Category Archives: Publishing

Keep Calm and Write On

keep-calm.jpg

As I am preparing for my first ever book launch and realizing how little I know and how unprepared I am for this process, articles like the one below give me hope.

By the way, I still post articles to my Flipboard magazines. The article is from my Writer’s Corner, but check out the new articles in Pretty Pictures, Sci-Non-Fi, Heath Herald, and Focus on Filming.

Writing Insights Part One: Becoming A Writer by The Wayfinder

Image: A Divine Humour (Creative Commons)

Header Image: Thought Catalog

I’m still alive!

I just wanted you to know I’m still alive. In case you wondered.

Holiday

I’m sorry for not posting for over a week now. I actually have been on holiday, but my dear husband didn’t want me to announce that while we were away. As I had just read the news that a famous football player had been burgled after he posted an image of him and his family skiing in Europe on Instagram, I agreed with him. We didn’t get burgled.

Where did we go? Tuscany, Italy. It was beautiful there, albeit a little hot. At some point, we had the car registering 45°C! We went there with my husband’s family and had a great time.

Tuscany.jpg

In the meantime, we’ve been back for a week now and I’ve been working day and night on my Book 2 promotion. It is so much harder than I expected! Nothing seems to work with me.

Word

I have been struggling for about two days to get my three books (the Prequel, Book 1, and Book 2) to look the same (formatting-wise). I have been wrestling mostly to get the header and footer lines on the same height. Not that eBooks need headers and footers, but I had them originally formatted to be printed books (something that I’m going to postpone for now). Somehow, Word totally ignores you when you hit the ‘delete header/footer’ button. Yes, the text/numbering disappears, but the actual header/footer stays. So annoying. It took me forever to get them exactly on the same height (and not a mm off). If anybody else struggles with them, don’t hesitate to contact me. I think I can say I’m an expert now 🙂 .

Twitter

Next, I’ve been really pissed-off (pardon my French) with Twitter. I used to have an account called @JackyDahlhaus. Somehow this got deactivated due to spamming (accidentally, according to Twitter). I had no clue then and opted for another handle; @DahlhausJacky. As I’ve recently been looking into spreading ‘my brand’ over the social media, I was advised to have my brand name the same everywhere. Hence I needed to change my Twitter handle to my first one. I contacted Twitter and asked them to activate @JackyDahlhaus. ‘Sure, no problem,’ they said. And they did.

That’s when the problems started. As they activated the first account, they deactivated the second account. I lost all my followers (about 2500+ of them). No problem, I thought. I’ll just build it up again from scratch and get ‘real’ followers this time. People who actually read and like my books, not sexy snap-chatters, car sales people, or phoney army guys wanting ‘a friend’ and the likes. But when I tried to use the old account, it needed an email address first. I typed in my email address. ‘Sorry, this email address is already in use,’ was the message that popped up. Duh, of course it is, as it is attached to my second account. As this was now deactivated, I can’t get in it to remove the email address there. I have to wait thirty days to have it activated again. I’ve tried in multiple messages to Twitter to make them see the issue here, but all I get is automated responses with suggested actions that don’t help. Aaargh!

I have solved the problem for now with another email address I had made a while ago, but didn’t use. I’ll do for now. I just have to wait thirty days before I can have the other account activated again and remove my email address. would have been nice from Twitter to warn me to do this before they deactivated it.

Photoshop

Photoshop is another one of my peeves this week. It’s a great program and I love it, couldn’t do without it. Sometimes it drives me round the bend though. It’s not their fault, it’s my fault. I’m just not always as focused as I need to be and then I suddenly can’t find my images anymore. Or the black background of one book is not as black as the others, even though it’s made with the same ‘stock’ image. Or I can’t change a component of an image for no apparent reason. Very frustrating.

I’ll Live 🙂

I hear you think ‘She’s losing the plot!’ Not to worry. I’ll trundle on and make the most of it. I see this whole promo exercise as another learning curve. It’ll make it easier next time!

What Price to Set Your Book?

This week I tried to find the answer to this question; what to price your book? How do you value your work? Of course, I have worked very hard to write my books so I find them invaluable. How do readers value them though? What price will they pay to read it? This is what I’m trying to find out in this article.

Books_For_Sale_700.jpg

Some say that when you compare a book to a cup of coffee, the price of a cup of coffee is overrated (as it often costs more than an eBook). The coffee was made by the barista within a few minutes while it took a few months (if not years) to write your book. This, however, is a distorted and simplified vision. The coffee beans were grown in a field, nurtured by the farmer for weeks if not months as well, harvested, dried, roasted, and transported to where you are, and prepared the way you like to drink your cup of coffee. All the people involved in this, the farmer, the coffee roaster, the transporter, the barista, all need to get paid. When writing a book, it’s not much different. Apart from the writer, there is the editor, formatter, cover artist, and publisher that need to get paid. Yet people are willing to pay more for a cup of coffee than they are for your book. So how to price it in order for them to buy it?

If you have a publisher, you are very lucky. They will deal with the whole ‘selling of your book’ stuff. Not all publishers put in the same effort, though, and I’ve heard stories of authors that still need to do a lot of the advertising themselves. Most of us, unfortunately, have not been so lucky to find a publisher willing to take our book on. We’ll have to do the hard work of trying to sell our books ourselves.

You can’t get around Amazon as it’s the book seller nowadays. You don’t have to sell on Amazon, but with the reach they have at the moment, you’d be stupid not to. When you do, you’ll find out that Amazon makes a distinction between books priced under $3.00 and those priced $3.00 or higher. For the former, you only get 35% profit, the rest is pocketed by Amazon. For the latter, you earn a whopping 70% of the sale. It is tempting to price your book this high so you will earn more profit. Unfortunately, the effect is that not a lot of people will buy your book as they will find it too expensive. There is such a large offer available on the internet nowadays, with many books even offered for free, that most people don’t even want to pay for books at all anymore. True readers know that ‘you get what you pay for’ though and are willing to spend that little money to get something worth reading and only go for the free offers from tested (and liked) authors.

When I put my book on Amazon, I opted for the cheaper version. As I’ve only got one book to sell at the moment (soon three), I want people to try it out and get hooked. I’m no longer with KDP Select anymore, as I would like to try and sell my book elsewhere than just Amazon, so I can’t offer it for free (if I wanted to). Amazon will price match with other publishers (i.e. free), but you’ll have to ask them as this isn’t done automatically. I looked around on Amazon and it seemed that $0.99 is the absolute minimum that books are priced for when not offered for free and that’s what I priced my first book.

I wondered if I was selling too cheap so I did a (very small) study of vampire books on Amazon and came to the following conclusions:

  • There is no correlation between the number of pages and the price of the book. The number of pages varied from just over 200 to over 450, not including prequels (which are normally a lot shorter). The prices varied from £0.99 to nearly £5.00, some whole box sets were offered completely for free, but the price didn’t correspond to the number of pages.
  • Most stories are part of a series, with the first book priced cheaper than the subsequent ones, which are not always the same price. I find this strange, but perhaps the number of pages were not the same (I didn’t look into this, yet).
  • Price is not an indicator of the quality of the writing. Some were highly priced, but had bad reviews regarding grammar, punctuation, and formatting. One of the higher priced books had the worst reviews.

When taking into account these observations, I can only conclude that there is no real guideline to follow. Authors just do what they want. I’d have to do more research to find out what the results of these prices are (resulting in more/less reviews) and finding out what quality their writing is.

Authors of other genres have told me not to sell my work too cheap and never to give it away for free. True, it has cost me a lot of time, effort, and money and it is of good enough quality to ask for more rather than less. I like to think that my books are of better quality than some trash you find out there that make your toes curl with every misplaced comma, spelling error, and formatting faux pas. Nevertheless, I think I’ll keep my first book priced at £0.99 and will ask for more than that for Book 2 and 3 of the trilogy, but stay under the £3.00. I don’t have a following yet and I don’t think my work is of such high quality ( I know my work will never be literature)/number of pages to ask for more (it won’t be epic stories either). We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you up to date 😊 .

Memes

I don’t have a lot of memes this week. I’ve been too serious 🙂 .

Photo by Aris Sfakianakis on Unsplash

Fun Friday!

This is going to be a short post as I’m pretty busy organizing stuff at the moment (for my book of course 😀 ). I’ve learned a lot this past week about publishing and Damian Connolly, my friend from osfarg, has been tremendously helpful with this. He had his second book published recently and he shared his experience with me. I have also understood more about publishing with Kobo and other retailers online.

Most importantly, I have decided to let go of having my books available in print for a while. It is too stressful to get this done in time. I want to do it right this time round and will take my time to make it perfect.

Sorry for not getting deeper into what I’ve learned, but will let you know what and why later. I hope you still love me 🙂 .

Have to rush now as I’m going to watch the first screening of Aberdeenshire Film Production’s short film ‘Busted’!

Here are a few memes I gathered over the week. Note there are two Italian ones due to the fact I was chatting with my Italian twitter friend who studies foreign languages 🙂 .

Light Up The Night!

I accidentally came across this little video by Peter Dinklage. You must know by now I love Peter Dinklage’s work. I collected some of his movies where he plays a major role, like ‘The Station Agent,’ ‘Death at a Funeral,’ ‘Pete Smalls is Dead,’ and ‘Knights of Badassdom.’ It is a fraction of what he has done, but I love his work in these. Not to mention he plays a major role in my books of course 😀 . The text and video below shows his tenacity for doing what he loves and it is a great example and boost for all who want to achieve their dream.

Peter_Dinklage_Quote.jpg

 The video is about being an actor, but it could just as well apply to being a writer. It gave me the boost not to wait until everything is perfect and advertise my books. I haven’t done this so far as I didn’t think they were perfect yet. They’re close, but there’s always room for improvement 🙂 . Having a chat with another author yesterday evening and hearing how her book got completely changed by her publisher (yes, she’s got one!), I realized that it doesn’t matter my work isn’t perfect. I can advertise it and let people read my work as is. They’ll love it or hate it, but at least they’ll read it. Try and fail, then try again and fail bigger! Reach for the sky and the world is yours 🙂

Enjoy the video.

Fingers crossed!

I just provisionally signed the rights away for two of my stories, ‘Vampires Anonymous’ and ‘Rumour has it…,’ to #Create50! They will have the rights to publish for two years should they pick my story/stories from the one hundred and eighty-two shortlisted entries as one of the fifty winners for inclusion in their anthology, Twisted50 Vol.2. They have so many stories to chose from, they may even include them in a Vol.3. So fingers crossed!

Meme_Fingers_Crossed.jpg

 

Fun Friday!

And have we got some news for you! First of all, there was the ‘Meet the Authors‘ from Bloodhound Books on Saturday evening in London. I didn’t travel to London for that reason, but I couldn’t resist going while I was there. It was great to meet the persons behind the Facebook avatars. I talked to David Evans, Eva Jordan, David Videcette, saw Rob Sinclair, Ross Greenwood, Malcolm Hollindrake, Peter Best, and many more. I wished I had more time to talk to them all, but it’ll have to be another time.

I spent the next few days in London and picked up my kids’ friend from Australia. They thought we were going to pick up Nana from the airport, so it was a big surprise when their friend suddenly stood in front of them 🙂 . They’re never going to trust me again… The weather was gorgeous down south (see my photo of The Shard below), but we had to travel back to drizzly Aberdeenshire again on Wednesday.

The_Shard.jpg

Yesterday I read the great news that two of my short stories have made it to the shortlist of Twisted50 Vol.2. I am so excited about this! Fingers crossed they will find one good enough to become a finalist.

Twisted50

I’m afraid I haven’t got a lot of memes for you this week, but they’re nice ones. Enjoy!

Meeting Wendy H. Jones, Scottish crime writer

I just got back from a creative workshop in Elgin. It was organized by the Elgin Writers and the Scottish Association of Writers. The whole Meldrum Writers’ Club was invited, but unfortunately, I was the only one that attended from our group.

The morning started with a talk from Wendy H. Jones, a Scottish crime writer from Dundee. I was surprised to see her here. I knew her through the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group but had never met her in person. She was fun to listen to and had some interesting insights into marketing. The talk about marketing was the reason for me coming to the workshop and I’m glad I did as I learned some new marketing strategies from Wendy. It was also great to find out what a fun person she is.

You can get Wendy’s first book of the DI Shona McKenzie mysteries here. There are five books at the moment and the sixth one coming out soon!

Wendy_Jones2.jpg

 

Before lunch, we had a talk from a poet (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name) and were given some insight into how to write a poem. We had to fill in the blanks in a cathartic poem and some people read out what they had written. I found it way too personal and nobody is ever going to see what I wrote. Sorry 😀 .

After lunch, we had a talk from Claire Wingfield, a writer and editor. She didn’t have any visuals with her talk and it made it unclear what she wanted us to do in the workshop part of her talk. We figured it out when others began to cite their answers. She also gave us some insight in how she edits writers’ work and this was eye opening.

All in all, I had a great time, met some lovely people, made some connections, and learned some more on the business side of writing.

SAW.jpg

 

Banner photo by Thought Catalog at Unsplash

Thought Catalog

Stupidity

That moment when you find out that you have uploaded your book as a .docx file instead of a .htm file on Amazon…

Missing-Brains

Finding an Editor

As I am in the process of editing my second novel for a relaunch, I thought it would be a good idea to hire an editor to make it the best it can be. I know I fall into repetitions when I say my English is not my first language, but it really sucks at times, particularly regarding tenses (pardon the pun 🙂 ). I also realize you need an editor because you can never edit your own work.

GreatFriendsCanada.jpg

So where to find one? For my first book, I used someone from Canada (my book is in US English). She wasn’t a professional editor but offered her services to me for a fair price. She did a fantastic job and we have become close friends, still chatting on a daily basis. I don’t know if I got spoiled, but that’s what I’m looking for in an editor. It needs to be a relationship that ‘clicks.’ They need to feel where you’re going to with your story and help you make it better and help you become a better writer as well. Unfortunately, my friend is no longer available for editing due to time restraints and I need to look for someone else.

Usually, recommendations are the best. So I went with such a recommendation. I contacted this editor and she agreed to work with me on my novel. She said she would get a quote to me within the next 24 hours. That was Sunday. After prodding her three days later, I finally received her quote. It was near twice the price quoted on the website where her services were advertised. Two things happened. First of all, there was a short communication on excuses and, of course, her pricing. As the prices on her own website weren’t current either, she agreed on an (above) mean price. The most important thing for me, though, was that the vibe between us was gone. How could I work with her when she didn’t think my work was important enough to keep her word? Even though her pricing was still fair, I had to decline her services.

Trust

So I am looking for another editor again. Someone who likes what I write and feels the same way about it as I do, someone I can ‘click’ with. Anybody?

(Trust image from memesuper.com, by mrs marcia hunter)