Considering Amazon Marketing Services

Note: Remember that you read it here first…hehe.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that while I consider myself a good writer and storyteller, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for promoting my books. I suppose it’s the last of my naivety to think that merely putting out a story with a snazzy cover would be enough.

Apparently, I’ve learned that the reality of putting out my stuff with little to no support isn’t a good idea. We live and learn by doing.

I publish through Amazon and Createspace and lately Amazon Marketing Services has been sending me advertisement emails talking up their ad campaign opportunities. I’ve known about then for a while but have been resistant to invest the necessary funds for fairly obvious reasons. However, I’ve been reconsidering that option because even as stubborn as I am known to be, I can’t deny the logic that even though I personally don’t like to promote my stuff, paying someone else to do it for me isn’t a bad way to go.

Amazon Marketing Services generally charges around $100 for a 30-day ad cycle, which wouldn’t break my finances, but as I consider this option as a test case, I’m stymied by one simple yet thorny question:

WHICH BOOK DO I USE?

Currently, I have three novelettes and one full-length novel out there. Each would be well served to be the first but I’m having trouble deciding which to choose for my experiment. I won’t say that I have much to lose here (maybe $100) but the potential for growth makes any risk acceptable.

Pro-Conning this is becoming a pain in the backside but I want to choose my next steps very carefully. Once committed, there’s not much point in turning back.

Thoughts?

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Speaking for Myself

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing stories. Love em, love em, love em… I like to think of each story as a potential pilot for a new series.

On my computer, I have an Excel Spreadsheet that outlines the writing projects that I want to work on. It’s not easy for me to work on a schedule so when my inner rebel starts acting up, creativity tends to lag. I’m not making excuses, merely telling it like it is.

During a relatively sleepless night this past evening, I took advantage of the time to do a little self-analysis and I came to the conclusion that I have a bad habit of creating routines that aren’t sustainable over the long term. Lights and Shadows is moving along at a snail’s pace and while I have faith in its potential, I feel the pull of the Parallax Sequels.

In retrospect, I believe that I didn’t take enough time off between projects and because I made a personal commitment to Lights and Shadows, I’ve been feeling a little stuck. Down Time is important whether we realize it or not and while finishing by September is certainly attainable, creating new story worlds and characters for each and every individual story from scratch gets a little tedious after a time. However, the process is as it is and no amount of complaining on my part will change that. It feels good to vent a little though…hehe.

Posting Excerpts

Some time ago, I had this crazy idea that if I posted excerpts from my stories, they would generate interest and possible sales. I’ve since found this to be a hit or miss proposition because I’ve discovered no direct link between posting previews and an increase in pages read or books bought.

And that’s okay…

Why? Because if you think anything like me, you despise being “sold” on anything and would like to discover it for yourself. It’s more fun for me to share my writing here than to spend time thinking of creative ways to coax people to go to Amazon.

Settings Sunday

There are characters that often go unsung in stories.

I’m referring, of course, to Setting, the surroundings that our characters interact with and among within a story. Without good settings, all you have are characters milling around talking to each other. If that’s what you’re going for, then bravo. If not, then let’s examine the importance of Setting in Storytelling.

1) What is Setting?

As I stated above, Settings are the surroundings that characters interact with and among. Settings are slices of the world they exist in. A room, a car, the pizza restaurant they eat at. Think of them as the stage backdrops to a literary performance, complete with sets, props, etc.

2) What qualifies as a Setting?

Anything can qualify as a Setting. In Corona, for example, I used a haunted Victorian Hotel as the setting for the story. In The Three Safeties, I used a variety of settings including a suburban home, a coastal Chesapeake Bay City, and a secret complex located in a warehouse, among others. In Vessel, underground cities, The Earth’s surface in Nuclear Winter, an alien planet and a couple of spaceships here and there. In Parallax, I pulled out all the stops and used the Milky Way Galaxy. There are no limits.

3) How important are Settings to a Story?

Settings are important because they literally add the world to stories. Even if for some reason, the writer decides not to describe a setting at all, they are still adding a setting because the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.

4) How much description should go into a Setting?

I don’t feel that there’s an easy answer to this one except to say that in many cases less is more. You can go into intricate detail over it or you can simply describe enough to give the reader a general idea of where each scene is taking place. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do this.

5) How do I pick a good Setting?

A good way to decide is to remember these steps and let your imagination and creativity take it from there: Who, What, When, Where, and Why

6) A Pizza Restaurant?

Yes, I like Pizza. 🙂

As always, comments are always welcome and the books I’ve mentioned here are available on Amazon. You can find the link to my Amazon Author Page on the Right Sidebar.

Happy Writing!

Special Thanks to The UK

I’ve noticed some increased interest in Parallax and Vessel over in the UK and I wanted to take this moment to thank those who bought copies and are reading them on their Kindles. You guys make me feel a little like when Hendrix went over and made it big before returning to the US.

Thanks ever so much. 😀

Parallax and Vessel are available on Amazon for $4.99 and $.99 on Kindle, respectively.

Parallax Price Change

Earlier today I had a heated argument with someone close to me and while I love a good debate, I couldn’t deny that the points they made regarding the book’s pricing were very valid. Their points were as follows:

1) The price doesn’t reflect the quality of the work.

2) Lower prices mean lower royalties on Sales.

3) Lowering the price may present the appearance of not having enough faith in the material

4) Lowering the prices to encourage exposure isn’t a good reason. All I was doing was shortchanging myself in the long run.

If you recall, I made an announcement some time ago that I was lowering the Kindle Price from $4.99 to $2.99. The intention for the price change was to make the book more attractive to potential buyers. Well, dropping the price made no difference whatsoever and seemed to have the opposite effect among those who had previously bought it and contacted me about it wondering why such a drastic (their view) drop in price. My explanation didn’t appear to be satisfactory to anyone involved.

Then, there were the articles that came to my attention recently about customers demanding more free books and the backlash among authors who feel (rightfully so) that they should be paid for their efforts. While making money is low on my list of priorities, I’m not a fan of working for free.

I’m sure that you can guess where I’m going with this. Parallax is back at its Kindle Price of $4.99 and no more shuffling of the economic deck. If people buy it, they buy it. If not, then I move on to the next project. Rome wasn’t built in a day.