To Share or Not to Share?

Bruce Witzel photo

I’m guest posting over on the Alliance of Independent Authors Self-Publishing Advice Blog today. My topic is the sometimes tricky issue of sharing our manuscripts with the significant others in our lives.

Please pop over and check it out.  How to Share Your Manuscript with Your Partner.

Assisted Self-Publishing or Not–Final Thoughts

Gallery - Phoenix - Bruce Witzel photo

At the risk of being boring …. ah, well, I’ll take the chance. I’d like to share a couple of final thoughts on the whole re-release process for Disappearing in Plain Sight.

Reviews from the previous edition ….

I am pleased to report that all the wonderful four and five star reviews Disappearing in Plain Sight has received over the last two years have tagged along to the new edition and this has happened on all Amazon sites. The trick is to keep the exact title and author. As well, one must make no significant changes to the body of the work. I had worried that adding Crater Lake Series – Book One to the title might equal change but it didn’t. I was able to change publication date, ISBN and the publisher and still keep my precious reviews.

Like most things – the process was less painful than I anticipated ….

  • The assisted self-publisher threw up no roadblocks when it came to letting me go.
  • Preparing the final Word document/manuscript of Disappearing in Plain Sight for my e-formatter amounted to more than a few hours of work but I have some experience with what is required after having gone twice through the drill.
  • Obtaining an ISBN in Canada is easy and free.
  • When one has properly formatted mobi and ePub files, a cover than meets specifications and all other relevant information (ISBN, publisher name, book blurb, categories, tags, price) – putting the book up for sale on most sites is very quick.

Advantages of re-gaining control of the first book in the Crater Lake Series … Huge!

  • I was able to make it clear that Disappearing in Plain Sight is the first book of a series.
  • I included a sneak-peak preview of Chapter One of The Light Never Lies at the end of the e-book to push sales further down the line of the series.
  • I can now track sales hourly (if I was so crazy as to try!) on all books rather than having to wait a month after any sale to see how Disappearing in Plain Sight was doing.
  • I can set the price and I can change it if I so desire.
  • When the Crater Lake Series is complete, I will have the option to release all the books as a boxed set. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without control of the first book in the series.
  • My royalty is fifty cents more per e-book sale. That is significant on a product that sells for $3.99.

Work left to do ….

I am currently formatting for the softcover edition through CreateSpace. This is a time consuming task and I take it a bit at a time. We must redesign the cover to include the Huckleberry Haven Publishing logo and to indicate the book is part of the Crater Lake Series. I’m awaiting final approval to be entered into Smashwords Premium Catalogue which will mean the new edition of Disappearing in Plain Sight will be available for Nook readers and through the iTunes Store. A similar process is ongoing for entry into the Kobo Store. I’m slowly but surely rooting out non-working links to the old distribution channels on all social media sites and replacing them with the new links.

Final Word ….

Take the plunge. If you went the assisted self-publisher route and now feel the need to regain control – go for it. Hopefully, you’ll feel as I do at the end of the process – glad. And if you’re wavering about going it on your own or using an assisted self-publisher, I say take the leap over the cliff on your own. That way you won’t have to back track later.

Yosemite - Bruce Witzel photo

5-Star Review of Disappearing in Plain Sight

DPS - Cover - Guenette

As I revel in the re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight under my own author imprint (Huckleberry Haven Publishing), I wanted to share one of the first reviews I received for this book. As you can imagine, Sarah Stewart’s thoughtful 5-star review on Amazon.ca meant a lot to a newly published author!

I read upwards of ten books a month in my work as an editor (and my life as a book lover), and it’s quite rare for me to encounter a story that stays with me for months afterward. This book did just that rare thing for me. Though I read the book in the fall, one day recently I found myself wondering about a couple of its characters in the same way I wonder about old friends I haven’t heard from for a while. “How’s she doing?” I thought about Lisa Marie, one of the book’s protagonists.

I crave getting enveloped in a story, one that is entertaining and well-paced, but intelligent too. I love it when novels deal in equal measure with interpersonal relationships/ romances and more systemic issues such as bullying, trauma, and oppression. As such, I devoured this story, felt attached to the characters, and was sorry when it was over. Not to mention that her beautiful prose made me yearn for the rugged west coast that I’d moved from not long before I read it. These are all marks of a wonderful book for me. Disappearing in Plain Sight is well worth reading.

Please take a moment to visit an Amazon site of your choice and check out the re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight. So many little actions help a new listing on Amazon and a click through to view is always good.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

I’ll leave you today with one of my favourite signs of spring. A delicate crocus poking out to the sun.

Crocus - Guenette photo

Re-Release Party for Disappearing in Plain Sight

DPS_KindleCover

The re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight under the Huckleberry Haven Publishing imprint has rushed along faster than I anticipated.

You can help me celebrate today by popping over to visit Disappearing in Plain Sight on Amazon.com  or Amazon UK or Amazon.ca and, if you’ve ever been curious to read one of my books but haven’t yet taken the plunge, now might be the time to load up Disappearing in Plain Sight on your Kindle. Even a visit over to the site is a big help.

If you’ve already read Disappearing in Plain Sight – and thanks so much!! – and haven’t yet reviewed, now would be a great time to place a review up for the re-released version. Same book – only change is a new imprint. A review doesn’t have to be lengthy – just saying.

The assisted self-publisher is scheduled to take their version down on Feb. 23rd, so I expect some confusion will reign for the next couple of days while the old and new floats out there in the Amazon world. I am hopeful that my 30-plus, four and five star reviews will eventually find their way to the page of the newly released version.

A big shout of thanks to e-book formatter Doug Heatherly over at Lighthouse24 for yet another smooth and easy trip from my Word file to mobi and ePub versions of Disappearing in Plain Sight.

Okay, I’m off to celebrate yet another step in the self-publishing journey – all my books in my own hands when it comes to pricing and distribution decisions. Feels good.

i-And-Streamers-At-A-Party[1]

To Be Free or Not to Be Free

B. Thomas Witzel painting

I had the great pleasure to read J.J. Marsh’s recent blog post this morning – I do not want your new free book.  I urge all writers and readers alike to pop over to J.J’s blog and check out her thoughts on giving or getting books for free.

As I commented, on the post, I made my self-publishing debut in 2013 and soon learned – sometimes the hard way – that most of what I had read to prepare me to be a successful, self-published author was just plain false or woefully out dated. Offering one’s books up for free was a marketing strategy toted with a feverish zeal. I didn’t understand the sense of this dictum and because I had gone with an assisted self-publisher for my first book, I didn’t have the ability to give Disappearing in Plain Sight away for free. I’m glad now that was the case.

Striking out on my own with my book of short-stories and the second book in the Crater Lake Series, The Light Never Lies, I’ve had the option to offer them up for no cost. Like most self-published authors, I’ve dipped a toe in the waters. The results didn’t break any records. A free weekend of Strands of Sorrow, Threads of Hope garnered thirty downloads. If I could be assured thirty downloads meant thirty reads, I’d be more than happy with the whole endeavour. But, as J.J points out in her post, most free material ends up archived on someone’s Kindle never to be read or given a second thought. After all it was free.

Some might argue, little invested for little return about my efforts. Perhaps. The common wisdom out there is that you have to land a coveted and, let me add, expensive advertising spot if your free promotion is going to amount to anything. But the idea of spending money to give books away is so beyond-the-beyond to me, I don’t even want to dwell on it.

Writing is my passion and, at the end of the day, I’ll keep doing it even if I never make a penny beyond what I spend to allow my work to see the light of day. But I’m reminded of something my husband was told by a wise person when he first started his own business. If you devalue what you do, no one else is going to value it either.

A copy of an e-book sells for less than a fancy cup of coffee. For that low price a reader should expect a well-written, well-edited, well thought out book. A great cover and good blurb should be part of the package, too. If you don’t get all of the above, I urge you not to purchase the work of that author again. But given all of that, the price is not too much to ask for the time and effort that goes into writing a full-length novel – even if the author is an unknown quantity.

I add my small voice to that of other self-published authors who declare that we won’t offer our books for free. I’ll still do giveaways to friends, family, serious reviewers and charitable events.

There you have it. What are your thoughts on the whole free e-book issue?

Road side sculpture - Guenette photo