Ugh, the past few weeks have been terrible for blogging, not because I don’t have anything to say (you know me!) but because the new homeschool schedule is leaving me squeezed when, last year, I had lots of room to breathe. This year, the subjects being taught are:
- Reading & Film Club
- Martial arts
- “Soft skill” interests (world cultures, creative thinking)
- Cooking (theory and practical)
- Music (theory and practical)
I think that covers it. Classes are held in the morning and evening, so the entire family (that includes J) can participate. Being older, TW has also begun C programming.
So anyway, I’ve got to come up with a day that feels like a good, steady blogging day and, until that happens, you’re going to be confronted with posts that jump all over the week. Sorry about that.
Maybe it’s because the Chinese New Year is much more of a celebratory time around here, I didn’t even countenance any resolutions back in December, but moved on some over the past couple of weeks. And they had to do with covers and distribution.
Firstly, covers. The prevailing wisdom has it that if you have good writing and a good blurb, you should end up making a few thousand dollars a year from your self-published gem. Ha! Now, I don’t think it’s my writing and, while I hate writing blurbs, I think mine are okay. Which led me to covers. I have revamped the covers to WAR GAMES and THE CHECK YOUR LUCK AGENCY. Here’s the simplest one to explain:
When it comes to the Check Your Luck stories, I bit the bullet and made several changes:
* I got rid of Books 2 to 5. You can now just download the first book (THE CHECK YOUR LUCK AGENCY) and, if you like it, buy the omnibus (THE COMPLETE CHECK YOUR LUCK AGENCY). No halfway books to distract anyone.
* Because of this, I have reduced the price of the omnibus from US$8.99 to US$6.99. Considering that price is for 227,000 words of a multi-edited book, I think that’s a more than fair.
* We are also told to divide our foci, using a different pen-name for each genre we write in. Screw that. Seriously, I’ve had no traction from my “Cara d’Bastian” pen-name and have decided to put everything under the Augustin name where, I think, more people know me. From past sales reports, it couldn’t hurt. At all. Really.
* Then there are the covers:
I have also made some changes to the way books are distributed. Normally, I stand, checklist next to me, and tick off each etailer as I upload. I’ve hated this for several reasons:
* Smashwords is completely inflexible about how ebooks are to be formatted. I can’t, for example, have a lack of indentation on my Copyright page, and indentation in the main part of my novel. I also have to have a Table of Contents for a damn short story! I have to rely on their wonderfully-named “Meatgrinder” to produce a sub-standard PDF. (Yeah, you go tell a client that you’re putting their baby through the “Meatgrinder” and see how they feel. It’s not funny, it’s unprofessional.) The list goes on. So Sandal Press, regardless of how Forbes feels about it, is giving Smashwords the boot. Too much hassle for too little gain.
* Amazon pays me by cheque, which is a method of payment that went out with pulse-dialling. The minimum it costs me to cash an overseas cheque is SG$45 (US$35). You add it up. And I have to wait for the good ole postal system to get the cheque in the first place. Archaic!
* The Kobo dashboard is worse than useless when it comes to granular royalty reporting…when it works.
* Every change through XinXii has to be done via email to Customer Support. There is no dashboard where you can upload new versions of books, for example.
* I couldn’t find a good way to get to Overdrive and, thus, libraries.
And so on and so forth.
Then I came across a mob called Ebook Partnership. They distribute to several major sites for a flat fee of US$40/title/year (if you met the 5-book minimum) and I pocket 100% of the proceeds. Paid electronically. Every month (after a minimum threshold has been met). I think Ebook Partnership is a great idea for self-publishers outside North America, so I’m trialling several titles with them. If anything looks fishy, I’ll let you know. (I think you know that by now.)
In addition to all this, I’m also working on the first draft of the third Perdition book, QUINTEN’S CHOICE. I plan to have both the third and fourth books out this year (QUINTEN’S CHOICE / QUINTEN’S GAMBLE), and the fifth and sixth (the last!) next year. I have the names, I have the arc, I have synopses. It’s just a case of getting down and writing the bloody thing.
What’s happening at your end, stalwart reader? Care to share?