the idea of trying out the Amazon KDP program, but that of course means I can’t have my book for sale on other websites. Since iUniverse is currently distributing Imminent Danger to every website under the sun, that will mean that I’m going to break from them at some point. I don’t know when, but … it’s definitely going to happen. I mean, unless I can find a way to re-publish Imminent Danger on Amazon KDP and still leave the iUniverse version up and available … maybe call the new version the “Deluxe version” or something? If anyone knows about this sort of thing, by all means send your wisdom my way!

And then the second part of the step is, of course, to re-release Imminent Danger on Amazon KDP. I don’t know that I’ll stay in the KDP program forever, but it seems a good way to start. My tentative plan for this is to re-release the book sometime in September. I’m thinking of doing the Kindle Countdown Deals program for the first three months, and then switch over to the 5 free days option just in time for …

Step 4: Release Chasing Nonconformity for Christmas!

This is, of course, assuming I’m actually able to come up with a finished manuscript by the fall, which is … let’s just call it an extremely optimistic plan. But I’m nothing if not optimistic! So assuming everything goes according to plan, I’ll release Chasing Nonconformity around the start of December … and at that point Imminent Danger will have gone into the “5 free promo days” program, so I can offer it for free for a few days in December/January to drum up interest and encourage people to give the series a shot.


I am obviously a complete “n00b” at marketing, so any thoughts/comments on my plan are greatly appreciated!


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Guest Post: Do Not Despair — the Digital Age is Here!

Today’s guest post comes to us from Tom Dale, a writer over at, who was kind enough to offer some insights on the current state of digital self-publishing. Read on!

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Do not despair; the digital age is here!

The digital age has changed the world. It has transformed the way we do almost everything, from the minute to the massive. There are valid arguments claiming that technology has enhanced our lives and those that say it has detracted from it. Personally I sit somewhere between these two camps, but on the whole I believe it has made life better and broadened possibilities for many people on the planet. The greatest achievement of the technological age, I would argue, is the enhancement of global interconnectedness. That may sound a little wordy but think about it for a second; in that second you thought about it millions of people communicated with millions more people.

eBook agains books

This greater connectivity has one key benefit for authors the world over; self publishing can be done by anyone and distributed globally in an instant. Not only that but your content will sit alongside works which have had thousands of pounds thrown at them for publication, with no distinguishable difference. When Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, a tool for authors to self-publish their books to Amazon’s Kindle store, was launched alongside its famous e-reader, the Kindle, vast new possibilities were created for authors without the resources or support to get their work published. This format has been reproduced by many other eBook publishers such as Apples iBook or Barnes and Noble’s Nook publishing services.

Gordon Willoughby, Director of Kindle EU, has had to say of these platforms: “[It] enables ‘ordinary’ Kindle authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the literary world and we’re so excited to see it succeeding for both readers and authors.” Mr Willoughby’s words ring true in light of the thousands of success stories that have come out of eBook self publication.

Amazon_Kindle_3Despite some controversy around Amazon’s publication service and rumours of excessive ‘delivery charges’ added onto Amazon’s fee for eBook sales, the KDP tool is an invaluable one for aspiring authors. If you are sitting on your first book – receiving rejection letters from traditional print publishers – do not be disheartened; it has been hailed as a cure for the depression of rejection from publishers. The tales of self-publishing success often tell of multiple rejections, only to receive multiple offers once a name was made on the eBook market.

There are a plethora of alternatives to Amazon’s KDP and I would suggest maximising your potential sales by exploring all these other avenues to ensure maximum reach. However, despite the controversy around the two royalty levels that Amazon offers, you should not exclude yourself from that market. Consider that people who own Kindles are unlikely to use other eBook purchasing services (although from I what I hear competitors such as Sainsburys’s eBooks are beginning to challenge this) and that just under half the e-reader market share is held by the Kindle, it would make no business sense to back out of such a vast market on principle or otherwise.

The HelpKathryn Stockett, author of the bestselling novel The Help, who was famously rejected dozens of times before getting her work published, has been quoted telling fellow authors: “What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60?” And how many did stop at 40, or 50, or 60? It takes an incredibly strong person to still believe in your work after so much rejection but it would seem that this rejection has no bearing on the merit of your work.

So, in short, this new age of self-publication bypasses the depressing, even soul-destroying, world in which the fickle choice of another affects your very existence as an author. The global connectivity that has been gifted to us by the digital age has brought with it other gifts. The ability to jump straight from author to published author in a matter of hours and to see one’s work sat on the shelves, albeit digital ones, of a global bookstore alongside the best bestsellers and the most successful storytellers work. It gifts new self-confidence to demoralised authors and a road to success to those who had never broached the barrier of the ominous publisher.

Long live digital!


Tom Erik Dale is a freelance journalist, writer, and lover of all things literary. He has long been an enthusiastic reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and is a keen believer in the digital reader revolution.


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Guest Post: Back to Creative Writing School (Bridget Whelan)

Today we welcome fellow author Bridget Whelan to tell us about her new creative writing how-to book! Take it away, Bridget!

Following Michelle’s excellent example of shameless self-promotion, I jumped at her invitation to guest post about my new ebook BACK TO CREATIVE WRITING SCHOOL and how you can get hold of a free copy.

back-to-creative-writing-schoolWhat’s it about?

It’s about finding ideas and developing them through a programme of 30 practical writing exercises that range from magic for grown ups to humour and horror writing. It’s about playing around with language and injecting a little rhythm into prose. There are lucky dip exercises that fling strange ideas together and formulas for creating characters that will walk off the page and start throwing their weight around. There are story prompts and poetry exercises for writers who do not want to write a poem, alongside exercises that will help you to start a memoir or look more closely at the world you live in.

All the exercises in the book have been tried and tested on real students. I’ve selected the most popular ones that offer an interesting challenge and have the potential to push you in new directions. And the ones that are fun. Writing is hard work: it doesn’t have to be punishment.

I’ve developed these ideas over nine years while I’ve been teaching creative non fiction at university, fiction in adult education and worked as Writer in Residence at a community centre serving the unwaged and low waged. In that period I’ve had one novel published by a mainstream publishing house and won $US4000 in an international short story competition, but no writer knows all the answers. Every time I am in a classroom I learn something new about creative writing. Every time I pick up a pen. Or read a book that grabs my imagination.

However, fair warning, this book will not tell you how to:

Bridget facebook 1 (2)

Bridget Whelan (author)

  • write a bestseller next weekend
  • win competitions
  • become rich and famous as a novelist.

Nor is it a guide to finding an agent or selling a short story. There are other books – good books – that can help with all that (except about being rich and famous, never trust a how-to book on that subject) but BACK TO CREATIVE WRITING SCHOOL is about creating the material that could become a prizewinning short story or the novel you’ve always wanted to write.

And for 24 hours it is free.

Download it from midnight Sunday December 1st (tonight!) to midnight Monday December 2nd (Pacific time) from your most convenient Amazon.


And come over and say hello on facebook. I’d love to see you!


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The tone matrix! Make beautiful music with no musical experience whatsoever!

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Attention writers: Free online course “The Future of Storytelling” starts soon!

Hey everyone! I don’t have much time right now, so I’ll just cut to the chase — I ran across this free online course ( called “The Future of Storytelling”, and it looks really great for any and all writers, including yours truly.

It’s 8 weeks long, and the basic format is weekly videos plus lots of opportunity for interaction with other students. They’re going to cover topics like:

  • Storytelling basics
  • Serial formats (on the TV, web and beyond)
  • Storytelling in role-playing games
  • Interactive storytelling in video games
  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Alternate-reality gaming
  • Augmented reality and location-based storytelling
  • The role of tools, interfaces and information architectures in current storytelling

Anyway, it looks pretty darn useful — and fun! — so here’s the link again if you want to check it out:

Oh yes, and in other free news, the talented Misha Burnett will be offering his ebooks for free on Amazon this weekend, so click here to get a sneak preview:

That is all.


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My Book … In Chinese?

In her eternal attempts to be as adorable as possible, my mother phoned me up a few evenings ago practically bursting with excitement over her latest idea for marketing my book. And I’m happy to report that it is (possibly) a pretty good idea! So the idea is:

Hire my polyglot friend who speaks and writes Cantonese to translate my book, Imminent Danger, into Chinese … and then self-publish it to the Chinese market.

What do you guys think? Doable? Crazy? I know that Amazon KDP doesn’t currently have support for Chinese, but Smashwords does support Chinese, so … could it possibly work? Has anyone had any experience with translating and self-publishing an ebook? Share your wisdom with me!!!

To thank you in advance for your undoubtedly excellent advice, I present to you today’s …

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Camp NaNo + assorted updates

In a somewhat suspicious turn of events, my Camp NaNoWriMo attempts are going extremely well this year. As of thirty seconds ago, I am officially at 8,666 words — 43% of my goal for the month. And it’s only the 6th! Huzzah! I suppose it helps that I actually have a plan for what I’m writing — not an outline, of course, but more of a general “This happens, then this, then this.” I’m really excited, guys. Chasing Nonconformity is going to be epic. Well, as soon as I finish writing the darn thing, that is.

And I have new pictures for you! But first, let’s do a brief iUniverse update …


iUniverse update

Remember the pricing issue I was talking about? According to iUniverse, it is impossible to solve it. iUniverse sent out their recommended sales price, and now apparently the online retailers (Amazon, Kobo, etc.) have complete freedom over how much they want to sell the books for. Grrrr. So I said, “Dear iUniverse, if you can’t control the eBook price, can you at least make the physical books less expensive?” To which iUniverse responded that they used a base print-on-demand algorithm to determine the price, blah blah blah, and that the softcover price is fixed at $21.95, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Like heck they can’t.


Chapters update

On the other hand, my book is now in Chapters! Check it out:

2013-04-05 19.03.02


The Chapters people have been absolutely awesome, as you can see from the above image! The only thing they were obligated to do as part of my publishing package was put the book on the shelf, so the fact that they stuck it at the front of the store, on the top shelf, is beyond fantastic. Huge shout-out to the staff up at Chapters North, London!

I’ve also contacted their general manager about doing a book signing — no word back yet, but I have high hopes!


Other update

The lovely and talented Ms. Tania L Ramos is currently rocking Las Vegas on a writer’s getaway. She brought along Imminent Danger, and took this adorable, alien-themed photo:



Okay, enough bragging for one day. Off to work! But before I go, I shall leave you with your favourite part of my posts, the …


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The problem with not controlling your own book listings (ebook pricing silliness)

Update: The pricing problem seems to be related to which country you’re looking at and Kobo from. Americans see the proper price ($2.99), and then outside the USA it ranges from $7.69 up to $12. Eek!

In the latest silliness news, my ebooks (formerly priced around $2.99) may or may not have jumped up to $9.99. Now, this may not entirely be iUniverse’s fault — shocking, I know! Here’s what happened.

So on Monday I hopped on to to see if I got any new reviews for Imminent Danger. Pretty legit, right? But when I got there, I discovered  the kindle edition of the book is listed at $9.76. Um … what? So I checked,, and Kobo … all around the $9 range (well, Kobo is $7-ish). Very sketchy.

I contacted iUniverse, and they explained that while online retailers can bump your book up $2 or down $1 based on assorted promotions, it definitely shouldn’t be $9. First of all, that was news to me — I had assumed that when I listed a book as $2.99, it would stay $2.99. But apparently that’s not the case.

Anyway, further strangeness ensued when iUniverse informed me that they’d also gone to check out my book on Amazon … and found that it was listed as $4.99 — and then $2.99 on Kobo. They even sent screenshots to prove it. I don’t doubt them at all, so this begs the question … what the heck is going on? Has my computer been possessed?

If you have a spare second, please do me a favour and check out the following two links. I’m curious to know what price you see pop up on your screen for the ebooks. Is it just my computer malfunctioning, or is there some devious internet plot going on against me? So check these out and let me know what you find!

Imminent Danger on

Imminent Danger on Kobo

And I suppose this begs the question: would I be  having this problem if I’d gone the total self-publishing route and uploaded my book to these sites myself? It’s my understanding that you completely control the price, and they can’t touch it at all. Is that true? In which case, that’s a further strike against iUniverse — not because they did anything wrong in particular this time, but just because they apparently have no control over the pricing of their books.

Educate me, blogosphere! Also, I wish everyone a phenomenal Easter!!!

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Don’t forget to enter my Goodreads Giveaway! Click here for the awesomeness.

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One writer in search of a conclusion …

I am almost finished the first draft for the sequel to Imminent Danger — currently titled Chasing Nonconformity. It’s going really well. Eris and Varrin are up to their usual shenanigans, Miguri is fluffy and wise as ever, Grashk is doing a great job hissing at everyone, the settings are bizarre and fun, and the new characters I’ve introduced are all performing very well in their respective roles. There’s just one problem: I don’t know how to end the damn book.

I thought I had it all worked out, until I was informed that the ending I had planned was too depressing for my light-hearted series. Fair enough. So I re-worked the ending. And re-worked it again. And re-worked it again. And now I’m totally baffled.

I know I need an epic battle scene, possibly involving a chase of some sort, and lots of ridiculous one-liners thrown in at totally inappropriate moments. I have the big cliffhanger worked out, but beyond that … nada.

Watching Star Wars — Attack of the Clones last night helped. I think I’ve settled on the chase sequence, followed by a dramatic showdown at the __________ (Ha! Like I’m going to reveal that.) But I still haven’t quite worked out how they’re going to enter into said chase sequence, or how to tie up all the loose ends in the dramatic showdown. Sigh.

Any tips for conclusion-writing? I had everything worked out in Imminent Danger, but the ending for the sequel is maddeningly elusive. Any and all advice is welcome.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!


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Purchasing My Own Book — The Smart Way, and the iUniverse Way

As I promised yesterday, today I bring you the latest silliness from iUniverse. You’re actually very lucky, because I have not one, but two bits of silliness to share with you today. Ready?

Silliness #1: Incorrect Genre Classification

This one is probably a clerical error, but it’s a very silly, uniquely iUniverse error. Imminent Danger is a YA sci-fi book. That’s not a particularly difficult genre to remember, right? And yet, the vast majority of online retailers do not have it listed as YA sci-fi. It’s either children’s lit, or fantasy, or … God, I don’t even know.

This is a direct result of iUniverse mis-reporting the genre when they initially sent out my book back in January. As I find these incorrect genres, I send iUniverse a note asking them to fix it. And they’re happy to do it … with a 6-8 week processing time for the changes to take effect. Really? 6-8 weeks? I’m fairly confident that if I had direct control over my book, I could just pop onto the Amazon site, change the genre setting, and have it resolved within ten minutes.

So silliness #1 is iUniverse failing to submit my book under the correct genre, and then taking forever and a day to fix it. Sigh.

Update March 4, 2013: I just got a call from iUniverse, asking if my genre classification issue had been resolved. I explained the situation, and the lady was very helpful. She said that she would look into the problem and make sure that all the retailers have the correct genre information. So yay to iUniverse for following through!

Silliness #2: Overpriced Author-Discounted Books

When you publish a book, you want physical copies in hand to be able to hawk to passersby. iUniverse offers authors special discounts on buying books, which is basically the list price minus your author royalties, with a higher percentage off the list price based on how many copies you buy at a time. That last sentence probably made no sense. Here’s the table I whipped up to figure out how much my hardcover books will cost, per unit, purchased from iUniverse:

hardcover pricingI wanted about 50 hardcover to start off with. 50 hardcover, as you can see, works out to $20.77 per unit. Bear with me. recently put out a 10% discount coupon for their site. The hardcover of Imminent Danger is listed at $23.72 — $22.53 with my member discount card. ((Note that the book cover is still not shown on this site — this will also take 6-8 weeks for iUniverse to “fix”)).

Now, I get approximately $3 per hardcover sold in royalties. So. 50 books from iUniverse at $20.77 + shipping = $1181.19. 50 books from at $22.53 (plus 10% discount), minus ~150 for royalties I’ll get back, plus free shipping, plus tax = ~$995 (give or take).

That’s about $200 in savings by ordering books from instead of the company that’s producing the darn things. 

Plus there’s the weird side effect that those sales will actually count towards Imminent Danger’s sales ranking on Not what I intended, but … I guess a higher ranking isn’t something to complain about, right?

Now, to be fair, I did contact iUniverse to see if my calculations were correct, because I couldn’t believe that such a thing would be possible. The very nice gentleman I spoke with ran through the calculations with me, and concluded that, yes, it would be cheaper to buy them from a third-party source. He offered to give me a slightly higher discount, but with the cost of shipping, still worked out as being cheaper.

Silly, iUniverse. Very silly.

The only reason I can think they wouldn’t bend over backward to convince authors to buy directly from them is if they make the same amount of money off each book regardless of where the book is bought from. That seems like a strange business plan to me — buying direct from the source should always be cheaper, shouldn’t it? And it is cheaper if, as you’ll see in the above chart, you buy 250+ books. But who has that kind of money? I certainly don’t.

In conclusion …

iUniverse continues to be delightfully silly. I’m not too miffed with them, because I don’t think the incorrectly filed genre is going to hurt me too much over the next few weeks (hopefully), and I did find a way around their bizarre pricing scheme. I’ve actually started to really enjoy seeing what silliness they come up with next.

The next step in fulfilling my contract is getting my book into a local Chapters store for 8 weeks. I’m sure there’ll be lots of silliness involved with that. Stay tuned!

Unrelated video of the day:

Get ready for the crazy.

In Japan, there is a pop star named Hatsune Miku who is entirely computer generated — voice, appearance, everything. And she’s insanely popular. Here’s the wikipedia page on her. Here’s a video of her live, in concert … despite her not actually being alive. I believe holograms are involved.

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Awesome news! Imminent Danger is officially available for purchase!

Today is probably the best day of my life, because I can officially announce that my debut novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, is now for sale everywhere books are sold!

Imminent Danger_blog_soft cover


Right, calming down now. I suppose links might be helpful at this point, so let’s see what I can dig up …

Click here to buy a softcover from

Click here to buy a softcover from

Click here to buy an ebook from Kindle (US).

Click here to buy an ebook from Kindle (CA).

Click here to visit my website and see the complete list of online retailer options.

I’m trying to think of witty things to say here, but I’m just too gosh-darned psyched that I can finally call myself a published author. Many thanks in advance to the people who decide to give my creation a shot, and many thanks also to everyone who has supported me through this whole publishing adventure. You guys rock my proverbial socks, and I can give no higher praise than that.

To Imminent Danger! To publishing! To VICTORY!!!!!!


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