Link of the Week – The Digital Reader – Amazon Pruning

June 21, 2016

Is Amazon at it again? Would you, the author, be surprised? Amazon has cut ties with ebook newsletter services that have affiliate accounts with the giant. Bye-bye Fussy Librian, Pixel of Ink and  eReaderIQ. Sure, we all want the reader experience to improve. But at what cost to the writers? Read about it at The Digital Reader.

Amazon Lowers the Boom on Discount eBook Sites

Read this article posted back in May.

Is Amazon Purging eBook Promotion Letters?

And in case you hadn’t heard that Goodreads (owned by Amazon) is getting into the ebook discount business (Whaaat? Have you been living under a rock?)  Move Over BookBub, Fussy Librarian – Goodreads is Getting into eBook Discounts

From Goodreads’ Blog:

Discuss this amongst yourselves. 🙂

Carina Press Uncensored

July 12, 2013

I thought I would pass along some very cool information to those authors who might me attending the Romance Writers of America 33rd Annual Conference in Atlanta next week. My publisher, Carina Press is doing a little something different for their spotlight. In the name of transparency, there will be an uncensored, honest discussion of Carina Press. What works, what doesn’t. Why the publisher is good for some authors, and not others. And a unique Q&A with and without Carina Press Staff. Read more about it here!

Look for me. I will be there!


MuseTracks Link of the Week – KindleGraph

May 22, 2012

Want to get an autograph on your favorite e-book on your Kindle but don’t know how? Are you e-published and want to know how you can offer a signature on your digital works available on the Kindle? Check out this awesome and FREE site!

You can get and make personalized inscriptions that go directly to e-reading device. How cool is that?

Try it out and request a signed cover from me.


The Power Of Knowledge- Turn It Into Money

March 29, 2012

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.- Matthew Arnold


Do you want to make money?

I’m not sure, but I would guess every person reading this article will answer with a resounding YES! I know I do. I also know that it’s not enough to simply write a good book. This brave new world we’ve entered with the advent of self publishing and e-readers has changed our industry forever. We are now responsible for the business as well as the creative side of making books. (This is true no matter which avenue you take to publishing.) Most sectors of business change over the course of years, we’ve seen huge upheavals in the course of a few months.

Because of the shifting landscape, it is our responsibility to stay current with market research and business strategies for our careers. This takes a bit of time and effort, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A writer can educate themselves by reading blogs, like Muse Tracks, and researching the internet. I decided to take my own advice and have been studying trends and tricks of selling books.

This is me doing the research!

We know e-book consumers are increasing their buying power, both in print and e formats. More people are buying more books online to the detriment of the traditional brick and mortar book stores. Obviously, the ease and number of e-readers on the market has influenced this trend immensely, but a sky rocketing segment of this is found in-app purchasing. According to the Book Industry Study Group-   which publishes Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading shows that more than half of e-book readers increased their use of using apps to buy books and more than one third of them increased their buying at sites like Amazon. A huge percentage of them said that they’ve significantly decreased their spending at book stores.

Their findings show that dedicated e-readers are still the most used platform for reading books, but even that has changed over the last few months. Take a look at these numbers:

-17% said they are now using tablets, which is up from 13%.

-Smartphones used as readers has gone from 5.3 to 9.2%

– Dedicated e-readers has dropped from 71.6% to 60.9%. Even so, sales for the Kindle jumped 175% between Black Friday and Christmas of this past year.

So how do these numbers translate into dollars and cents? The book trade as a whole has grown and profited over the last year, but the e-book trade has led the way jumping from 73.2 to 128.8 million dollars. That’s a 76% increase in just one year!

This is huge!

So what do you do with this information? E buying, whether print or e-book, is still fueled by the traditional method of “word of mouth”. We all want to read a good book so we listen to our friends. The trick is to take that time honored method and apply it to our digital age. “Word of mouth” now has the ability to extend far beyond a writer’s immediate little world. It’s called social media.

Indie/self published authors have blazed a path of marketing through this outlet pushing their sales to new heights. I was very interested to learn that traditional publishing houses are taking note of this grassroots effort and are using it as well. An anthology will soon be released through a major publishing house and they have each of their authors creating street teams to help market the book. Each author sends out a request to their friends asking them to sign up for a specific week to Facebook, Twitter, blog etc. about the upcoming book. It has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. (Interesting twist that traditional publishing is taking a cue from the lowly writers who have made their own path.)

Let me be clear- I am not a business type person. I have trouble keeping my check book balanced, however I am NOT stupid. If I want to steer my writing career, I have to have the knowledge. Knowledge is power, knowledge translates into making money and as we’ve already decided, we all want to do that!

Take some responsibility! by Candi Wall

September 12, 2011

So I hit the purchase button the other night SEVEN times. Yeah, you heard me right. Seven times. For a grand total of $21. and some change.

I don’t part easily with my money, except when it comes to books. I could spend THOUSANDS. (Checking to make sure hubby didn’t read that.) Below is what my house will probably look like some day.

I usually don’t complain. But here’s the thing. I read the first book – LOVED IT – and went on to the next. It was a .99 cent purchase from an author I didn’t know, self-pubbed and I liked the premise. Hey I’ll give anyone a chance. ONCE.

I hadn’t reached the end of the first chapter when I realized I’d given my money away for nothing. I groaned, archived the sucker and went on to the next one. The next wasn’t as bad, but there was a plot hole the size of Jupiter about midway through and by this point I was losing interest in the hero. Too bad, because it started off as a good read. Darn.

I’ve twittered several times about this as well, venting my frustration for the self-pubbed authors who are making other self-pubbed author look bad. Every reader who has a bad experience with a self-pubbed book makes it harder for other authors to sell! Argh, the frustration! And I’m not even self-pubbed.

At this point, hubby was starting to get sick of my ‘waspish’ attitude. After three more days, my results were:

Seven purchases

1- Loved

2- Liked

4- Couldn’t finish

I know – it’s a crap shoot right?!?

NO! It isn’t.

And here’s where dear hubby had all he was going to take.

In his words…

“What did you expect, hon?” Raising a quizzical brow. “If you go to Wal-Mart and buy a vacuum for twenty bucks, you get what you pay for. It’s like buying toilet paper at the dollar store. It ain’t gonna hold up.” (Yep, I’m married to a thinner version of Larry the Cable Guy.)

Well how dare he. I have friends who self publish. That’s not fair! (Insert indignant foot-stomping) “There are tons of authors out there with brilliant books!”

“Really?” says hubby. “Then you would think you’d do your homework before you buy.”

GADS! He’s SO right. And I’m so not going to tell him that. Sheesh.

What was I thinking?!?

We’ve been spoiled peeps. Let’s face it. The publishers we’ve come to trust have given us so many great books, we may have forgotten how to check the products first. Don’t get me wrong, one person’s crap is another’s gold. I hate what you love at times and visa-versa. But we came to rely on what they put out there.

Now if we, the consumer, are going to gripe about prices and go elsewhere to read at super cheap prices, we’ll have to start doing our own research. We’re spoiled again however, because there is this ingenious little thing called the World Wide Web. Search engines abound, and at any time, we can sluice through the crap to ferret out the truth, or at least get a sense of what we’re getting into.

Here’s my new list of things I check BEFORE I purchase:

  • Google the author
  • Do they have blogs?
  • Reviews? (Other than where I’m purchasing from and checking the author’s responses to reviews)
  • Any other books out?
  • Website?
  • And of course – I ask my writing/reading pals
Seems like a lot of work, but hey, there are some amazing authors out there getting lost in the shuffle of self-pubbing. I want to find, support and enjoy them. If that means I have to do a few minutes of research, so be it. I’m a big girl, I can handle the responsibility of checking out my purchase’s history beforehand. After all, who wants a $20 vacuum that doesn’t work, when you can get the fantastic $5 super sweeper that might just be the next big thing?
So take some responsibility as readers! Check it out first.

Sell Your Body….I Mean Your Book

May 26, 2011

By: Stacey Purcell

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.  ~Agatha Christie

Change is afoot in the publishing industry and at Muse Tracks. Like many other authors around the world, Jenn has e-published her novel Blood and Treasure and two of our dear friends, who were guests here, have published theirs. Will Graham (William Simon) wrote Street Heat and Melissa Ohnoutka presented Faithful Deceptions. I appear to be the slow turtle out of our group, but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting on the sidelines twiddling my thumbs. The big question that I’m researching and spending hours reading advice from various experts is, “Now what?”

Sounds simple.

It’s just two little words, and fairly unremarkable ones at that. However, nothing is as it seems and this is no exception. Did you think writing your book was difficult? Hang on to your chairs the ride has only begun! If you have taken this road or are even contemplating taking control of the publishing of your book, there’s a lot to learn. Once upon a time authors had the luxury of leaving the marketing up to their publishers, but that time is much like a fairy tale told in a faraway land. Even if you pursue a traditional publishing house, much of the marketing is still on your shoulders. What can you do?

There’s power in numbers. Group together with your friends and help one another get your name out in the public. Use all the social networks to accomplish this. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, web sites etc. are a great way to support one another. They say that the average number of “friends” a person has is around 120. Most people I know have more than that. If you band together with five of your friends then you have increased your ability to get your name in front of folks to, at least, 600.  Do you see how this can mushroom? Throw in Twitter and all the rest, you can spread yourself over 1000 individuals. Be creative.

Let’s talk about Amazon. Take your group of five friends and do things like tag each others’ books, write reviews, and “like” their author pages. This gives the immediate feeling of a book that has a lot of traffic. Traffic begets more traffic which begets sales.  I also noticed that if you buy each other’s books, then when someone else goes to one of your books, it automatically brings up the others as books that may be of interest to the buyer. You can also create lists on the listmania portion of Amazon. I created one with my favorite romance books listed- one more way to get their names in front of other shoppers. Be creative.

What about the product itself? It’s hard to go to conferences or other venues where you have the opportunity to sell your book and you don’t have tangible product to give to a customer. You can either buy some print-on-demand copies to sell or you can give them an autographed postcard with your cover printed on it and hope like crazy they go home and buy your book. I don’t think your success rate for the latter choice will be very good. People forget.

How do you sell a virtual object? Dean Wesley has a terrific idea!  Make your book into a gift card with your cover as the front. The customer pays for the cool card which will have a code on it to access your book online for downloading. I thought this was a stroke of brilliance. Now you have something you can sell at small gatherings, schools, conferences, book launches etc. The possibilities are endless. You could even use them as free giveaways for promotion. Be creative.

These ideas are only scratching the surface of what you can do to increase your sales. The one consistent idea I hope you get from this article is to be CREATIVE. Marketing is an art that you can cultivate. It takes time and hard work, but we’re good at thinking out of the box. We can do it!

From Script to eBook

May 19, 2011

Frequent MuseTracks guest  William Simon is at it again. William describes how his recent release STREET HEAT found its way into the digital world of eBooks.

So without further ado, take it away, Will.

Long ago and far away (wow, almost twenty years ago!), I was determined to be a screenwriter for television and movies.  Came close a couple of times, but never really broke through.  I was determined, though, and, uh, well, maybe a tiny bit stubborn.  (cough, cough)

I wrote and submitted a spec script for a network series that I personally really liked quite a bit.  The characters were complicated and layered, there wasn’t always a happy ending, and the show tackled some serious issues before anyone else.  While a lot of it was exaggerated and ‘Hollywooded’ up, it was a more than pleasant way to kill an hour once a week.  (I am deliberately not naming the series for several reasons not worth going into.)  I had landed an agent at the time, things were going nicely, when the show was abruptly yanked off the air with no explanation.  To this day, I don’t know what happened, why it was cancelled, or just what went down.

Okay, this happens.  Things like this happen a lot more than most people realize.  The fact anything gets filmed, anything gets released, or a series actually makes it on the air is such an incredible long shot.  To be a success, well, someone just won the lottery and got struck by lightning simultaneously.

Anyway, I really liked the script, and it eventually dawned on me it could easily become a novel, hopefully the start of a series.  Of course, I couldn’t use the original series premise, so I started from scratch with a former police detective turned best-selling mystery novelist.  (This was 1991, so any comparisons to a current TV series featuring a best-selling mystery writer who ‘really IS Ruggedly Handsome’ don’t count.)  I wrote it the way I now saw it, and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

I sent it out to anyone and everyone I could think of.  Got some terrific rejections along the lines of “I really loved this, but my partner/associate felt it lacked a certain ‘something’ that prevents us from extending an offer at this time.”  Some editors responded with similar thoughts, others a form rejection.  Eventually, I slapped it on a diskette (remember those?) and filed it because writers never throw anything out.

Time passed.  The Y2K shenanigans came and went, the horrendous events of September 11, 2001 happened.  Technology moved forward at an alarming pace, the world changed, and then something came along I couldn’t believe:  the Kindle.

I’ll be the first to eat some crow on this.  I didn’t believe the Kindle would work, I didn’t agree with the concept at all of eBooks.  I want a BOOK book, not an electronic pad that I flick a finger on.  I want to turn a page, I want the smell of a new book, I want the feel of it in my hands.  Then I bought an iPad, and my world view shifted.  Dramatically.

Some friends of mine tried publishing their work as an eBook.  Some of them had terrific success, others sold slow and steady; kind of like Real Life Publishing.  After thinking and cogitating and mulling, I decided ‘what the heck’, dug out the diskette (with WordStar documents, if you remember that one), and decided to pull the trigger… so to speak!

For better or for worse, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead, and a rousing cry of ‘Excelsior!’:

STREET HEAT, under the pseudonym ‘Will Graham’.

We’ll see what happens next….

William Simon is the owner and lead investigator of a licensed firm specializing in computer forensics and electronic evidence.  His fiction  has been published in the anthology MURDER BY MAGIC, “Suspense Magazine”, and the forthcoming THRILLER III from ITW, due Summer 2012.