Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Concern, Cash and Capitulation – My Love/Hate of KU

                                                                              by Janis Patterson/Janis Susan May

According to some, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results. I guess I’m insane, because I’ve been avoiding Kindle Unlimited for years. Why? Because I hate even the threat of a monopoly.
Let’s face it – the ‘Zon is closer than a lot of people – myself included – think to becoming a monopoly in ebook sales, and if that goal is accomplished, how long do you think we writers will be receiving those lovely 70% royalties? On the other hand, the ‘Zon is the 800 pound gorilla in online book marketing, and that is a very real fact with which we must deal.
I have long touted the desirability of going wide, of having my books available on numerous platforms, of supporting diversity in sales venues. (In the interest of full disclosure – I will admit to having a couple of short stories exclusive to the ‘Zon for various reasons not germane to this discussion.) However, going wide can be dangerous to one’s bank account.
The ‘Zon’s exclusivity program of Kindle Unlimited, which they push shamelessly, is ruthless. If you aren’t in KU, your books get shoved down... way down. I have typed in the exact title of one of my wide books, both with and without quotation marks to show search for entirety and by word, yet in neither instance did either show up until the fourth or fifth page. The pages of books that did show up were all KU titles – some of which did not even share a single word in their title with mine.
Even with such a handicap regarding discoverability, the biggest chunk of my income is from the ‘Zon. The other venues, which I have worked so hard and done without in order to support, offer only trifling sales. And no, they don’t advertise or push my books either.
So – the question becomes, how much can I afford to support a principle when it is not supporting me? I am fortunate; I do not have to depend solely on my writing income to survive – however, it is a part of our household income. I repeat – how much are we supposed to give up in order to support a principle? One of the writers whom I have mentored, as well as several other professional friends, are in KU and making very respectable sums on page reads alone. And no, none of them are ‘book stuffing’ scammers of any stripe – just hard working writers with good stories to tell.
I’m a good writer, too, I work hard and I have good stories to tell. I’ve won awards and been on several best-seller lists (all in Europe – go figure!) but I’m buried so far in the search engine heap my books may never see the daylight of solvency.
So I have come to the conclusion that the least I can do is experiment. I’ve decided to pull some of my better-selling books from other venues and place them in KU. If they do well, I’ll move them all. To those of you readers who use non-‘Zon venues and devices, I’m sorry I shan’t be available to you, but let’s be honest - if you had bought my books I wouldn’t have to be doing this.
I still hate even the remotest hint of a monopoly.
I hate bankruptcy even more.

Friday, May 15, 2020

by Linda Thorne

Wordiness that clogs up your communications is often caused when you use filter words, something I confess comes naturally to me. I may be worse than others because someone has called me on it my entire life. Not just high school and college English or literature teachers, editors, and critique group members, but friends and family.

Let me give you some examples of common filter words. Notice our five basic senses are among them, below, in bold and underlined.

Assume,  Believe, Can (or Able to), Feel, Decide, Hear, Know, Notice, Realize (or Note), See, Seem, Sense, Smell, Taste, Touch, Wonder

Filter words separate and distance the reader from the action. They add an extra layer that the reader must wade through while, in the process, being robbed of the story's urgency. Normally, the reader is forced to follow the story only through the character’s perspective. 

This is something I work hard to minimize, but the minute I let my guard down--that moment I relax wanting to talk or write effortlessly--filter words flow from the communication. Somehow, this habit became ingrained into my being early in life. You may not fight it as much as I do, but most people will muddy a story or communication with filter words at least on occasion.  

Compare the examples below with filter words and without.

F: Joannie looked like she was going to pass out. When I heard her moan, I felt the need to hurry over to catch her.
NF: Joannie’s face turned white and her legs wavered beneath her. When she moaned, I hurried over to catch her.

F: I felt pure panic when I realized I had left my wallet on the store counter across the street. I decided to whip around to face the traffic. I heard car horns and vehicles whooshing past, but I knew I had to hurry back. When I saw the first break in the traffic, I ran.  
NF: Pure panic hit me. My wallet – I had left it on the store counter across the street. I whipped around to face the traffic. Car horns honked and vehicles whooshed past. With the first break in traffic, I ran.
See the difference?

Like any rules in writing, there will be times you’ll need to use these words. When they’re unnecessary or overused, the simple fact is they’ll slow your story down.

I enjoyed reading up on this topic, something I need to refresh myself on often, and then sharing it with all of you.

This was a nice break from these stressful times. Stay safe.

Amazon Buy Link - Kindle Selling now at $0.99 

Author Website

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery Now Live!

I did it! For a while I wasn't sure I'd actually get there, not because of COVID-19, but I couldn't seem to get myself motivated to finish it.  My writing group is not meeting right now and I've grown quite dependent upon their critiques and feedback. Yes, I did sent it out to them via email for their input, but it isn't the same.

Finally, my good friend, editor and publisher, Lorna Collins prodded me a bit and I buckled down and finished it. She's a great editor and once she went over it and I did the fixes, and ran some questions by her, the book was sent off to Amazon. (Her husband designed the cover.)

I had to make some hard decisions with this book. The big one was will it be the last? Even now I'm not sure, as I've got an idea developing for another. One of the reasons I've been thinking about whether the series should end or not is my age. I feel great--well, mostly--but it is getting harder to do the promotion part of writing. (And all the in-person events for now have been cancelled, even a book fair I usually do in October.) Though we're all hoping to see the end of this virus soon--who know how long it will be?

Life goes on despite the changes we're facing. I'm fortunate in having lots of family in my home and close by, so I'm not lonely. I do miss the ones that live afar though and will be thankful when we can all visit.

So, about the new book. The End of the Trailis available on Amazon for Kindle and in print.

To buy:

What are you  up to these days?