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Monday, September 19, 2011

Not What it Seems

The thing that drives Amazon and makes people flock to it is the ease of use. This also translates to their Kindle publishing service. But automated systems come with inherent problems of their own, not that they are so different from those in the analog world…

What I thought was the end of results for my first marketing campaign turns out to be a glitch at their end – not that I have seen any official word from Amazon on the matter.

Over at the Kindleboards there are several discussions regarding a slow down, delay or no reporting of sales (or at least a trickling of sales). A few authors are watching their rankings going up with no sales for several days – which I think we can all agree is impossible.

On the one hand, this is a relief because it means that all I have to do is wait for the glitch to be straightened out. On the other hand, it brings up an interesting issue. If authors are not notified when there is a glitch, how are we to know that their reporting is accurate?

It is not a perfect system but I prefer the virtual immediacy of it as compared to say royalty statements from a trade publisher, which are so far behind and inaccurate it is the stuff of legend.

There are many things happening at once and none will have immediate results. I believe the Spanish version of “Maya” will be shelved because my editor has gone completely AWOL and until I find a reliable and trustworthy editor to replace her, I am not comfortable going forward with it. This is only a momentary setback. “Maya” may still the light of an electronic bookstore some day, just not this week.

I wish my friend Carlos were around, especially because he was the one who encouraged me to self-publish anyway. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inevitably so...

The magic carpet ride at the Kindle Store has stalled after five months. Unless something changes in the next week, that gives me a shelf life of approximately five months per marketing campaign.

At the same time, sales at Kobo, Sony and Apple are starting to stream in. Smashwords sales have been slightly revitalized.

As this is an ongoing experiment, it is interesting to note these patterns to see if it holds true for the process at large. The next release will need to be observed to see if the pattern repeats. Research tells me that this may not be true, that e-books are untamable consumer products that defy all sorts of metrics.

I’m not convinced that this is true, but it may be unpredictable as the segment develops.

In the meantime, a new round of marketing is needed to inflate sales. Perhaps this is the perfect time to release the second cookbook.

The real interesting test is how much time I can give to this effort as I concentrate on getting back to the rat race. Finding a job is a job in itself. Having two jobs that do not bring in a steady income is a different kind of experience.

Self-publishing is not for the weak or for slackers, there is serious effort and ingenuity required and even that may not bring success (depending on how you define success). It remains a fascinating experience, though.

On the creative front, I started writing a story that made my heart sink. I was writing to keep the juices flowing, not necessarily to start a new project or to augment those in the hopper, but suddenly it started looking like a romance. I can’t write one of those! I have no frame of reference, unless it ends badly (and it does).

Then I did a small survey on the Kindle boards, despite the obvious Romeo and Juliet thing (and it is not so obvious), nobody wants to read a romance that ends in bloodshed. It turns out that as I went along and wrote more, it’s a crime story with a romantic interlude, so no . . . Barbara Bretton is not going to get any competition from me.

This was a great relief. Not because I fear a little friendly competition but because of all the travesties allowed to make it to print a romance by yours truly is one best avoided. One shudders to think of it!