Tag Archives: change

Shifting Focus

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You may have noticed that recently I have written more about reading or the book community rather than writing, and while that wasn’t on purpose, I have found that I have had an easier time writing those blog posts and enjoyed doing so. Because of that, I have decided that the focus of this blog will shift more to reading than writing. Obviously, there will still be posts about my books (it is my author website and I do have to do promo) and the occasional post where I talk about anxiety or whatever is on my mind. What I won’t be doing more than likely is discussing how one should write, writing techniques, or writing in certain genres.

That might seem odd considering I’m a writer and an adjunct professor who mainly teaches writing classes (academic and creative). But I think that is part of the reason why. I spend my days teaching my students how to write more effectively, so when I come home and settled down at my keyboard, I don’t want to talk about writing techniques. What I found each time I set out to write about writing was that I felt someone else could have written the post.

It’s strange. In my classroom, working one on one with my students during workshop, I feel like we can work out nearly any issue and figure out how to make a scene better. I can teach them techniques, speak for two hours on fight scenes and blood loss and how to create emotional impact, but online the things I love talking about in the classroom lose their appeal. Perhaps it’s because I can’t speak to you or ask you probing questions and actually receive answers. Or maybe it’s because I can’t pack these posts full of visuals like I do with my lessons or because a two hour lecture would be torturous to read online and brevity has never been my strong suit.

As a writer, I felt pressured to write about writing, and I ended up walking away from my blog for a while except to post book promo and the occasional Kara-is-having-a-meltdown-and-hates-feeling-human post. Then, I wrote a few posts about reading and the words seemed to flow more freely than they had in months. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Reading is one of my favorite activities, and in real life, I don’t have a consistent outlet for discussing what I read. It makes sense that my blog could serve as that outlet, especially since people who read might read my books and vice versa.

So in the future, expect to see more posts about reading, books of nearly every genre, perhaps something about whatever drama is rocking the publishing industry (like the shit show that just went down at Riptide), and a monthly wrap-up of what I’ve read each month. I don’t like to write reviews as I hate the trend of panning books for attention, so instead, these posts will act as recommendations or commentaries rather than good/bad reviews.

In the future, I might compose more posts about writing now that I’m giving myself the space to not write about it. I hope that makes sense.

So for now, I will follow my fancy and write about reading.

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Diversifying Distribution

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For the past year, I have had my books on only Amazon/Kindle because I wanted to be enrolled in their program KDP select, which allowed me to run sales and for others to download my book via Kindle Unlimited, which gave me a certain amount if the reader read past 10% of my book. Honestly, I have no complaints about being strictly on the Kindle (along with paperbacks), but I know that many of my readers do not use a Kindle.

This is the main reason I decided to branch out. I didn’t want to limit my audience to my own preferences, so I decided to look into services that distributed to other ebook servces. There are basically two choices: Smashwords and Draft2Digital.

When I first published The Earl of Brass, I decided to get my manuscript professionally formatted, so I could upload it to Smashwords. I paid less than $50 for formatting, but despite being professionally formatted, Smashwords still wouldn’t release the story to iBooks or put it in their premium catalog, which is reserved for perfectly formatted manuscripts. No matter how many times I or the formatter tinkered with it, it still wouldn’t go through. I gave up and pulled my manuscript off Smashwords and stayed exclusively on Kindle. I was frustrated and not particularly willing to try to branch out again despite possibly finding a wider audience. At that time, Smashwords was the main deal because they branched out to the most services, but since then, Draft2Digital has stepped up as a viable alternative.

I’m trying not to make this a PSA about how wonderful D2D is, but I have to gush over how much easier it was to use than Smashwords. Instead of having to feed my manuscript through a “meat grinder,” which usually kicks it out telling you what is wrong with the formatting of the manuscript, D2D allows you to simply upload a word document, and they convert it to other formats. No following a 200 page long style guide, no meat grinder, no putting my head through the plaster with frustration. I was in heaven. It would still be prudent to use a cleanly formatted word document (12 pt font, times new roman or garamond, 1.15 spacing, and justified), but the process was so easy. At first, I was suspicious. How great could it be if it was that easy and they only take a small royalty? Well, they may not distribute to ALL of the sites Smashwords does, but it distributes to these major distributors: iBooks, Nook, Scribd, Kobo, Tolino (big in Germany, which has a high English-speaking population), and the Page Foundry. I uploaded The Earl of Brass on the 9th, and by the 10th, it was on all six of the platforms. It even automatically created a table of contents for my book by searching it for the distinctive bolding and font size I used on chapter headers. It was fantastic.

Okay, well, I lied when I said I wouldn’t gush. The downside is that unlike Smashwords, D2D does not have a centralized store/directory where I can directly sell all of my books in epub or mobi format. Hopefully in the future they will open that service. One of the things I love is that they are still expanding their distribution channels and website, so who knows if D2D will catch up with Smashwords in terms of distribution channels. For now, I’m content to have my books out on seven different channels along with paperbacks.

Some may wonder what the point is of diversifying platforms when Amazon has such a high percentage of the market? Well, I want my book in as many readers’ hands as I can, and I can only do that if I hit most of the major platforms. More than likely, Amazon will still be where the majority of my sales are, but I know several people personally who use a Nook or Kobo. Plus, I want my books to be perceived as professional, and while Amazon is great, a professional author should also have their books on other platforms (or at least that is what I think). I want people to be able to read my book and not have to download a special app to do it.

Over the weekend, I plan on uploading The Winter Garden as well, but it doesn’t faze out of KDP Select until the June 12th. By Sunday, it should be live on iBooks, Nook, Scribd, Tolino, the Page Foundry, Kobo, and Kindle in ebook form. If you’re interested in picking up a copy on these new platforms, please head to the tab at the top of the page marked Buy Links where all of the ebook links have been updated for The Earl of Brass and will shortly be updated for The Winter Garden as well.

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