Watercolors Friday Giveaway!

Happy Watercolors Friday to all. Today, I want to announce that as part of Amazon KDP select promo for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles, Book 1), I am giving away a free electronic copy of it, and all you have to do is go to Amazon and download it. If you would like to read it, this is my gift to you; I extended the promotion until tomorrow. If you so like, you may leave an honest review of it. You can find Ramblings of the Spirit here . Just click on the Kindle edition. You don’t need a kindle to be able to enjoy ebooks via Amazon, as you can download from Amazon a free kindle app to your computer, or any other apps for e-readers that they offer; they are free.

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) - Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Cover for Ramblings of the Spirit (The Dinorah Chronicles) – Girl Image by Lunagirl Images. Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

A bit about Ramblings of the Spirit – Dinorah Sandbeck, an introverted young librarian, resents her Human-Anarth origins and must find a way to fulfill her birthright duty, while keeping the secret.  As she learns the Anarth ways and follows the riddled teachings of an ancient tome, she falls in love and struggles to keep her secret. She must fight her archenemy Hael and The Other Side, but most of all, she must fight herself.  In this battle of Self, Love, and Duty, winning is the least of her concerns.

 

HAPPY WATERCOLORS FRIDAY!

Smashing my Words and Other Vicissitudes

I decided to offer Moonlit Valley via Smashwords because it offers a wide distribution option for electronic books.  In a way, it was like killing many birds with one stone (ouch).  It offers the ePub format (nook, apple,kobo…) and others like the Sony reader, Palm, pdf, rtf, and of course plain text, as well as library lending.  This seems the perfect all-in-one, one-stop-shopping deal.  For someone like me, who gets easily overwhelmed by too many sites to keep track of, and too many profiles, joining Smashwords was a plus.  There is only one thing I did not like – the look of the end product of an electronic book.  Unlike Amazon Kindle, it is a bit messy and limited on what you can do with font type and font size.  Your chapters might end anywhere in the page, and the worst is that when you are trying to fix it, your book is out there available to the public – there is no in-between or prelude to the publishing button.  I was so worried that I could not get Moonlit Valley as spiffy as in the Amazon Kindle, that I became frustrated.  However, I hadn’t finish fixing my file when I already had three downloads for a sample of the novel – I guess a good thing.  How I dealt with this feeling?  It was easy.  I searched for the books of famous and best-selling authors, then looked at their file – they were having the same issues and troubles with how the novel looked.  Then,  I guessed that there was no way getting around that – Smashwords electronic books will never look as perfect as Amazon Kindle, but at least will offer readers who use the e-formats mentioned above the opportunity to find my books, and sample them.

I find that offering Moonlit Valley through Amazon in paperback and kindle format, as well as offering it through Smashwords in various e-formats covers pretty much everything (check the Novels tab in this blog).  So I am sticking with this way of doing things.  I advice that you  create profiles in Amazon USA, UK, France, EU, and that you do it in the main language (use goggle translator) as well as follow-up with an English description underneath (just in case).  Making use of the forums on Amazon/CS from time to time is a good idea as well. One thing I wish I could do is to manage all the Amazon stuff from one Hub, meaning the CS, Kindle, and Author Central – it would save much back and forth.

As far as social networking goes, I love Facebook because it offers so much, and although I don’t love twitter’s format that much, I am trying to get used to it.  To me, FB is more geared to follow-up in conversation, while Twitter feels like a bunch of birds chirping at the same time, with little or no interaction between them.  I will give it some time. One word of advice to new authors trying to get into social media, “it is not that easy to transfer all your people from your personal FB account into your Author Page – most of them will not click to join the new page, but they are more than happy to interact with you through your personal FB account.  So my advice is that if you are like me, who cannot bother with too many profiles and accounts (hence why I condensed two blogs into this one and this one will serve as my author blog as well), the best thing is to start your FB or Twitter accounts with your author name – it will be much easier in the long run.  I made that mistake, so now I share on both. I guess if you are using a pen name, then you have to keep multiples of everything, and to me that translates into nightmare.

For me, keeping it simple works best, despite all the advice out there saying that you  have to be in every format/platform available.  For me, doing that would be contra productive because I would end up tired, overwhelmed, and dreading the whole thing, and with no desire to write, which is the main purpose – writing novels.  For me this is what works:  Amazon +Kindle + Author Central + Smashwords + Facebook + Twitter + WordPress = A happy writer.

In the end, we want to be happy writers and enjoy the process.  Too much of anything gets in the way, that is how I feel.

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

I am adding this link as I think it is important news about the battle between Amazon and bookstores – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/drm-lawsuit-independent-bookstores-amazon_n_2727519.html

Self Publishing – The Rule of Plenty

Let me start by saying that when you decide to embark on the voyage to self-publish, plenty will  undermine your confidence.  As a self-publisher, you will be acting as the writer, the contractor to find an editor, cover artist, interior designer/cover designer … and much more.  If you are doing all this yourself, there is much to learn, little time, and tons of roadblocks, that is, if you want to end up with a product that looks professionally created.  Print on demand may be inexpensive, and if you are just doing e-book format, then your initial expense could be $0.00.  However, this doesn’t mean that you will end up with an excellent product.  If you are a quasi-perfectionist, you may end up becoming your biggest roadblock.

So far, I have embraced the path to self-publishing and I have worked hard towards publishing my first book.  Since I decided to start the process, the rule of plenty has made its presence in my life.  I have had plenty to learn, plenty to do, plenty to cry about, plenty to ignore, plenty to work against, plenty to resist, plenty to embrace, plenty to doubt, plenty to stumble upon, plenty to create, plenty to hate, plenty to whine about, plenty to change, plenty to redo, plenty to cry about again, plenty to disagree with, plenty to fear, plenty to deal with – computer viruses, computer hackers, computer issues, software malfunction, hacked accounts …   And it may have seem that all of this has happened at once.  However, I’ve also had plenty to like, plenty to enjoy, and plenty to love.  Even that my confidence might have been undermined by the Rule of Plenty, I wouldn’t do it any other way.

I have chosen this path, and it is not an easy one.  I have found that the only way to beat the Rule of Plenty is to embrace Randomness when it shows up, and keep going.  Yes, embracing the random is the only medicine to cure a bad dose of the Rule of Plenty.   So, if you have been getting an incredible dose of the Rule of Plenty lately, don’t despair, embrace the randomness of it all, and push forward.  Sooner than later, there will be plenty to celebrate.

Book Pricing – A True Mystery

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book pricing has always baffled me, and with the introduction of eBooks, now more than ever.  To illustrate this, let me compare a novel, which undergoes a creative process that can last months or years, to a painting, or to a magnificent cake, both creations by artists, but creations that take less time to complete.  For example, many paintings start over $100 and reach the thousands in price – famous paintings, millions.  An elaborate cake can reach hundreds and thousands in price, and it is consumed in no time at all, and it ceases to exist.  The painting, an original will last many lifetimes, and most likely will appraise in value.  Considering these examples, and all the labor that goes into making a novel – whether the story is published as a hard copy or an eBook – why is it that we allow it to sell for 99 cents, offer it for free, or price it so low?

What makes a painting or a cake more valuable than your novel, your story?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but it may have something to do with supply and demand in some way, or the fact that people will collect original art, eat cake, and only pay big bucks for first editions of a famous author.  It is one of those things that do not make sense when you think about it from the creative process aspect.  This is why college textbooks sell for more money, hundreds.  It has to do with buyer’s purpose/need (and who knows, maybe buyer’s remorse as well).  Some novels have change the world, have touched lives, but once the cake has been eaten, and the painting hanged, the writer is left with royalties, and the satisfaction of touching (at least) the life of one reader (or more).

Still, it boils my blood to see a novel selling for 99 cents, when it may have taken many years in the creation process.  Here, the conventional rules of pricing do not apply.

What do you think about this issue?