Tag Archives: indie-authors

3-part article on reviews and reviewers

I woke this morning to find that Indies Unlimited had posted the first part of a three-part article I recently submitted. Damned timezones! Anyway, Part two comes out tomorrow, and Part three the day after.

Why should you care? Because it’s my first attempt at ‘investigative journalism’, that’s why!

No! I’m kidding. You should care because the article[s] tries to determine if :

a) Reviews make a difference to sales, and

b) There is any strategy that can increase the effectiveness of the reviews you do get.

Non authors will probably find these articles boring, but they do give an insight into how difficult it is to make any headway in marketing, and how desperate the need to be ‘seen’ can be.

So if you’re at all interested, head on over to Indies Unlimited.



Amazon KDP Australia? Help?

ImageI just found this email in my inbox :


We are excited to announce Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for Australia. Your KDP published book(s), where you have indicated publication rights, are now available in the Australia Kindle Store. While there is no immediate action needed on your part, you can review your title and account preferences by visiting your KDP Bookshelf.
Take advantage of these great benefits:
Publish easily – You can quickly and easily publish your books for Australian customers at kdp.amazon.com.au.
Reach more readers worldwide – Make your books available in the Australia Kindle Store and in more than 175 countries worldwide.
Earn up to 70% royalties – Adjust your list price in Australian dollars for the local market and be eligible to earn up to a 70% royalty for book sales to customers in Australia and New Zealand.
Get paid in Australian dollars – Receive payment in your local currency for book sales, if your bank account is in Australia, and track your progress with KDP sales reporting detailed by marketplace.
Visit your KDP Bookshelf today.

Kind regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team”

Does anyone know anything about this? As my ebooks are already published via KDP Amazon.com I’m not sure how or why an aussie author would benefit.

If we publish via  kdp.amazon.com.au we get paid in AUD…but does that apply only to sales here in Australia? What about international sales?

I have a ton of questions and no answers. Can anyone help?



Survey : Only 1.52% of readers like science fiction

Q4 What is your favorite genre of fiction?
Mystery: 4.81%
Thriller: 1.97%
Romance: 81.02%
Science Fiction: 1.52%
Other: 10.67%

Those results come from a survey of 2,951 readers taken by Marie Force
[New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author]. As Marie Force is a Contemporary Romance writer, and would attract a lot of romance readers to her blog – and hence the survey – the results are not exactly unbiased. But they are still disturbing if you don’t write romance.

Not surprisingly, the most popular genre was Romance, and the most popular retailer was Amazon, however some of the other results were real eye-openers, at least for me. Apparently Twitter is not a very useful way to promote our books. The crown for marketing goes to Facebook. -sigh-

If you’re an indie author like me, you might want to read the whole article, especially the specific questions and answers, as that is where you will find the most relevant information for your own genre.  Taken with a small grain of salt, this is a great resource, and I highly recommend it.

You can find the complete article here :


Now I’m going to go cry in my coffee. 1.52%? Talk about feeling unloved. 😦



First Chapters – Indies Unlimited

In the whirlwind of the last few weeks, I almost missed this innovative book idea by Indies Unlimited.

First Chapters is an anthology of exactly that – the first chapters of a whole heap of books by Indies Unlimited contributors – including yours truly. 😀

whitman sampler

Pic courtesy Russell Stover

It’s like a sampler box of chocolates – a taste of each flavour so you can decided which ones you like the best.

As Indies Unlimited prides itself on the quality of the writers ‘on staff’, this is a good deal for readers because they can find excellent indie books all in one place. I’ve read quite a few of the books you can sample, and I have enjoyed all of them, so I’m proud to be associated with so many really good Indie writers.

For authors, it’s also a good deal because our work becomes more visible, and visibility is the name of the game in e-publishing.

If you get a chance, please check out First Chapters on Amazon. I know you won’t be disappointed. I do warn you though, you may find yourselves buying a lot of ‘chocolate’. 😀



p.s. My first day at ‘school’ went really well. I was particularly relieved to find that many of the 16 participants were my age-ish, and everyone was interesting. Now I have to go do my homework. -sigh-


“Presenter [to camera]: Hi there! If you’ve had a tough week, spare a thought for local banana seller Jan Dopeski, who not only lost his business, but also nearly got lynched when he decided to try out Amazon KDP Select’s business model by giving away his bananas for one day!….”

I just had to reblog this hilarious post by author Chris James. To read the entire post – highly recommended! – click the link below :


Happy Sunday,


Earning Your Place – reblogged from CaressingTheMuse

This post by Stephanie Allen Crist really hit the spot for me today. I’ll comment at the end.

Earning Your Place
Posted on April 20, 2013 by Stephanie Allen Crist

“In most people’s minds, marketing is about promoting a product or service. It’s about advertising. It’s about sales.

But the full cycle of marketing involves discovering what customers want, providing customers with products and services they want, reaching out to them so they know how to get it, and analyzing your results.

Simply put, you don’t start with a pitch. You start with a product or service that’s worth pitching. In your case, that means you start with a book that’s worth reading.

It could be said that people (at least some of them) on the bestsellers’ lists write crap churned out for the masses. There’s some truth to that, though not as much as the struggling writer likes to tell him/herself. The thing of it is that these writers know or stumble upon the secret to sales: Giving customers what they want.

This doesn’t mean following the hottest trends to make the best sales, though people do that, too. Let’s assume for the moment that you don’t work that way. Most writers don’t.

Instead, take it to mean producing the best book you can and then finding the people who will want it. It might not be the masses, and that’s okay. The thing of it is, though, you have to find them, at least at the start. When you’re building your initial following, you have to go out and look for people who might like your book. Then, you share your message, i.e. your pitch, with them.

So, to earn your place among successful authors, you need to:
Write the best book you can.
Find the people who will want to read it.
Tell them about your book.

If you do, then you will earn your place. If you do it well, you’ll earn your living. You might even become a bestseller in the process.”


This is the bit that made those little bells start ringing in my head :

 “…producing the best book you can and then finding the people who will want it.”

As soon as I read that [words in bold] it hit me that I have spent my whole life looking for kindred spirits, people who will like the kind of person I am, people who will accept me for who I am.

I can tell you right now that I do not have many real life friends who fall into that category. But. The friends I do have are friends for life. We have grown together, suffered together, supported each other in bad times and laughed like crazy during the good times. I would walk over hot coals for these kindred spirits of mine!

But what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. 

Just as I could never be the uber popular person with a million friends and acquaintances, I cannot become the uber popular writer whose work is loved by all. That will never happen because I am not that kind of person, and will never be able to write that kind of book. But I can reach out to readers who are kindred spirits and share my work with them. And that is exactly what I am going to do.

Love ya!


Misinformation about Indie publishing – Updated April 4, 2013

Candy Korman posted a link in comments to a LinkedIn member who had been scammed. Thanks Candy. So then I approached Indies Unlimited in the hope they would do an article about it. Kat Brooks from IU replied with a link to an article they had already run on exactly this company, and this type of scam. I recommend all Indies check it out :



This is not the post I meant to write today, but it is too important to put off. If you are an Indie author, or are simply thinking about becoming an Indie author, this article by Martin Crosbie is a must read.

In the article, Crosbie talks about the misinformation he heard at the BC Writer’s Federation presentation for new Indie authors. This presentation was meant to help Indie authors. Instead, much of it was self-serving, erroneous crap codswallop designed to scam entice Indies to pay for ‘help’ from … Bah! Just read this short extract :

“She [the presenter] talked about improper copyright pages and she spoke about all the things that can’t be done and then she talked about classes she offered on how to avoid all these calamitous circumstances.”

The above so-called expert has self-published one novel, and by her Amazon ranking,  sells about one copy per month!

Being an Indie author is not easy, but twaddle like this makes it even harder.  Please follow the link below to the full article, and if you know anyone who would benefit from this real information, please pass it on.


And if, like me, you sniff a conspiracy here… you’d probably be right!


Patience conquers all

I can’t remember where or when I first came across the saying ‘love conquers all’ but I know the expectation has stalked me for most of my life. I expected that tiny kitten to make a miraculous recovery. It didn’t. I expected my parents would let me keep that sad eyed puppy. They didn’t. I expected to meet the man of my dreams by age 22 and to have the beginnings of a family by at least 24. I didn’t and I didn’t.  I did fall fall in love a number of times and I even experienced the ‘Grand Passion’ a couple of times but it seemed that the more I loved the less likely it was that the object of my affections would love me back.

In my 30’s I did finally meet a gorgeous, clever man who said yes when I jokingly asked him to marry me and we did have one amazing daughter but the ‘death us do part’ clause must have been lost in translation because it became  ‘divorce us do part’ some years later. So I’m no longer convinced that love does conquer all, especially when I see so much unnecessary hatred in the world. To be honest I’m not quite sure what would constitute necessary hatred but I know that hatred of race or religion or sexual orientation is a hate we can do without.

Yet if love is not transforming the world then what’s left? Do we just shrug and throw up our hands in despair?

Not on your nelly! With the wisdom of advanced middle age I’m here to tell you that the one, true, indomitable force in the world is… ta dah… patience! And maybe a soupçon of persistence. [soupçon : just a touch, an itty bitty bit, a hint, a whisper…]

Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Yes, that’s the one – slow, steady tortoise wins the race while loud, flashy hare snoozes just before the finish line. In many ways we are all wabbits; we all want to get there fast, we want to make it happen now, right this instant or at least within the next five minutes and when we take longer than expected we sulk and have a snooze.

The modern media doesn’t help. Our expectations are always being fueled by the latest wonderkind, the newest overnight sensation, all of whom apparently just skipped their way towards superstardom or mega riches without putting a curl out of place. That is the ideal of success. If you have to work for it or if it takes 20 years to make it big then somehow the achievement is devalued and it definitely isn’t sexy. And we all want sexy, right?

Well, we may all want sexy but the biggest achievements of all owe more to plodding than to sprinting. Did someone wave a magic wand to make the Berlin Wall tumble down? Nope, it took time and patience and persistence. Did Nelson Mandela rid South Africa of Apartheid by machine gunning all the white politicians? Nope, apartheid died a little bit at a time thanks to the patience and persistence of a lot of people whose names will never be known. In 50 years time I hope the same will be said of climate change – that a lot of nameless people working together finally achieved the goal that governments could not.

Plodding people – that is what gets the job done. Plodding and patience and persistence. And those three P’s are just as powerful in the lives of individuals as they are in the life of the global community. Yes there are instances of mad, amazing good luck that seem to come out of nowhere but if you look closely enough you’ll see the good luck is just the tip of ye olde iceberg. Luck can’t work in a vacuum; it has to have something to work on and 99 times out of 100 that something was created by years of patience effort.

Don’t believe me? Well how about the case of my friend Alex Laybourne? Alex is an indie writer who has been juggling a day job, a family he adores and the passion to write.  For years. Alex did all the ‘right things’ in terms of marketing but the success he dreamt about stayed illusive. Until just about a week ago when he was offered a two book contract by a publisher! The offer seemed to come out of the blue but I know that it would never have happened if Alex had not put so much effort into his writing and his marketing. Nonetheless I suspect that in the not too distant future Alex is going to become one of those overnight successes we spoke about earlier. But you and I will know that he worked his butt off before lady luck finally smiled on him. He was patient and he was persistent and he made it over the finish line.

I’m sure that if you scratch below the surface [yes Daud I know, I’m using up my quota of cliches very quickly but it’s in a good cause!] you will find a million hard-working overnight successes like Alex. They all earned their good fortune through patience and persistence and so will you. By ‘you’ I mean all the other wonderful indie authors out there. I already know some of you and I’m finding more and more every day. You are funny, brilliant, quirky people who write funny, brilliant and innovative stories. Then you polish those stories until they shine. That takes time and effort and dedication [not to mention a pretty strong grasp of the English language].  And after that you work even harder just to be seen.

To all of you hard-working, dedicated writers I say – be patient! Lady luck may be a bit fickle at the moment but you have all the time in the world. There is no use-by date for creativity. So what if you have to gum your food? So what if you get arthritis in your fingers? Voice recognition software is coming along in leaps and bounds so by the time you can’t type any more you’ll be able to throw away your keyboards and just dictate your stories!  [Note : false teeth might make dictation a bit easier, just a thought].

By now I hope that I have convinced everyone of the power of patience. If any of you still have doubts please contact me after the lecture…um I mean the pep talk… and I’ll box your ears for being slow on the uptake 😉

p.s. I’m open to donations of wine [shiraz or merlot], chocolates [dark only] and meals-on-wheels at any time. Sadly I can’t accept nuts any more, they’re just a bit too hard to chew.

20 Kindle power

Ok, I admit it – the title was me trying to be clever but if you stick with me all will be revealed!

Candlepower or candela is a way of measuring luminosity and dates back to the days when we used candles. So 20 candlepower would be the equivalent of the light provided by 20 candles [all lit of course]. And then along came Edison with his electric light bulb. Now candles are relegated to the utility draw where they wait, unused and unloved until a birthday cake comes along or a blackout or a romantic dinner for two.

Sadly, the advent of e-readers like the Kindle  is going to do to books what the light bulb did to candles. Books may not become collectors’ items for a generation or two yet, but we can see the demise of the mass market paperback already in the sales figures coming out of Amazon. Ebook sales are soaring as more and more people like me discover how convenient and cheap ebooks are. In the past I would only buy books written by my favourite authors because here in Australia books can cost up to $30 AUD. Each. That is an investment not an impulse buy. With my Kindle though I can buy an ebook by an unknown author for as little as 0.99c.

And this brings me to the meaning of my title – I have downloaded 20 ebooks in the last month thanks to Kindle power.  Of that first 20  I have read 19. I will probably never finish that last unread book because it was not well written and annoyed me. In the past I would have agonized over wasting the price of a book but now I can happily move on to the next promising story because none of them cost more than the price of one decent latte.

Cost is not the only benefit of ebooks though;  freedom to explore is just as important. In the last month I have discovered some wonderful new writers – Mary Robinette Kowal, Candy Korman, Lord David Prosser, Stephen Faulds –  many of whom are self-published indie authors whose books never appear on the shelves of traditional bookshops. Without ebooks I would never have discovered them. For that alone my Kindle has been worth the investment but it has other, less obvious benefits as well. I’m getting horribly short-sighted so the ability to adjust the font is a god send. Now I can read in comfort without having to wear those horrible reading glasses that make the world swim whenever you look up from the page.  Another benefit is that I can sling my Kindle in my bag and take it with me wherever I go  – without feeling as if I’m carrying a brick in my bag!

I still love the look and feel of real books and I always will but in the future I will be choosing the ones I want to own and keep in a very  different way.  Instead of browsing the shelves of bookshops and taking a punt on a book that ‘looks interesting’ I will be reading the ebook version first. If it lives up to expectations and is a ‘keeper’ then I will buy the hard copy version and give it a home on my own bookshelves. That is the power of the ebook. That is the power of my Kindle.

Something is always lost when new technology comes along so I feel sad to think that my great, great, grandchildren may only see paper books in museums but it’s always better to swim with the tide than to drown trying to swim against it.  Vive le livrel!

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