Archive for April, 2011

J Carson Black former traditionally published thriller author turns to self-publishing and joins Joe Ellis, the author of Spoilt and Simon Swift, the author of Black shadows on this week’s, Creating a Buzz.

In only the third month on Kindle, J Carson Black has sold over 10,000 eBooks in April, after selling only 137 in Feb and 1280 in March. The achievement is staggering and testament to the success that can be achieved. J Carson Black is following the trend in publishing of authors having their rights returned, or realizing they still enjoy the electronic rights to their published books and turning to self-publishing to boost their sales and careers.

With the financial crisis, many publishers have been reducing both the output of publishing new authors and clearing their stable of mid-list authors. Whilst it may seem sensible from a short-term business point of view, one wonders whether they are shooting themselves in the foot, by their short-term objectives and failing to keep their eye on the future.

For readers this is a bonus, as the major publishers continue to put their eBooks out at prices not too different from the printed book, leaving readers outraged on the kindle community boards. Many post comments, wondering why they bought their kindles, when there are no savings to be made from buying publishers books. Authors going in the opposite direction such as J Carson Black, are able to set a low price for their well-edited and former published books on the various electronic platforms and to provide those disaffected readers with quality product at an affordable price, that will give kindle readers a return on their investment.

Of course, it is not all one-way traffic, with the likes of Amanda Hocking accepting a three book publishing deal for a million dollars, but then she continues to make millions from her self- published eBooks. There are also many stories of Publishers and Literary agents trawling the eBook rankings looking for books to fill gaps in their catalogue. So where does all this leave the new authors?

I would say to new authors, that traditional publishing is still the way to go and to continue submitting to literary agents. Paper books are not dying. (See my archive for article) and self- publishing will not get you on the bookstore shelf. Literary Agents, love them or hate them, provide a filter for quality along the path to publishing. However, bear in mind, they are only looking for what they know publishers have a need for and many quality books slip through the net.

For those who have trodden the query, rejection path, but know they have the full toolbox for their craft and a damned good story to tell, then there has never been a better time to self-publish. All I would ask is that you consider the long game. It takes a long time to build a reader base, which many of the former published authors enjoy and have built up over many years. If you look at the eBook success of former Authonomite, Ruth Francesco and her book, Amsterdam 2012, you will note that she was a former published author. J. A. Konrath, the American thriller Author and his counterpart in the UK, the English author, S Leather, as ex published authors, they seem to dominate the charts in their respective territories.

There are exceptions, if you look at Jake Barton as an example, another former Authonomite, his book, the thriller, Burn Baby, Burn, was reported to be downloaded at the rate of 100 per day after a slow start and it is still high in the charts in the UK, together with other books he has since released.

For the average author, as a first time self-published effort, it is just the start of a career. Not everyone will enjoy overnight success. As an example of this, another Authonomite, Sharlow, went twelve months selling 50 to 100 books per month, when his sales suddenly took off to the extent that it would give most people a full time income. As for my own meager efforts … Lunch Break Thrillers one of my own books, made it straight into the UK charts for its category in February and has stayed there ever since, but as short stories seem to be a niche, I have not experience the sort of numbers quoted above.

These are exciting times for those in the self-publishing arena and for those with a quality product and determination, the future is bright … the future is Orange, eBooks.

Creating a Buzz page

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Amazon, Create Space and kindle have all announced some excellent news for authors this week.

Following hot on the heels of Amazons announcement to open their doors in Germany, many of us with eBooks now have them listed in the English section of the catalogue, providing a great opportunity for all. It may take some time for the eBook market to get going, but if it follows the UK example, it will soon take off. With a catalogue of over 600,000 titles, the books probably outnumber kindles shipped, but there is always the option for them to download books using the free ‘Download to PC’. As the largest book market, with some of the dearest printed book prices in the world, this has to be good news for all but the publishers.

Kindle followed up this news, to announce a change in how they pay European authors. If you live in Europe, to include the UK, you can now be paid by electronic transfer directly into your bank account, in either Euros or British pounds for your UK and sales. So if you have haven’t already done so, hurry along to your account settings and make the changes by adding your bank details and select DTF (Digital transfer of funds). Nothing has changed with your American royalty payments, which baffles me.Unfortuately, if you live in any other part of the world and don’t have a European, or British bank account, they will still only pay these royalties by check/cheque. This can be good news for the thousands of expats, whom still maintain an account in Europe to include the UK. I hope that this signals that Amazon as a group is sympathetic to the plight of payments to authors throughout the world and maybe eventually all payments will be made in this way.

When I contacted Amazon and asked them why they didn’t pay royalties via PayPal, they replied that they were constantly looking at the administrative method of payment to authors. So you never know; other changes may be announced in the future. Of course, there is a simple answer to this if it is a problem and that is to upload to kindle via smashwords, who do pay via PayPal, but then you would lose the flexibility of being able to make quick changes to your books.

Not to be outdone, Create Space have announced that authors can authorize their books to be available for POD after receiving the proof copy, editing and re-submitting the file, without the need to order a new proof copy. I have to say, for me this is great news. Living in Brazil, the cost of delivery is $20 for the 21-day service or$39 for the fast service. It actually took two months for one of my books to arrive. The result is that my proofs are now sat on my table, with the enthusiasm gone to want to order new proofs and to spend a further $40. With this news, I can now upload my new files and go straight to print. I am sure there are many other authors who have only minor changes to make, where this will be beneficial, but if you have major changes to make, or you want a copy for you bookshelf at home, then I would still recommend ordering a second proof.

Authonomy post, members leave a forum comment here.

Wie formatieren Ihr Buch für eine Kindle eBook Veröffentlichung – FREI

Seit Amazon Deutschland die Türen zum Kindle Katalog öffneten, gab es nie eine bessere Zeit um Ihr Manuskript in ein eBook zu konvertieren. Die Unterweisungen sind in Englisch, aber mit dem Google Übersetzer sollte es einfach sein.

How to format your book for kindle eBook publication: FREE.

With Amazon de opening their doors to a kindle catalogue, there has never been a better time to convert your book manuscript into an eBook. The guide is in English, but with Google translator it should be easy.      Kindle eBook formatieran/ formatting

I can’t believe it has taken me two months to find out how promoting your Amazon/kindle eBooks, or POD paper books works on the various dedicated forums. Maybe it is because I have been too busy building this website and other distractions. When people talked about promoting their books on Kindle boards in America, I assumed it was owned by Amazon and that they would have a similar set up in the UK. How wrong I was.

Amazon does have its own forum in America and the UK, but they seem a little static, in that you post some PR for your books and leave it at that. I have to say though, that as of yet I have not attempted to join in the forum discussions on Amazon in the UK.

The active forum in America for eBooks is Kindle Boards. But first some history. Kindle boards started in November 2007, independent of Amazon, following the release of the first kindle. The Amazon forums of the day had a few problems with moderation and heated discussions and in 2008, members of the Amazon forums started to join Kindle boards. The majority of the new members wanted to talk about their kindles and to talk about books they had read. The growth in kindle sales, led to a growth in the membership of Kindle boards as the prime forum for kindle discussions.

From the beginning, kindle boards set the standard of heavy moderation to cut out bad language and personal attacks.

Of course, it wasn’t just kindle owners who joined, a few independent and self-published authors joined as members and took the opportunity to promote their books. This was great at first, but soon the promotion infringed on topic discussions and it was decided to set up book Bazaar, where authors could freely promote their books. Rules and decorum etiquette were put in place to prevent authors from promoting their books in unrelated topics. Authors were though allowed to use a signature in all their posts, on whichever topic they posted in and included a thumbnail of their book/s. It was thought beneficial  for kindle users to be able to could look up the books that authors had available from the authors signature if they found what the author had to say interesting.

Sometime later, Writers cafe was set up, mainly for new authors to pose questions and for readers to join in if they wished to ask questions or reply to questions from authors.

I would recommend that all new authors read the rules before posting anything. There aren’t many rules, but what there are is vitally important. As much as the readers can make you, they can also break you if you go against the rules and promote your books blatantly in their subject related forums.

Amazon forum in the UK is the same as in America. In the UK, it is early days for eBooks and the equivalent independent forum to kindle boards is Ku Forum. There is a link in the sidebar at the top of the page. Much smaller in membership than kindle boards, it is however growing as kindle sales take off in the UK and I would recommend all who read this join KU forum as eventually membership will grow and it will become the prime forum for kindle related discussions and author PR. Even now with a small membership, they receive in excess of seventeen thousand hits per month. As with kindle boards, they have rules and though the appearance of the site is different, it works in pretty much the same way.

I have not found any similar independent forums in Germany. Amazon .de, Germany has an English book forum, which seems quite lively and it is worth looking and listing the details of your book there.

If anyone has more information on, uk forums, or nook boards, please post in a reply.

Footnote: I have just joined in a discussion with readers on Ku forum, that basically says, discussions are becoming heated on and there doesn’t seem to be any moderation. Looks like history repeating itself and Ku forum will benefit.

Stop press

When I posted a link from Kindle Users Forum (KUF) in the UK, to my blog article on the mysteries of Amazon/kindle forums, following a discussion topic with readers, the owner and founder of KU forum, Lou, sent a message to thank me for mentioning them in the article.

I had only been a member of the forum for a week, so you can imagine that I was taken aback when I received his message, but somehow not surprised. This is just one example of the warm welcome I received when I joined the site. Not being one to pass up an opportunity, I messaged him back for some background information on KU Forum, for a follow up article. I was knocked out when he agreed to help and here is what I found out.

Put simply, Lou was an avid reader and a member of the UK Amazon kindle community when it first opened its doors. As a Website developer, he could see that there were shortcomings in the structure of Amazons community site, whose prime objective is to sell books and sundry equipment.

Lou searched around and looked at how other independent kindle forums were operating and found them to be centered on the American market. He decided to design and set up his own forum site, to cater for the British reader and author. His choice of forum software came down to ensuring that the forum would interface with the kindle platform, to give the best experience for kindle users, when accessing  KU Forum  from their Kindle or computer.

With the explosion in sales of kindles, he was surprised at how quickly KU Forum took off. Not one to be caught out by the demand, Lou had decided from an early stage that he wouldn’t tolerate trolls, spam and abusive behavior, which would drive members away. His moderation policy is to be fair but firm. This approach has resulted in a friendly atmosphere on the forums between moderators and members.

There are a number of features on KU Forum that are not available on Amazon, for example, when authors post PR in the authors section, tweets are automatically generated. This comes from Lou’s belief that authors are an equally important part of the mix of membership. PR from authors is set aside from the other posts and the discussion forums can be about anything, not just kindle related. Lou would encourage authors to join in these discussions and to mingle with the other members. From his experience there is far more to be gained by joining in on discussions with other members, which adds to the friendly ambience of the site.

Another feature of the site is the home page. Posts that are generated as PR are posted in full on the centre of the page as they are written and posted. Advertising is available at very reasonable rates and helps to support the onward development of the site and can negate the need to over promote, which he feels at times can be a problem, but in which he fully appreciates the authors position. These are not the only features and it is worthwhile you looking at the site and having a good look around.

Lou is constantly looking to enhance how the site works for the benefit of all and is to be commended for his efforts. I would say to all followers of my blog, that his site is more than worthy of support and if you have a blog site, go to KU Forum, enroll and to collect the html to add the badge to your site.

Note: US spellings.

Authonomy post. Members, please  leave a comment on the forum post.

© Declan Conner and, 2011. see sidebar copyright notice.

Well, The rumours over the last 12 months that Amazon were to open a kindle store in Germany are at last fact. Time to brush up on your German, or at least familiarize yourself with Google translate, if you are to promote your books on, Forum zu “englische bücher”, or Forum for ‘English Books’.

With American and British armed forces, their families and support staff  based in the country, this is welcome news. But let’s not forget the entire population are taught English as a second language, therefore there are endless possibilities for authors to promote their English books on kindle.

Germany is the top market in Europe for book sales and so far the German publishers have managed to hold back the progress of eBooks in the country. Currently eBooks account for only 5% of book sales. Germany has some of the highest retail prices for books in Europe, so it is no wonder publishers have been reluctant to embrace the technology. For those self-published and indie authors’, this is a great opportunity, as their prices will come as something of a shock to German readers.

Kindle are boasting a catalogue of 650,000 books to include 71 of the top 100 German language books. Let’s see how long it takes for the publishers of the other 21 to cave in.

Joanne Ellis features in this weeks, Creating a Buzz section. With over 100,000 downloads of her 1st book, Spoilt, things are looking good for Joanne.  We met up in Facebook and here is what she had to say about her experience.

Creating a Buzz

In the 1980’s, during the Afghan conflict, Russian soldiers stumbled on ####### of #### in the ##### ####### Hills, on the border with Iran. In a 2005 report commissioned by The CIA and later posted on Wikipedia, estimates were made of ###### ######### ##### ####### ###### such as  ###### ####### ###### ####### ### 3####### ############# ###.

In 2010, these estimates had quadrupled. The 2005 report has since been allegedly removed from Wikipedia, when it became widely reported that ##### had wrong footed the Pentagon on ### ###### of #### ##### ###### and put in jeopardy the manufacture of ##### ###### ######, crucial to our armed forces and our technological dominance in conflicts. Further #####’# monopoly of producing ##### ##### ######, is a serious threat to the electronic manufacturing industry and they have already begun to limit supplies to the world market. Under no circumstances must a connection be made to these facts and the stated reason for the conflict in Afghanistan in order to maintain the emotional support of our citizens.


Of course, this is not an official report, but there are plenty of facts in there, which if I didn’t blank them out would give away, the plot to my not so short and controversial story, ‘Where there is a will, there is a war’. The story is just one of 12 in the compilation titled, ‘Lunch Break Thrillers’ and available on kindle to download at $0.99 in America and 70p in the UK. Prices may vary in other countries due to local taxes.

The story is innovative in that I have used links to articles to make the story interactive and add a ring of truth to what is otherwise a fiction thriller and leave you with something to ponder long after you have turned the last page on the story.

Not got a kindle . . . Don’t worry you can download a version FREE to your PC direct from Amazon. Simply click on the book page for your Country and scroll down. On the right hand side, you will see where to action the download.