KingMidget's Ramblings

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Tag Archives: Publishing

A Review … Middle of the Road???

After a summer of glowing four and five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, I got a three star review for One Night in Bridgeport today.  Here it is in its entirety …

Jack has traveled to a small town (Bridgeport) to deliver papers regarding real estate sales bid. Lea has returned to her hometown from college, but has opted to stay the night at the Bridgeport Inn before going home. The two meet in the bar, Jack buys her a drink and one thing leads to that other thing. Next morning, Jack sneaks out very early in the AM. Unfortunately for Lea who woke up feeling like she’d like a relationship with this man. Her old school friend is now a lawyer, he takes her to dinner, she tells him her life story including the recent one night stand (why would she I ask??) Lawyer Butkis says she’s been raped and should press charges and refuses to believe her when she says she was a willing participant. Case proceeds with no physical evidence – he said/she said. Jack is a very unlikable fellow – he’s kind of skated through life on looks and charm. Lea is pretty but not to bright is my opinion. And a pushover. I only finished it to see how they managed to get to the predictable ending but I’m not gonna tell you how it ends. You can figure it out just like I did – its not difficult. Just not too good. Plus I was wondering about the large spaces between paragraphs, and/or conversation parts – taking up paper space when you don’t have enough of a good story to make it single spaced? Meh

I believe that reviewers should get to speak their mind.  To state their opinion.  I am perfectly willing to accept three star reviews.  Two star reviews.  And one star reviews.  But I’d at least like them to have some basis in reality, in what the story actually was.  I’m not going to pick on the reviewer’s grammar, spelling and punctuation.  I’ll let my readers do that.  😉

But come on.  Butkus (notice the correct spelling.  Oh, wait, I wasn’t going to cover that) didn’t take her to dinner.  He took her to lunch.  At which time she didn’t say she was a willing participant.  She was ambivalent and hurt and pissed off.  Jack has skated through his life on looks and charm?  Really?  Hey, readers of this blog — if you read the book, is that the sense you got of Jack, because it most certainly was not my intent to create that picture.

But the biggest problem with this review is the complaint about “large spaces between paragraphs” and the suggestion that I double spaced things to make up for the lack of a good story.  The story was almost 100,000 words, which these days is long compared to a lot of e-published books.  I’m going to need to go back to my Kindle and see what the story looks like on it.  I do know that I’ve learned since I originally pushed Bridgeport that I should get ride of the page break that begins each chapter in a paperback when I publish it to Kindle, but even with that the comment makes absolutely no sense to me and, ultimately, to me doesn’t belong in a review.  It’s like the people who give a one star review to a book because it didn’t arrive in the mail as soon as the reader thought it would.

Regular reader … if you read Bridgeport on your Kindle and thought there was too much white space, let me know.

 

It’s Not the Time of the Year

… or the Day of the Week.

It’s something else.  Maybe it’s the book.  Or the lack of reviews.  Or …

As I wrote about last week, I offered Weed Therapy for free for Kindlers (that’s a word I just made up by the way) for two days.  The effort netted me a grand total of 89 free downloads of the novel and no sales following the promotion.  As I wrote then, I didn’t do a lot to promote the effort — primarily just posting about it here that first day.  Much like I did when I offered One Night in Bridgeport for free for two days back in January.

At the same time that I scheduled Weed Therapy for the free days last week, I scheduled Bridgeport for two free days starting today.  And did nothing to promote it.  Not even here in my kingdom.

I went through my typical morning routine today.  Up around 6:15.  Read the paper.  Surf the internet for a few minutes.  Do my PT exercises (that’s new this week).  Get dressed.  And it’s off to work.  Hold on a sec.  Couple of key ingredients missing there.  Surfing the internet includes checking the Kindle Direct Publishing Report page to see what has transpired with my books over night.  As of 6:40 this morning, Bridgeport had 11 free downloads for the day.

While getting dressed, through the magic of my iPhone, I checked again.  13.  As I waited at a stop light to get on the freeway about 30 minutes later — 27.  Hmmm.  This could get interesting.

I’ll spare you the details of my monitoring of the KDP Report page during the course of the day and leave you with this.  As I write this at 7:30 p.m. on the first day of the two day free promotion, the tally has exceed 1,500 for the day.  The book stands at #162 Free in the Kindle Store.  (Side note here:  for some reason, Amazon is not showing the ranking of the book in its genre, which really bugs me.  They did it with Weed Therapy.  They do it everywhere else.  They aren’t doing it with Bridgeport today.  I’d love to know where it is in Legal Thrillers.)  And there’s another day to go.  Somewhere along the way tonight or early tomorrow morning, I’ll reach over 10,000 people who have downloaded the book.  Yes, all but about 1,600 or 1,700 of those did so during the free download promotions.  That’s OK.  10,000 people reading my book feels good.

I’m left then to wonder why this book and not the other.  I think there may be a few reasons.  The genre.  The number of reviews.  That these things take time, momentum needs to build, and maybe I rushed Weed Therapy.  I know this — I’m still begging you that if you’re one of the people who has Weed Therapy on your Kindle to read it and post a review.  There’s no way I’ll be able to get the momentum going on that book without more reviews.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep pondering the mysteries of this all.

Reading Stack Meet Writing Stack

Raise your hands if you’re like me.  You read.  Relentlessly.  You buy books.  Relentlessly.  There is always a stack of books on your nightstand or in the corner or spread out throughout the house.  The stack grows bigger and your frustration that you can’t read it all matches that growth.  You are a reader, faced with a mountain of reading material that grows and grows and grows.  And there are so many books you wanted to buy but you haven’t because, well, you know.  You don’t have the time.

Then you become a writer.  You start small.  A story here, a poem there.  A novel gets done.  And then something happens.  You develop a writing stack just like your reading stack.  The ideas percolate and become words on the screen.  New documents.  And you don’t have the time to work on all of them, let alone complete them.  Your frustration grows and grows and grows.  There are so many stories you want to tell but you haven’t because, well, you know.  You don’t have the time.

That’s where I’m at.  The writing stack is beginning to match the reading stack.  My three half-completed novels sit gathering e-dust on my hard drive, while I’m suddenly distracted by three major short stories that I’m working on.  How the hell did that happen?  These stories will most likely all end up being somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words.  One of them is prompting me to imagine a series of three similar stories — because it really won’t work unless it’s a part of a series.

The good news is that I’m finding a way to work on one or two of those three short stories almost every day.  So, I’m writing regularly again.  The bad news is … well, maybe there isn’t any bad news.  I’m writing.  Bit by bit, I’m writing.  While the stack grows.

By the way, for regular readers who have seen bits and pieces of my work posted here, the three short stories are:

A major addition to Northville Five & Dime, prompted by discussions at the writing workshop regarding that story.  As posted way back when, it was just shy of 2,000 words I think.  It’s now approaching 4,000 words and there is much, much more to write.

Continuing on with Deviation, using the Seven Day Story Challenge over at We Drink Because We’re Poets to keep the boys moving forward  The story is now at 5,902 words and yes, there is much, much more to write.

The Lobbyist, a new story prompted by, well, let’s just say it’s a whole new approach to writing for me.  That’s all I’m going to tell you.  🙂

One of the things I’ve decided to do with each of these is publish them as individual pieces for Kindle.  Each story will be long enough for me to justify doing so.  They’ll be able to stand on their own.  I’m curious to see what will happen if I start publishing single stories like that — not novel length, but somewhere between long short story and novella.  Charge .99 and see what happens.  I’m convinced that one way to try to make this self-publishing gig work is to increase the volume.  Maintain quality, but get more stuff out there.

 

Learning A Lesson

It’s been a great ride since May 17 when ereadernewstoday featured One Night in Bridgeport.  As I’ve written before, over 1,000 people have downloaded the book since then.  Cost to them: .99 per download.  I make 35% of that.  So, on the plus side, with all sales, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 people have purchased Bridgeport and I’ve made over $1,000.  While the frequency of reviews has diminished, the few that are dribbling in are all excellent.  The latest, posted today, is this:

This was an awesome book. It clearly shows what can go wrong by making one little mistake. You had to feel sorry for the protagonist and you had to guess how it would end. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The last four reviews are all five stars, all from people I’ve never met.  They read my book and loved it.  That’s all good.

I keep waiting for sales to drop off and they don’t.  Every day anywhere from 5-35 people download it for the Kindle.  In the first three days of August, 21 people downloaded the book.  Twelve on August 3.

For weeks now, I’ve had a plan.  Fix the typos, add a few things about Weed Therapy to the inside material (favorable reviews, for instance), and re-publish Bridgeport for the Kindle, with a republished paperback to follow.  The paperback would also include an improved back cover.  When I did this, I planned on increasing the e-price of Bridgeport back to $2.99 to see what would happen.  So, I did that last night, at the end of a day when twelve people had bought the book for .99.

And today rolls along.  Nobody is buying it.  Nobody.   A book with 36 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.5.  That readers think is “awesome.”

Meanwhile, Weed Therapy is out there also.  Priced at $2.99.  So far, ten people have downloaded it at that price.  I’m pretty sure I know just about every one of those ten people.  I ran a Goodreads Giveaway.  648 people signed up for it.  About half of those individuals added the book to their “to-read” list.  I spent a day on the front page of GoodKindles.  I’m still on the front page, just a little further down.  There was one e-book purchase after the giveaway and nothing in the 24 hours since the book showed up on GoodKindles.

This is frustrating, but I’m trying to be patient.  I believe I’ve put two novels out there that are worth $2.99.  I try very hard not to write garbage and expect people to buy it.  Both of these novels took me a couple of years to write. Bridgeport went through one major rewrite and two major edits.  Weed Therapy, I believe is something worth reading.   I don’t think it is asking too much for readers to pay less than they would for a latte when they’re willing to pay so much more for traditionally published authors.  What does it take to get people to pay $2.99 for an e-book?  Why should they if all the other self-published authors are pricing at .99 and free?  I would really like to keep the price of my books at $2.99, but if nobody is going to buy them at that price, what’s the point?

Odds and Ends

One Night in Bridgeport Update:  At .99, I sold over 600 downloads in May, 100 in June, and 250 in July.  I’m updating the cover and correcting the typos for both paperback and the Kindle.  Once I do that, I’m moving the price back up to $2.99 for awhile.  We’ll see what happens.

* * *

I’m off work for two and a half weeks.  Between my solo trip to Fort Bragg the last six days and a family trip down to Long Beach starting on Friday, I have a couple of days.  There was a work meeting today I thought I should go to.  I went to work as a result.  Bad decision.  Completely ruined the vacation vibe.

* * *

One of my new favorite songs courtesy of Spotify.  This is one of those songs that fills all of the requirements:  mood, voice, simple musical sound, lyrics. meaning.  But, go back to the voice.  Awesome.

* * *

Weed Therapy is back.  Be very, very quiet.

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