Thursday, 23 May 2013

Easy Peasy Video Trailers

I found out about Animoto from a loop I'm on and checked it out. This is the easiest program I've ever used. Needs the least possible technical knowledge. If you can upload a picture and click on things, you can make a video.

All you do is choose a background style - you can watch these to see what the video will do before you choose - then upload pics, add captions, add text, choose music, watch a preview, change anything you want, and then publish.

It's brilliant, so simple and the results are absolutely fantastic.Take a look at this:

My Georgian Romances

I'd put the video on here, but I'm not that tecchie and couldn't find how to get this one instead of a Youtube one.

I've made another for a single book:

Mademoiselle at Arms

I've already got both on websites where one can promote. I thoroughly recommend Animoto. You get a 30 second video for free and all the hassle is taken out of making it. It's such fun.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Time flies and books leap!

I last posted on 10th Feb and here we are in late March and I now have 5 historical romances up on Amazon, and 3 of them going through the Smashwords game to expand into other formats.

Free books certainly give you a spike in sales, but I can definitely say that every time a new book goes up, there is more action. On the last 3, all have sold a few copies before I even did anything - not even waiting for the data to get onto Facebook and Twitter.

I suggest that every time you put up a new book, it's worth putting one that's already on there up for free.

On the other hand, if you want to publish to more than one platform, you can't join KDP Select on Amazon which is exclusive. The only difference for free days is that you have to set all the prices yourself and then reset them yourself after the free days end. With KDP Select, Amazon does it for you.

I figure it can't be too difficult to do it myself - I do know how - so with the last two books I've gone direct to Amazon and followed immediately with Smashwords instead of waiting for the 90 day period.

I'll let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, apologies for not posting more often. The problem is partly one of time, and partly due to my computer which is dying on its feet and keeps stopping to rest, leaving me waiting!! Fortunately I am getting a new one shortly, and that should simplify matters hugely.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Experiments on Kindle free promotions

I've been experimenting with two historical romances that have been on Kindle for a few months, using their final free download days before I take them out of KDP Select (which is exclusive) and expand by putting them on Smashwords.

With no promotion whatsoever, Mademoiselle at Arms reached a rank of 823 with total downloads of 1231. With a small amount of promotion (about 4 websites, Goodreads and Facebook) in two days The Conqueror's Dilemma is at a rank of 697 and the downloads look set to reach a little over 1000. There's still another day to go on this free period, but experience shows that if you stop promoting, everything slows down on the third day.

For good measure, Conqueror has made it to No. 18 in Amazon's Top 100 Free list for historical romance, and No. 97 in Romance. I didn't check Mademoiselle on these last time, but it too in the past has made it into these lists.

The first time I put the Conqueror on free, I did a massive amount of promotion, and it didn't break the 100 ranking, though it was close.

The big question here is how much have free downloads helped sales? The very first promotions caused a small spike which dwindled rapidly. The next ones did a tiny bit, but later ones did nothing.

Conclusions? Is it worth promoting free day? Well, it spreads the word. Putting it on free sites increases downloads and ranking a little. Also, Amazon do sometimes pick up the books and put them into recommendation emails. Both books have appeared on these a couple of times. There have also been spontaneous reviews for both books, which is a plus.

Facebook likes on dedicated book pages have not noticeably increased sales, and an ad on Facebook built likes (mostly from Italy) but did nothing else.

The next promotion game (apart from putting both books on Smashwords) will be to get the books listed on sites that don't require them to be free. I'll report back on that.

For the record, there's a trickle of sales on both books which now seems continuous. The trick is going to be to build these up. I suspect, from what others say, that more books is key.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Crisis - will I ever get this book into shape?

Having shamefully neglected this blog for months and months, I am driven to it by a crisis of confidence in my own abilities. I've blogged before about the Hemingway built-in shit detector. Well, mine is up and running and driving me demented.

Blog is not the only thing neglected. My third historical crime has been pushed into the background for ages due to losing any hope of a deadline when Penguin dropped the series. Other writing came up instead, and despite doing quite a lot of work on the thing, I've not managed to get back in and finish it.

Finally, when I have in the last couple of weeks started working on it again, I now find I simply cannot seem to get it into shape. I had started editing the unfinished book before I stopped work, because I had realised it wouldn't do. Coming back to it, I'm having real trouble with the revisions and begin to believe I'm going to have to rewrite from the point where it goes off the rails.

This is both anathema and panic. If you've ever experienced this, you are not alone. How many novels have I written, whether published or not? How many novels have I successfully written to publication standard and managed to get into print? Answer: loads.

Yet here I am absolutely convinced today that everything I've done in the last couple of days is not working and won't work. At the back of my mind, there is a little voice going: yes, but when you read it over it won't look so bad, and if you leave it for a couple of days, you'll see how to fix it. Hopefully that will prove to be the case.

So what's the message here? Simply this. Doesn't matter how experienced you are, there are always going to be times when you stop believing in yourself as a writer. What to do in this situation?

Well, as for me, I'm going to raid the chocolate and go watch something fun on telly. Tomorrow, as Scarlett always said, is another day...

Oh - and there is one consolation already. I do like the new title I thought up a little while ago - The Opium Purge. Ha! Where did that come from? Gosh, there must be a writer lurking in there somewhere after all.