Saturday, 22 August 2015

Rejecting Rejection- an anecdote from a young reader

A rejection can come in many forms. A non-response; a form letter thanking you for your submission but regretfully declining; or even a response full of praise and compliments, which ultimately still says...

But rejection is NOT the end of the road. Not the first time, not the hundredth time. I've been there. I still am there. As a writer, you learn to cope with rejection. You make an active choice to let it destroy your career, or propel you to higher heights.
I made that choice very early on in my career, back when I was working a fulltime corporate job while sneaking in writing time any chance I had. I rejected rejection, even after receiving more than one hundred of those annoying little e-mails that make you hold your breath and cross your fingers, only to make it feel like you've been broken up with afterwards. It stings--I get it. But I can tell you with one-hundred-percent certainty that the sting of rejection doesn't compare to the thrill of success when a single READER accepts your work, rating it five stars, writing a glowing review of the massive difference your book made in their life. It makes all the rejection worth it. I promise.
For example, despite my love for writing Children's books, I've had little success selling them. While my YA novels have sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide, my six-book Children's series, The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves, has sold less than 1,000 copies. I've attempted to entice several publishers to embrace the series, and I had one close call with a major publisher that carried the book through multiple rounds of approval over the course of a year, before finally saying "no thanks" like everyone else. So were the countless hours I spent writing, editing, publishing, and promoting this series worth it if the royalties will likely never be enough to even pay for the cost of the cover design?
I can sum up the answer with a single anecdote I received yesterday from a parent of a child who read the first Nikki Powergloves book a year ago. Here's what she said:
"One year ago, Katee hated reading and was a grade behind and then she spent Christmas break with Grandma and fell in love with Nikki Powergloves. Now we can't get her to stop reading! So when we sat here and read your kind words I cried like a baby!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! WE LOVE NIKKI POWERGLOVES!!! Keep using your amazing talents and we will keep reading!"
That kind of message is a game-changer. It makes you realize that the words you choose to write mean something, that they might be read by someone who needs them more than you, someone who will use them in a really really positive way. Someone like a 5th-grader named Katee.
So it doesn't matter that a major editor doesn't think Nikki Powergloves is a good fit for their catalogue. Maybe the next one will. Or maybe they won't. Either way, the book still had a positive impact on this world, if only for one child who learned to love reading.
If you're an aspiring writer, please please please don't give up. Your words ARE important, even if it takes a while for someone to say it. Write for you, write for your future readers, write to change the world.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Last Two Nikki Powergloves books now available!

The last two books in my children's superhero series, The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves, are now available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback! These two books are particularly special to me as I was fortunate enough to get to work with a team of amazing kid beta readers in Mrs. Clanton's 3rd-grade class in Buffalo, South Dakota. Many of the scenes (and even an entire character) was based on THEIR ideas--I merely brought them to life with words. I hope parents and their kids enjoy the conclusion to Nikki's epic adventure!

Book 5- Nikki Powergloves VS. the Power Outlaws
Buy the Paperback            Buy the Ebook

Book 6- Nikki Powergloves and the Power Giver
Buy the Paperback            Buy the Ebook

Thanks for all your support!



Saturday, 15 August 2015

An Experiment- How to take advantage of the new Amazon KDP Unlimited Program

With the recent changes to Amazon's payout scheme for Kindle Unlimited authors, many are left scratching their heads as to whether the changes help them or hurt them. The answer is, of course: It depends.

Mostly, it depends on the length of your books, as now the amount you get paid from the fund is directly tied to the number of pages read each month through the KDP Unlimited program. Personally, I think this is an extremely POSITIVE change. Why? Because now a longer book that took significantly more effort to write, edit, and publish gets paid more for each reader. A short 40-page novella might grab around $0.23 per read (example calculations shown below), while a 500-page full-length novel could grab $2.90 per read, assuming each reader finishes the entire book. The bottom line is that this is a much more fair system. Previously, most books downloaded through KDP Unlimited were receiving an equal royalty per download (generally between $1.30 and $1.40), as long as the reader made it through at least ten percent of the book. Now everything has CHANGED.

To figure out how to best take advantage of the new KDP Unlimited program, I did an experiment for one of my books:

-I enrolled my longest book, Brew, in KDP Unlimited, as well as the two sequels, Boil and Burn
-Page lengths for each book (note: this is Amazon's Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count or KENPC): Brew- 611; Boil- 518; Burn- 469
-I set the regular price of Brew at $2.99 and the sequels at $4.99
-I did a FREE promotion of Brew on BookBub, which cost a little over $100



-Brew had 36,000 free downloads over the five day promotion (not surprising, BookBub is THE BEST place to go to promote your book)
-In the five days of the promotion, pages read of each book in the series through Kindle Unlimited were as follows:
    -Brew- 31,000 (also, every day since it's had MORE than 6,000 pages read)
    -Boil- 28,000
    -Burn- 14,000
-Additionally, I sold HUNDREDS of copies of the sequels at full price ($4.99) during and after the promotion.

The price you get paid per page read depends on the total fund provided by Amazon for the month, divided by the total number of pages read through the KDP Unlimited program. As an example, we'll use June 2015's per-page royalty, which was about $0.0057.

So in five days I earned the following royalties just from Kindle Unlimited for this particular series:
Brew- 31,000 x .0057 = $177
Boil- 28,000 x .0057 = $160
Burn- 14,000 x .0057 = $80
TOTAL = $417

This was a hugely successful promotion for me, especially considering the after-promo KDP Unlimited numbers have also been fantastic. I definitely plan to do additional similar promotions with my other lengthy series in order to take advantage of the KDP Unlimited program.

-Long books are GREAT candidates for enrollment in KDP Unlimited
-Series are especially effective, as you give readers the chance to read your entire series for "free", while accumulating a significant number of pages read, for which you get paid royalties
-As always, well-edited quality books will have the most success, as they will keep your readers turning the pages!
-BookBub promotions (and other price promotions) are a great way to draw attention to your KDP Unlimited series. Something really cool that I didn't expect was that many of those that downloaded Brew on the first day of my promotion (when it was FREE), actually downloaded it through KDP Unlimited, which meant I was getting paid rather than just giving away books like I'd usually be doing. How awesome is that?!

I'd love to hear your opinions/experiences, so please comment below. Let's start a discussion! And as always, feel free to send me an e-mail if you have specific questions or just want to bounce some ideas off of me :)

CONSIDERATIONS: this promotional technique seems to work well as of the time of this experiment (August 2015), but of course would need to be reevaluated as the KDP Unlimited program changes, as well as the size of the fund and payout per page.
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