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Old 01-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #76
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Steve,

First...one of the bright spots I saw in the initial Kindle release was the ability for author's to electronically self-publish with them. Of course you already can do that via other software. But here you can gain exposure with a site like Amazon. Nice.

Next, as far as promotions...yeah paying someone to do it can be expensive without a doubt. BUT, you are in a smaller market and while there is competition it's not as difficult to get on that first page above the fold doing it yourself.

For about a decade I have used a program off and on for client sites as well as a former smaller market business I created online. It helped we were an early adopter of selling and offering information online but still there was competition.

I found a free, at the time, program called WebCEO (Web Search Engine Optimization). It worked great as it also blasted info out to many of the very obscure niche & freak web search engines. We shot up to the number one result from Google for the two years I stayed on top of it and before my biz partner filed personal bankruptcy and took the biz down with him. Not really his fault but he never gave me a chance to buy him out, even under the table. bad advice from his attorney.

But anyway, it's an excellent package and I see they still offer a free version to try out. They top end product is not very pricey at all.

Getting outside of Google, Yahoo, MSN and whoever are also not a bad thing for a business. There are MILLIIONS of people who simply find these smaller search engines more within their comfort zone.

The software also helps optimize with the major search engines also...

Last, why can you not join the Amazon Affiliate program and promote your books that way, rather than directly? That would reduce the effective overhead of Amazon's cut. If need be put in your better-half's name or a good buddy.

But, it will be interesting to see how this all pans out for author's such as yourself. I can see it catching on even with established authors. They already have a name they no longer need the big publishers, specially so for ebooks.

Anyway, this might all have already been apparent to ya...but thought I would pass it along...we need you guys to eat regular so we have new stuff to read.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:19 AM   #77
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I have been taking steps to optimize my search tags on Amazon's site, and I believe it is already helping. I haven't looked at any programs like WebCEO in a while, but it might be time to have another look.

I didn't know about Amazon's affiliate program, so I'll look into it. If it is a tool that could legitimately help indie authors, you'd think Amazon would make mention of it through the DTP system, but then, there are a lot of DTP benefits that Amazon is proving slow to implement (like HTML in their description sections, which they still haven't accomplished).

Amazon has finally acquiesed to users asking that unfinished or bad entries can be deleted. However, I'm sure that was for their own need to clear their databases of bad material, more than DTP users' need to clear their shelves.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:58 PM   #78
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Steve -

I've got two novels up in the Kindle store; I addressed the lack of a 'search inside the book'/'read an excerpt' limitation by hosting pdf excerpts of each novel outside of Amazon, on personal web space, and providing a link to each excerpt in the description passage for each book.

Also, as I'm also an independent, I thought you might be interested in my blog, "Indie Author":
http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com

It's relatively new and I've only made 2 blog entries so far, but I've included a section with links of interest to indie authors, and a link to an interview I gave to The Writing Cast on the topic of how and why I became an indie author. Other writers I know are just beginning to discover DTP and the many other tools they can use to convert their work into ebook formats, and several have asked if I can provide some how-to articles in that vein. I'm trying to get those articles up and linked from my blog in the next few weeks, so bookmark it and check back from time to time. Which isn't to say I think you need *my* help---your website makes that much clear---but I may have hit on some tips or ideas you haven't, and vice-versa. I've already bookmarked your site for my own edification!

Last edited by April Hamilton; 03-03-2008 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:26 PM   #79
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April

April I read your blog and some of your comments in the Amazon Kindle forum. It seems that one (both?) of your books used to be 80 cents in Kindle format but the price has risen.

Also, I'd like to read that forum that you had a bad experience with, if you could post the link to it.

Thanks much.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:19 AM   #80
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Kingston -

I originally priced my first DTP release as low as possible, thinking price point would be a major factor in convincing Kindle owners to take a chance on a new author. As it turns out, within reasonable limits they don't seem terribly concerned about price, provided they are given access to a try-before-you-buy excerpt, so I made excerpts available.

I still would've been OK virtually giving copies of my ebooks away, but there was growing suspicion in some quarters that my books were *only* selling due to the bargain price. Since I'm at the forefront of the new and growing indie author movement, anything that can detract from the perceived legitimacy of my work is to be avoided. Therefore, I repriced that first novel at $4.99 and set the original list price for my second DTP release at $5.99---but these prices are still a bit lower than the going rate for Kindle editions from well-known authors.

As to that discussion group...I prefer not to name them, since whatever you post on the internet can come back to bite you when it's least expected and most inconvenient. Moreover, since the great majority of group members had no involvement whatsoever in what happened, it seems unfair to expose the entire group to closer scrutiny on account of the actions of just a few members.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:26 AM   #81
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Free, For A Limited Time...Guide to Publishing w/ DTP

As promised, I've written a guide to using the Amazon DTP to create Kindle editions of manuscripts and put them up for sale in the Kindle book store. Because it ended up taking an awful lot of time and effort, and I intend to write some similar guides on related topics, I'm thinking that when I've got them all done I would do well to combine them and sell them as a book.

But in the meantime, I'll be making each one available for free for a limited time via a link on my Indie Author blog. Since it's after midnight here in L.A. and I'm far too tired to go post that link right now, I'm providing it here to any and all takers from the MobileRead forums. Enjoy, and feel free to save a copy of your very own!
http://www.thinkydink.com/HowToUseAmazonDTP.pdf
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Old 03-04-2008, 10:03 AM   #82
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April, I just looked over the PDF, and you did a great job! You cover the process very accurately.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:58 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by April Hamilton View Post
As promised, I've written a guide to using the Amazon DTP to create Kindle editions of manuscripts and put them up for sale in the Kindle book store. Because it ended up taking an awful lot of time and effort, and I intend to write some similar guides on related topics, I'm thinking that when I've got them all done I would do well to combine them and sell them as a book.

But in the meantime, I'll be making each one available for free for a limited time via a link on my Indie Author blog. Since it's after midnight here in L.A. and I'm far too tired to go post that link right now, I'm providing it here to any and all takers from the MobileRead forums. Enjoy, and feel free to save a copy of your very own!
http://www.thinkydink.com/HowToUseAmazonDTP.pdf
Wow, thank you so much for this April. It's very helpful.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:34 PM   #84
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IndieAuthor Update

Hi, guys! Wanted to let you all know I've now got an author website up:
http://www.aprillhamilton.com

I've written some additional IndieAuthor Guides and posted them there (on the "IA Guides" page). I'm still intending to write a whole series of Guides to compile into a single volume for publication as a book, but after reading the "Free" article in this month's Wired magazine I've decided that even after the book is available for sale I'm going to leave the individual Guides up on my site for free download.

Finally, I've opened a Cafepress shop to sell IndieAuthor t-shirts, mugs, etc. with slogans like, "Independence: It's Not Just For Musicians and Filmmakers Anymore" on them. There's a link to the shop on my site ('Merchandise' link), but I'll post it here, too:
http://www.cafepress.com/indieauthorshop

I hope you'll find something of interest at my site, and FYI, I'm still blogging too; I just link to my blog from my site now.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:35 PM   #85
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I Need A Favor...Do You Need Some Good Karma?

I just got my first press release out, announcing my ABNA novel "Adelaide Einstein" has become a bestseller in the Kindle store. The more traffic I can drive to the release, the better. If I can get it enough attention, and tomorrow's a slow news day, maybe the AP will even pick it up. Can any of y'all who have accounts with Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Furl, De.licio.us or Blinklist please go submit it? Thanks!
Here's the link

Edited to add: just so no one thinks I'm being deceptive, Amazon has a 'bestseller' list in each category and my novel is currently at #10 in one of those lists. Also, Amazon sales ranks are constantly being recalculated on the fly as books sell, so even though my other Kindle novel was ranked in the top 10 of 'Mystery', and higher than current books from Evanovich, Robb and Patterson for a whole week, such rankings are always transient. However, both of my Kindle-edition novels have been pretty consistently hanging around the #1000 sales rank mark for the Kindle store overall, and since there are around half a million Kindle books in that store, I think it speaks well for how they're being received by readers overall.

Last edited by April Hamilton; 03-25-2008 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:08 AM   #86
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I just got my first press release out, announcing my ABNA novel "Adelaide Einstein" has become a bestseller in the Kindle store.
Congratulations! That's better than I'm doing with 10 books!
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:42 PM   #87
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End of the chapter

So, it has been 1 year. And in that time, the 11 books I have had in the Kindle store have netted me... (drumroll, please) ...$50 and change.

In fact, I didn't know I had made even that. That's because Amazon's 3 payments showed up unobtrusively in April, July, and October, and were so small as to be practically unnoticeable.

Since I hadn't noticed the payments, I tried calling Amazon to speak to someone about it. I was told there was no phone number to call to the DTP department. I was given 2 e-mail addresses. I got no responses from either. So I went to the forum, where I left a message, and another author gave me a third e-mail address. Again, I received no answer. Finally, I submitted a second e-mail to the forum, wherein I used the following title:

"I have been advised to sue Amazon."

Then I got a reply.

All told, it took me about a month to find out that I had made a grand total of $50.00 over the past year through the Kindle store. And in combining the pittance I made with the pretty lousy customer service response, it was easy for me to come to the following decision:

I have removed my e-books from the Kindle store.

Obviously, this won't present much of a loss, to Amazon, to my customers, or to me. My customers can still buy MobiPocket versions of my e-books, and load them onto their Kindles manually. And if they have a problem, they can e-mail me (not "SJB," not tech support, not the accounting department in Reno, but me) and get a response. From me.

I will not go so far as to advise others not to use the Kindle DTP system. I will state that it clearly did not work for small publisher me and my 11 science fiction books. I will also state that the general consensus among DTP users is that the support from the DTP staff has never been timely or positive... they've all but actively chased customers away. Check out the DTP forums, and you'll see what I mean.

And so, we come to the end of the chapter. No more DTP, no more Kindle store, no more bad customer service to deal with. That's the way it goes, sometimes. Moving on.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:47 PM   #88
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And so, we come to the end of the chapter. No more DTP, no more Kindle store, no more bad customer service to deal with. That's the way it goes, sometimes. Moving on.
Does this mean the people that did buy the ebooks will not longer have access to them?

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Old 12-04-2008, 10:50 PM   #89
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Does this mean the people that did buy the ebooks will not longer have access to them?
No. Part of Amazon's agreement is that they get to keep the books I published, as long as even one person has bought them... specifically, in order to be able to resupply the books to those past purchasers when they upgrade their HW/SW, etc. So, in fact, my books will be in Amazon's system in perpetuity (or until they themselves retire the Kindle system)... just not for new purchasers.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:04 PM   #90
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just not for new purchasers.
I see. Well, I am planning on buying all your books directly... as soon as.... well, as soon as people stop giving me all these great free ones. Maybe after I finish all the Sherlock Homes stories and then all of Jeffery Carvers freebees.



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