Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Friday, November 25, 2011

Best Time to Read

You know the feeling, right? It's Thanksgiving Day and the table is loaded with all the classic favorites as well as some new dishes you just have to try.

By the end of the day you're too full to do anything but nap, watch movies, wake up and go for a walk, nap some more, and then go to bed and read a book. After helping with the clean up, of course.

If you're anything like me and I hope you're not or I feel bad for you, you will be too stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner and the day- after leftovers to do much besides curl up and read.

Mason Canyon's book review blog, Thoughts in Progress, is a must-stop. She always has great ideas of good books, and sometimes freebies for lucky winners.

I'm visiting Mason's blog today to talk about House of Diamonds,  with two free print copies to give away. So come on by, if you're not too full.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 Days before Thanksgiving and I'm in Africa

The Fabulosity Wendy is extending her feature on House of Diamonds to another day. Yay! She asked me some interesting questions and posted her interview on Fabulosity Reads.

Thanks, Wendy, for your support. Those of you looking for book reviewers, she is willing to do reviews in a variety of genres. Guidelines are on her blog.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US. Many thanks to my wonderful blogging friends for your support, friendship, comments, and general awesomeness!

I'll see you Friday with another visit on my House of Diamonds tour-- the wonderful Mason Canyon, who has two print copies to give away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's Hot and Not so Hot about House of Diamonds

Something I love about blogging is meeting people from all over the world. Wendy of Fabulosity Reads originally hails from South Africa (so of course she would attract my attention, it's where my two giraffes are from). She currently lives in Nigeria.

Not sure how Wendy will like House of Diamonds as it's not the usual genre she reviews. For those of you looking for book blog reviewers, Wendy is a good one. She is fair and honest, telling what she does and does not like about a particular book.

Yikes, I'm just a bit nervous! Go here to see the verdict.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Me and Marcie McGill, just chillin' at the Piedmont Grille

It's Friday at the Piedmont Grille! And that means Anne Gallagher, the Piedmont Writer, has another great post to share and this time I am honored to be her guest!

(Well, me and Marcie McGill, the main character in House of Diamonds.)

Anne has a review, some questions and maybe even something tasty to throw on the grill, so come on over to Anne's place. See you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The two Karens

My blogging friend Karen Walker and I are the same age, we both enjoy memoir, and we live in the Western United States. We have even spoken on the phone and one of these days we must get together in person because I just know we'd have lots to talk about.

Today Karen reviews House of Diamonds at her blog Following the Whispers. Come by and say hi!

And don't forget the special from WiDo Publishing running throughout the end of the year. Order your copy of House of Diamonds from the website and you will also get a free print copy of Uncut Diamonds.

Have any of you had an opportunity to meet a blogging friend in person? Maybe if I got out more, I would too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Writer's Journey

I started this blog 2 1/2 years ago very insecure, newly published with a brand new small press, my first novel out, doubting that I'd ever find an audience for it. My blog connected with other insecure writers, some published, others on their way, many feeling as insecure about publication as I felt about book sales.

Discovering this community helped me feel like a part of something.

Along the way, I've seen blogging friends get contracts with agents and/or publishers. Some chose to self-publish. Some are sticking with the original plan to get the dream agent, to get the big publisher. It's all cool.

Go wherever your heart takes you, there's no right or wrong way. It's not marriage or parenthood, it's book publishing--a career choice, not a life choice with eternal consequences. Your spouse won't leave you, your children won't die or end up in prison because you chose to self-publish or wait for just the right publishing contract.

After two years of sharing writerly journeys, things change. I see a lot happening. Even the publishing industry has changed in amazing ways! And we writers blog about it and make decisions and share our joys and frustrations with each other. Online is where I found my writing community.

Where am I after two years? More active on social media, for one. (In varying degrees--Twitter, Facebook, Google+) A second novel published and the third heading to the editor. Less frustrated about sales. (I'll write the books, the sales will come or not.) Somewhat less awkward about promoting my books.(Still insecure about that part of it.)

I spend less time blogging and more time writing. (It used to be the opposite.)

Sometimes I wonder what the next two years will hold. Truthfully? I have no clue. I'd like to have more books out but other than that....not sure where I see myself in two years. How about you? Do you think you'll still be blogging? Published? Bestselling author? Tired of the whole scene?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

HOUSE OF DIAMONDS available at last!!

Today is the ebook launch for House of Diamonds! Print copies come out November 22. With a special deal for the holidays-- Anyone preordering House of Diamonds from the WiDo Publishing website will also get Uncut Diamonds, absolutely free. Two books for the price of one!

Charmalot from and then my heart smiled is kicking off my launch and blog tour. Please come and share the joy!  Charmalot, known in real life as Jordan McMakin, earned her B.A. in English from Western Washington University, and was previously a bookstore manager, children's book buyer, and freelance editor. She interned at Puffin Books and Viking Books for Young Readers, and was an editorial assistant at Disney*Hyperion Books in New York City.

So drop by Jordan's blog because she is awesome and it will make your heart smile. And if you don't follow her blog already you should, you really really should. And you should buy House of Diamonds because you'll love it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pricing Ebooks

WiDo Publishing began in 2007 as a print publisher, later releasing titles as ebooks as well. They price new releases at $3.99, and $2.99 for older titles to stimulate interest and attract new buyers. Recently they experimented to find that magic number for bringing in the greatest number of ebook sales

As I mentioned in my previous post, $2.99 is the lowest Kindle price to get the 70% royalty rate from Amazon. WiDo tried .99 for two books: Ghost Waves by W. Everett Prusso and my novel Uncut Diamonds, both released 2009 in print, 2010 as ebooks. Results were interesting.

The drop in price made very little difference in sales. Both authors had only one book on Kindle. Neither of the books had significant sales, although mine were higher probably because I had developed an online presence and the other author had not.

My sales went up a bit with the .99 change but then held steady. They weren't enough to make a difference in profit so WiDo put it back to 2.99 and sales continued at the pre-.99 rate. It may go back to .99 for a time with the release of House of Diamonds, as a promotional price.

The cut didn't affect Ghost Waves sales. Although the hardcover print book did alright for $19.95, it hasn't done well as an ebook regardless of price.

WiDo's top selling ebook is In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best. It came out in May and there are no plans to drop the price to $2.99 as it continues to sell steadily at $3.99. Not by huge numbers, but consistently, and more every month.

Another new release is Cloak by James Gough, a YA fantasy to be released in hardcover November 15 as a special gift edition for $25.95. It is currently available as an ebook for $4.99, the highest WiDo has priced a new ebook release. The somewhat higher price hasn't seemed to affect ebook sales for Cloak, at least not its first month. People who wanted it bought it.  

I'm using WiDo's examples because as a publisher, they're dealing with a variety of authors, titles and genres. So price variations can show interesting trends. And what it has shown in WiDo's case is that if people want a book, the price of a few dollars isn't going to matter. And if they don't want it, the .99 tag won't convince them to buy it. Maybe a few, but not in high enough numbers to overcome that price's  weak profit margins.

It comes down to that age-old question forever baffling writers and publishers. What does the public want to read? What inspires people to pay for a book? Simple answer: If it's what they want, they'll make the effort. They'll look for it in a library or bookstore or on their ereader. Book sales come from writing and publishing what people want to read. Give customers what they want and sales will come, whether the book goes for .99 or 9.99.

Are there any ebooks that should be priced at .99? Books that would sell significantly better at the rock bottom price? Consider this. When paperback novels first came out they were cheap, they were exciting and their enticing covers and fast plots appealed to pulp fiction readers. The .99 ebook is like the new old-time paperback pulp fiction novel. 

There's a large population of ebook buyers looking for the .99 fast read. It has to have an enticing cover and a fast-moving, action-oriented plot, preferably with a healthy dose of sex. Very much like the hugely popular paperback novels of the 1940s. If this is what  you write, and you can do it well, and you churn them out pretty fast, then you could sell a lot of .99 ebooks. Because you will be giving this audience exactly what they want at the price they're looking for.