Putting the Paperback Book Theory to the Test!

Actual photo is coming soon!

For a really long time, I’d put off creating paperback versions of my books. Conventional wisdom was that having them was really for a lark, and that very few people ever sold an appreciable number of them. I’m going to get the chance to see whether they are correct about this or not, because as of now, The Inventor’s Son is finally available in paperback!
Readers can buy it through CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and likely a number of other places (which I’ll probably have to track down). Just a side note to the authors who read this blog: I noticed that Amazon did NOT link the paperback to the Kindle edition until I wrote to KDP, while Barnes & Noble (who I didn’t even publish the eBook directly with) was able to link the paperback to the eBook with no problem whatsoever. It also appeared at Barnes & Noble far more quickly than I was led to believe it would. One more thing I noticed: Apparently, there are 3rd party sellers already listing the book to sell on my Amazon page, though they definitely DO NOT have the book in their hands yet! One of the perils of Expanded Distribution, I guess. If I see the book starting to sell in paperback format, then I suppose I have to be a little more concerned than I am now.

Once I have links for The Scientist’s Son and The Explorer’s Son, naturally I will put them in as well. Until then, watch for the cross-promo I’ll be doing with some other authors around November 23 to promote the paperback version (the hook being that you can get the Kindle version for free if you buy the paperback book as a gift for the holidays through the Kindle Match program). I’m glad for this promo because frankly, it lit a fire under me to get the book finally done! In the meantime, I’m working on NaNoWriMo 2016, which means I might or might not be posting a whole lot more here this month, but you can watch every weekend for some new posts being added from the Author Social Media Deep Dive.

I’m Finally Almost Done With My Paperback Versions of The Inventor’s Son!

Mock up provided by the super awesome Covervault! These will soon be a reality!

I may seem to have been missing lately, although some of my fellow indie authors might see me in groups or on the usual haunts. I’ve had a few setbacks with getting my projects going. I work full time at a day job, and this writing gig is now assuredly a part time job. I’d far rather be doing this than working part time at Starbucks or McDonald’s! But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Along with the day job being more taxing than it should have been during the summer, I also lost my last remaining greyhound last Monday. He was my pal, and I’m still having a hard time. Although now I have a cat. The last time I did serious writing with a cat around was years ago. I think it’s an adjustment.
As for the print books project I’d been putting off and putting off, I now am fully involved and made a deadline for November 1 to have The Inventor’s Son at least in the publishing stage. I started the project in CreateSpace, and those of you who frequent kboards or some of the other indie author hangouts online know that some of us have had the option to publish a print version of our books directly with Amazon through KDP. When the option magically appeared last week, I thought about it for about 5 minutes, and then decided to proceed with my original plan to use CreateSpace, at least in the short term. I figure I can always change the trim size and get a new ISBN in the future if I decide to go fully with Amazon, and who knows, maybe CreateSpace is getting melded into Amazon’s KDP service in the near future. For right now, I’m only concerned with getting the book ready for the holidays.
Initially, I will offer the first three full-size books in print. I don’t plan on making the prequel novella available in print unless there’s some kind of demand for it. I tend to use that book as a lead magnet anyway, so it’s really better as an eBook, in my opinion.
I’ve had a few issues that I ran into while making the print book files. It’s not as simple or as easy as some people would like you to believe. I tried using a file that I compiled using Scrivener, and I thought that would work, until I started getting “fancy.” I wanted to use Goudy Trajan Regular font for the chapter titles and for the headers and footers. That font just would not embed, which, if you want to create a pdf file, is essential to be able to do. And so I tried to remove it from everywhere, substituting with another font… Yeah, that wasn’t working. So I took the drastic step of “going nuclear” and making a fresh, unformatted file (no italics!) and started with the CreateSpace provided 5.25 X 8 inch template. I’m pretty sure this is going to work. Hopefully once I upload the new file the previewer on CreateSpace won’t spit out any issues. Once that’s all done, it’s time for the cover!

Speaking of the cover, I did something really dumb last year when making up my spiffy covers; I flattened all the layers before I saved the file, making the original cover files essentially useless. I can pretty quickly fix that problem, though, and make up my cover files once I know what size the spine needs to be. I’m much faster with Photoshop this year than I was with GIMP last year, and I can do a lot more with Ps than GIMP, so I’m optimistic that I’ll get that phase done quickly.

I want The Inventor’s Son finished in time for a cross-author promotion I’m planning to be part of a little later in November. The idea being “Buy the print book and get the Kindle version for free instantly (instant gratification)” and the author running it seems to do really well with the print books, so hey, I say let’s give it a shot. You’ll be hearing more about it soon.

Also, on an unrelated note, I will be taking the Author Social Media Deep Dive and moving it to this blog, so I’ll have just the two blogs (this one and the one on my website). The theme of SB James Doing the Write Thing has morphed into a more author-centric blog, and I find I have no need for the separate Social Media Deep Dive blog anymore. You’ll start seeing those posts and a new category here soon!

This Weekend, Grab Some Great FREE Books!

Science Fiction Fantasy FREE Books October 1-2

Today starts the Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Promotion. There are over 100 books (including my own book, The Inventor’s Son) included in this cross promotion, and this time, they are all FREE! Every book is in the fantasy or science fiction genres, and if you are a fan of either or both genres, you’re sure to find something awesome.

These books are not only available on Amazon, but other retailers like Apple, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and Google Play. Here’s how it works: just click on the image above or…

Click Here for the Science Fiction Fantasy Promo

And you will see the icons for your preferred eBook retailer. Click on one of them and you’ll see the books that are available from that retailer. (My book is available at all of them except Smashwords).

Also, please spread the word if you know anyone else who might enjoy some free books! Have a great weekend!

Daily Prompt: Unfinished

via Daily Prompt: Unfinished

Thanks to Quentin Tarantino, the first thing I think of now when I hear the word “Unfinished” is Kill Bill:

But I digress, which is why I have unfinished business…
I’m tinkering with my website AGAIN! That seems to never be finished. With the transition of making my book 1 permafree instead of the prequel novella, I have realized that I’ve neglected a lot of my marketing and now have to step it up dramatically.

Also unfinished (but will be finished in October) is my print book project. The Inventor’s Son and The Scientist’s Son are just about done with the formatting.

Might this someday be a reality?

I have The Explorer’s Son to finish, creating a template for the book covers, and possibly I might create a print version of The Inventor’s Son: The Beginning if I think there is a possibility someone might want it. Although I’ve seen series where books like ISTB end up as eBook only as well, so we’ll see. I’d love to have them ready for the holidays!

What do you think? Should I do the prequel novella as a print book or not?

A Quick Update on the Status of The Inventor’s Son

thenewIScover2015Last week I had mentioned that I was switching out my permafree book. Well, since then, The Inventor’s Son: The Beginning is reverted back to a paid book on all sales channels (and I resumed putting it on Scribd and 24Symbols), and now I have gotten The Inventor’s Son free on all sales channels besides Amazon. Google Play books had the price changed first, soon followed by Kobo, then Apple and Barnes & Noble (who, I have to say, has really improved the price change turnaround times since last year). Now, I have to get Amazon to price match. This time around I will fight with them to get the price free in every store Amazon runs, not just the US, CA and UK stores. I always felt bad that they would not price match the other book in the AU store.

It’s been said that customers reporting a lower price elsewhere has a bit of influence. I will do what I can on my end, but watch this space. If I can’t get the price match in a certain country, I will let you know. If anyone is interested in getting the Kindle version from the Amazon store in their country, they should not be excluded.

Of course, there is one other alternative: it can get delivered to your inbox if you let me know where to send it! Yes, this book is one of the lead magnets, as well as being a permafree in stores! (Please let me know if you just love the rockin’ landing page I whipped up, would you?)

I’m working on a post about the virtues of permafree. I know at one point I was dead set against it, but I’ve come to a realization over the past month or so that really drove home the power it still has. Not to mention this really great episode of the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast featuring Nathan Van Coops called “The Power of Free.” The only thing I can nitpick about this episode is the fact that Van Coops has the one permafree and the other two books are in Kindle Unlimited. Okay, that’s kind of off topic for this particular blog post, sorry about that! :-[

Also doing some more remodeling on my website, but not this blog. I’m really quite happy with this blog just the way it is at this point!


Summer’s Nearly Over, So It’s Time For Some Changes

pablo (1)

Back before I published my first book, I had the idea that I would make a special book that I could offer for free. The Inventor’s Son: The Beginning was the book that evolved into what we in the indie publishing world like to call a “permafree” book. That is, it’s a book that anyone could download from one of the ebook retailers for free. And since August of 2014, I had made The Inventor’s Son: The Beginning available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple and a little later on from Google Play Books for free.

This morning, I went to my dashboard at Draft2Digital (a digital book distributor I highly recommend) and set the price back to $0.99. And then I went to Google Play Books and did the same thing. Once the price change is in effect, I expect that Amazon will stop the free price match and reset the price to $0.99 there as well.

You might be wondering, especially if you are a fellow indie author, why I decided to take ISTB off permafree. The short answer is because I am initiating a few really exciting changes, and for this to work, I need to have ISTB back to it’s original price. I don’t expect it to sell that well, but that’s hardly what I’m after, to be honest.

The longer answer is because… Drum roll please… I’m going to work on making The Inventor’s Son my permafree book! I’m creating a new funnel, one that uses The Inventor’s Son, the full length Book 1 of the series, to get readers introduced to the series. I am at a point now where readers who liked book 1 can go on to buy a book 2 and a book 3. Soon there will be a book 4 as well.

ISTB fits into this in two ways:

  1. Readers who liked The Inventor’s Son can then pick up ISTB as a prequel novella and I think there will be far more appreciation of the book if it is actually read after IS.
  2. Using IS as a loss leader from Amazon and the other retailers can get people to sign up for my mailing list by offering ISTB for free if they sign up (even though it’s available at a cost from the ebook stores). I think this creates more value for the reader by offering a thorough introduction to the series, and also by being on my mailing list, I can keep in better touch with them about other upcoming events and goodies in the works.

I will work on getting The Inventor’s Son priced to free as soon as the changes from The Inventor’s Son: The Beginning have gone through. In the meantime, I have posted the first chapter of The Inventor’s Son on Wattpad if you are a member and want to take a peek over there. I’m going to be uploading one chapter every couple of days until the entire book is posted. And I will soon be setting up a mailing list segment that gets The Inventor’s Son for free by signing up for the list. Watch this space for that if you are interested!

The Facebook Boosted Post

facebook boosted posts
You know how it is: you post something onto your Facebook Page, and no one sees it. It’s not like no one cares, its that your post is not showing up in their Facebook News Feed. It makes you want to do a frowny face 😦 !

Facebook obviously became really all about the money when it comes to Facebook Pages. Nowadays, it’s basically expected that you’ll pay some money to “boost” a post or your page so that someone will see it. This is really obnoxious, unless you realize how to make it work to your advantage rather than against you.

Facebook Post Boosts can work if you plan them the right way. They can even work if your Page doesn’t have a lot of Facebook fans yet. In fact, doing a post boost can mimic having your post shown in front of an audience that is targeted (not as fine tuned as a Facebook Ad in Power Editor, but good enough for the usual intents and purposes) and, depending on your budget, hundreds or possibly thousands of people that would be fans of your page if they had clicked the Like button. This is the reason why most people tell you it’s not that important to have a lot of Facebook Page fans anymore; you can’t get too many posts in front of them for nothing any more anyway, even if they are fans.

Now I’ll explain in detail what I have been doing the past 3 out of 4 weekends and give you some idea of what to expect. Last month I ran a deal on my first book and on the “box set” of books 1-3. I designed a Facebook Page post that looked like this:

FB boosted post 1I created the graphic according to Facebook’s normal guidelines for ads. Then I just put the link to the page I wanted people to go to (which was a special sale page on my blog with links to all the sellers, rather than a direct link to Amazon) and Facebook got the text generated from WordPress. I went in and changed a bit of it so it looked a little cleaner, and then I published the post.

The next thing I did was click the “Boost Post” button. If you don’t have an advertising account with Facebook, they will have you set it up before boosting your first post. If you are working on the desktop, a smaller box appears in the middle of the screen. It’s essentially Ads Manager Lite. You have the choice of a few different budgets (I picked $5.00 over 2 days, which was pretty much the minimum) and you can choose whether you want the post to be boosted to people who have already liked your page along with their friends and family, OR you can choose an audience that is targeted toward demographics and location, like with normal ads. The latter is definitely your better option, as there’s no guarantee that people who liked your page necessarily have friends that would like your content, and that would be a big waste of money. Not only that, but people who have liked your page might not appreciate that “Jane Doe liked this page” posts are showing up in their friends News Feeds. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know… Anyway, you have a minimum of four interests to add to your targeting, along with the country or countries, and the age group  and gender you want to target.

I easily ended up with about seven interests. Again, it’s not as micro targeted as Ads built in the Power Editor, but actually, I think the boosted post ought to be shown to as many people as Facebook thinks it’s possible. Also, with Boosted Posts, there is no choosing the aim of the campaign like website clicks, website conversions, or any of that. Instead, Facebook just boosts the post, and if people interact with it with post likes and shares, then Facebook makes it look like they are “charging you” for those interactions. Frankly, I didn’t much care about likes or shares (although the version of the post I used the second week got about 13 likes), I cared more about clicks to the page and how many people bought books and where they bought them from.

Facebook then boosts your post after they approve it. Yes, they have to approve Boosted Posts just like any other ad, which is why I made sure the graphic was up to specifications. If you use the Facebook Ads app for your smart phone, you can check on how your post is doing on the go. Facebook will send a message through Messenger when the post is approved.

The first Boosted Post I did with the budget of $5.00 over 2 days was 801 people reached (people who I never would have reached, even when Facebook wasn’t throttling Page posts to death like now). That resulted in about 3 post likes and one new Page like. The next one was shown to far fewer people (289) but it got 13 post likes. I noticed the correlation between more page and post likes = less exposure for the post.

I skipped last week, since the sale was ending and it was Mother’s Day. This weekend, I did a bit of a different post boost: I have a link to a blog post I did about the difference between Steampunk and Gaslamp fantasy, and I have a CTA at the end of the post for mailing list sign ups. I’m hoping to get a couple of new mailing list sign ups and a few new free book downloads with this boosted post, but since it’s not done yet, I don’t have much to report about the success of this one, aside from that I already have 3 post likes, one new Page like, and some more traffic to the actual blog post. We’ll see if the approach I’m taking with the mailing list sign ups is too subtle (I don’t have the über obnoxious pop up box on my site yet, but I’ll do it if I have to!)

Do you have any experience with Facebook Boosted Posts? Do you prefer just straight ads instead of the light version you get with Boosted Posts?

click here to find out