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I’m Just Saying…

If you haven’t bought it already, here’s a chance to get Weed Therapy at a discounted price.  Discounted from $4.99 to $1.99 for today only, going up to $2.99 tomorrow.  Here’s your chance.

Click here to buy this. cover

From the reviews:

The first thing I would have you understand is that Mr. Paxson has a wonderful writing style, a great way of putting words together to paint a picture or convey a feeling in a story. The narrative about visiting the village, learning how these simple people find their happiness, and the conversations with the old priest remind me of Hermann Hesse’s writing. There’s something mystical and spiritual about the experience, and I wanted to soak in the aura as long as possible.

* * * * *

I loved the craftsmanship in the way this book was written and the author’s writing style. The word pictures created were superb. The beauty of the well written story was magical. The novel really moved me in a deep and spiritual way. Paxson’s insights and intuitions were well woven into this account of a man’s quest for understanding his own unhappiness. It reminded me that men, whom we often regard as the stronger, less emotional sex, really do have feelings, hopes, and desires.

* * * * *

It took me less than a couple of chapters to fall in love with this book and clear my schedule of everything else in order to give it the appropriate attention.

* * * * *

For those of us who have enjoyed his previous work and follow his blog, Mark Paxson throws a gentle curve ball with this poignant look at a marriage in crisis and a man seeking more from life than just routine. This novel is insightful and touching in its honesty. His language is expressive, his characterization of a father trying to relate to his sons in an uncommunicative marriage rings true, and his evocation of the Baja California landscape and a village of loving, open people invites the reader to make an escape from the humdrum rush of daily reality and find a quieter inner life. Great writing…looking forward to his next work.

Seriously, if you haven’t already, why not now?

Kindle Countdown … Or Not

Shortly after Weed Therapy was supposed to begin in the Kindle Countdown promotion, I checked the dedicated Countdown page.  The book wasn’t listed there.  I sent KDP an email.  I checked again at four hours.  The book wasn’t there.  I sent another email.  I checked again at eight hours.  The book wasn’t there.  I sent another email.  Then I went out for the evening and didn’t check again.

This morning I got the following email from KDP:

I understand you have concerns about a Kindle Countdown Deals promotion that did not run on time. I’ve checked your account and it appears that network latency delayed the start of your promotion.

Network latencies can occur while processing and sending data through communications systems, such as websites, due to things like traffic volume.

Further, I made some research and see that the Kindle Count Down programs for your title, “Weed Therapy,” is in progress now. You may verify the same here:

We appreciate your understanding. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


Did I solve your problem?
Personally, I think this is their way of saying, we simply cannot move fast enough to get this done.  Never mind that I enrolled the book several days before November 2.  With those 48 or 72 hours, wouldn’t have been able to write the one extra line of code, or embed the one extra link that would have had it ready to go the morning of November 2?  Never mind that since yesterday morning, the number of books on the dedicated page has grown from 79 to almost 800.  Somehow Amazon doesn’t have enough IT staff on hand to write that one line of code, embed that one link, slip the switch … on any more than 700 books in a twenty-four hour period.  Amazing.
Here was my reply…
No, you didn’t solve my problem.  That’s great that the “deal” shows up on the Amazon page for my book, but for me the entire point of the promotion is that the book would also be featured on the Countdown Deal page.  As of the writing of this email, 24 hours after the promotion “started,” the book still is not listed on the Countdown Deal page.  As far as I’m concerned the promotion doesn’t actually start until the book is on that page.  What I’d like to have KDP do is re-adjust the promotion so that the promotion actually begins when the book is featured on the Countdown Deal dedicated page.  Otherwise the promotion is pointless.  Feel free to move the book as high up on the list as possible once it actually makes it to that page.
I’m pretty certain I’m not going to get what I’m asking for.

Technical Glitches?

No, this isn’t about Obamacare and the national health exchange, although I’m going to refer to it.  There’s this belief out there that governments are incapable of large information technology projects.  They all have massive cost over-runs and are delayed and, frequently, utterly fail.  Unfortunately, all of these horrible things frequently happen with government-run IT projects.  So, the misfires with the Obamacare system isn’t unusual.

Here’s the thing.  I was talking with an IT consultant a year or so ago and he let me in on the dirty little secret — corporations and businesses have just as many problems with implementing IT projects.  You just don’t hear about them because the media doesn’t care.  Which leads me to this.

On a much smaller scale than Obamacare, Amazon is demonstrating this.  The last time I did a free promotion, it was in the midst of Amazon’s losing the ability to rank many books in their genres.  So, while I was giving my book away, it wasn’t showing up in the genre rankings — which is pretty much the only reason you give your book away for free — to draw attention to it.

Now, Amazon has introduced a new promotion.  Kindle Countdown Deals.  Drop the price of your e-book at least 50% (or more), sign up for the promotion and they’ll, among other things, include your book on the special Kindle Countdown page on Amazon.  Sounds great.  I signed up.  Dropping Weed Therapy from 4.99 to 1.99 for two days, starting today.  Then to 2.99 for two days.  3.99 for two days.  Then back to 4.99.

The details show up on my Amazon page for the book.  The reduced price.  The countdown details.  The only problem is the book doesn’t show up on the page dedicated to Countdown Deals.  WHICH IS THE ENTIRE REASON I DID THE PROMOTION!!!!  Here’s the fascinating thing about this.  The number of books on that dedicated page has remained stuck at 79 for the last two or three days.  Which tells me something, because I’m smarticle like that — Amazon is having technical problems with its roll out of this promotion.  And they aint a government.  Seriously, if Amazon with all of its technological experience and prowess can’t even get right the linking of books to the dedicated page, how could the government possibly have got the Obamacare website operating smoothly right out of the gate.

Hallelujah, Pass the Butter

Thanks to Vince Dickinson, author of Fugue in C Minor and other works, I have officially crossed the rubicon.  A tenth review of Weed Therapy on Amazon.  He’s posted it on his website as well.   (P.S.  If you haven’t already, you really should give Vince’s novel a try.  I gave it four stars on Amazon because it got to that point where I couldn’t put it down.)

What I find remarkable about the reviews for Weed Therapy is the quality and depth of those reviews.  With Bridgeport, many of the reviews are nothing more than one liners.  I’m not complaining about those.  Believe me, I’m not complaining.  But, what impresses me about the WT reviews is that the story seems to have struck a chord with the readers (at least those posting reviews) to go beyond the simple one-liner.  The reviewers are writing about how the story relates to their own lives and experiences.  I truly believe that there are things in the story that virtually every adult can relate to and that’s what I need to address to come up with a way to market the book.

I have posted about my criticisms of Amazon and failed promotional efforts.  A few months ago, Amazon started a new promotional effort called Kindle Matchbook — where if you had purchased the paperback, you could get a discounted e-book version of the same book.  Which seemed pretty meaningless considering we’re already all at .99 per e-book.

Today, they announced a new promotional effort.  (Today, at least for me, since today was the first time I saw it.)  It’s called Kindle Countdown, or something like that.  Take your regularly priced e-book and discount it for a few days.  Amazon will provide a “countdown clock” showing the length of the discount and, here’s the piece I’m interested in seeing, feature your book on their Kindle Countdown page.  This is the type of thing they need to do more of.  Find ways to feature self-published authors.  I signed up.  Weed Therapy, which has been at $4.99 for the past few weeks, will be at $1.99 on November 2 for two days, moving to $2.99 for two days, and then to $3.99 for another two days, before settling back at $4.99.  Another piece of this … while their normal royalty for authors is 70% for anything above $2.99 and 35% for anything below $2.99, they will pay the 70% royalty rate for the lower prices during this type of promotion.

Again, I signed up.

And, now that I have ten reviews on Amazon, with an overall rating well above four stars, as soon as that promotion is over, I’m heading over to EReaderNewsToday.

Fingers crossed and pass the butter.

Self Publishing 2.0

As I announced yesterday, Bridgeport has been featured on EReaderNewsToday for the second time.  After two days, this produced another 300 Kindle downloads.  This translates into $100 in earnings with 25% of that going to EReaderNewsToday.  I shouldn’t quibble with that.  It’s 300 more readers and a few dollars in my pocket that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.  The problem is that I do quibble with it.  As I’ve written about before, I have a problem with us self-publishers being forced to .99 or free as the only route to getting readers.  And, then, based on Amazon’s royalty rates, Amazon gets $2 for every $1 I get out of the revenue.

Understand, I realize that just being able to put a book up on the Amazon platform is a huge deal.  Without that, there’s no way I’d have people purchasing my book and I wouldn’t have made the small amount of money I’ve made this year doing this.  But, with the rare exceptions, Amazon does absolutely nothing to help self-publishers — other than putting our book out there with the millions of other books that float around on the internet.  We truly are like needles in the haystack.  I’m not sure it’s good enough any more.  If I have no option but to price my book at .99 and the “publisher” is going to do nothing to help promote my book, why is my take only one third of the revenue.

Tell me why this wouldn’t work.

I can email you a PDF document to your Kindle email address.  That document will then be readable on your Kindle.  Why not sell directly to readers?  Pay on PayPal, send me the email address.  Document sent.  I get the $1 instead of Amazon getting 2/3 of it.

Here are a few drawbacks.

Those emailed documents don’t always look as nice as what you get from Kindle Direct Publishing or other e-publishers.  There seem to be formatting glitches.  I’m testing this now to confirm this is the case.  Plus to be able to attach an attractive cover to the text I’d probably have to upgrade to the more advanced version of Adobe or Microsoft Publisher.  This could also be done for anybody is willing to just read the book on their laptop or other device.  Just email the PDF document and you’ve got it.

I also realize that I … shock of shocks … don’t have the platform that Amazon can provide.  There are not millions of people flocking here.  As a result, I could have to spend a whole lot more time on marketing and expanding my reach on the interwebs.  I think one of the ways to address this is to basically turn myself into small e-press and making this service available to other self-publishers.  I don’t know about that yet, however.  The other reality is that I would probably still publish through KDP simply to get the access Amazon provides.  This would basically be for people who know me, people who read my blog, the expanding universe of readers who come here — it would be a way for all of you to support me (and possibly others among us) directly rather than giving Amazon ever more.

The thing is I don’t necessarily want to stop at e-books if I went this route.  I’d want to be able to offer paperback versions this way as well.  So … I dream.

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