Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Favorable Review

Alchemy of Scrawl (http://alchemyofscrawl.blogspot.com/) just gave a thumbs up to Weston's "Invisible Dawn" and sent me a nice email letting me know a review is in the works for Scarab next week!
She had some honest feedback about the cover and length of the techno-speak in the first chapter and a half, but liked it. This, I can deal with.

I had my wife proof the first two chapters. Together, we reduced the example combat + techobabble from 2900 words to 2400 words. Everything else, they need to know now. I have an appointment Monday for the new cover.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Monster Lives - Scarab Posts

I was messing around with some equipment in the lab and suddenly, the monster went live on Amazon!

I ran to tell my assistant, Iphonegirl, and she told me that I had my first rating on Apple, a five star!

Days like this make being a mad scientist worthwhile. I shall treasure this memory when the villagers come for me with the pitchforks and torches.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Threading the Maze and Starting Again

Wednesday night, I posted to Amazon myself while waiting for supper to cook. They make is quite easy if you have everything pre-formatted. The hardest decision was the price.  If I stayed with $2, they pay me 70 cents. If I make it $3, they give me $2.10.  Must be one of those IQ tests to filter out robots. Lastly, I went with a raw Word file that I had formatted for Smashwords. These things should be standard, right? Accepted. A day later, it has been Reviewed and sits in the queue for Publishing. The ripening process takes up to 72 hours total.

Oops, I didn't have a table of contents in my HTML, I was missing some tags, and my pitch had dropped a sentence. There is no way to edit even small details on your book until the publishing cycle is complete.  I had to email support to get them to stop the presses and reject it back to Draft state.  After a resubmit, we wait three more business days. Sigh. Good Friday doesn't count.

I wanted to check on the Apple posting, but couldn't see their catalog unless I downloaded their ibook application and searched from inside there. I had to ask my wife nicely if I could put it on her iphone, and then searched. I typed in my name, and nothing happened at first. Then, my book popped up.  There was a moment of great joy when it popped up on the shelf!

The joy quickly faded. The blurb they give people to sell the book at Apple uses the long pitch, not the short one, but only the first two sentences fit on the tiny iphone screen. No one would purchase based on that.  Back to the drawing board.  I will fix that today, and in two to three weeks, the corrected first sentence will appear.  I'd say "like magic" but that would be like the beanstalk in Jack and the Beanstalk being replaced by bamboo.  One type of bamboo grows something like 40 feet in five years, but most of it in the last year. Writing is like that, four years buried in dirt and fertilizer, one year reaching like crazy for the light.

Friday, April 15, 2011

POD people calling

I've been checking my email and smashwords multiple times a day. This morning, I look and there is a a notification that (retroactively), I was approved on 4/13! It shipped to Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Diesel today.  One week till the next milestone.

Yesterday, I talked to the Amazon POD people, the good kind - Print On Demand.  You pay them $758 for design plus 0.19 cents a word for edit and you have a book that anyone can order on line. The profit on my $16 target book, Foundation for the Lost, was about $4.48 a copy. This means 605 copies to break even. I suppose this could also be amortized over the e-books.

From what I gather, advertising helps little for Amazon unless you get a burst of orders on the same day, catapulting you to "best seller" status, however briefly. This loop becomes self-sustaining, because most people only see and order from this list. Once you have enough orders, you benefit from drag - people who ordered this book also ordered X. If I act this month, I get a 15% discount on the edit.

Wow, that means Weston editing the Scarab was really valuable! I'd still want other people to look at Foundation before the editor gets it because I only get one pass. I want the paid comments to be focused on a macro level to make it the best product possible. Perhaps I can use ebook procedes to fund a POD project.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the carriage ride from Shrek

The count is up to 15 downloads.
The premium approval should be this Friday from what I am told.
If they get it stamped in time, it goes out to the channels the same day; otherwise, it waits till the next Friday to ship.  I opted in for all distributors. Once in their hands, it will take another week for Apple and two for everyone else to put it on the shelf.  This is e-commerce, the e standing for electronic. You know, the stuff that moves at the speed of light?

If I were a kid, I'd be sitting in the back seat asking, "Are we there yet?"

That's why it's called Far, Far Away, Donkey.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the fuse is lit

I did all the formatting myself for the book, and posted it to Smashwords. You can pay someone, but I stopped just short of my PhD dissertation in Computer Science, so I figured I could handle it.  The instructions were very well written. The submission queue took over 5 hours. That's okay because it took me longer to decide on the price ($2), and whether I should cut all the swear words (I did). I went to bed right after I verified the automated formatting. My only complaint was that the PDF output doesn't start with the cover page. When I read the manual again, they explained that you can always insert your cover manually, but this generates two covers in the Kindle format. Ick.

When I woke up, I had my first sale! By dinner time I had a second.  It feels fantastic. I haven't disabled the automated email that tells me about every sale. It's like a positive stroke each time I check my mail. Next, I sent out 50 invitations to bloggers to review my story.

I have 12 downloads now, and 2 very nice reviews (4/5 stars). Two more blogs said they would be glad to review me once I'm on the premium sites. That should be by April 10th. I feel like I waiting for a baby to arrive. They come in their own time, and we have no control.

I already have a goverment ID card for the little one:
ISBN: 978-1-4524-9618-4