I decided to merge my personal blog with my author blog.
You can now find it here:
Thank you for your support!
A while back - we didn't have kids, so at least 10 years ago - my husband and I went to a comic book convention. It was when comic book conventions weren't as HUGE as they are now here and they were held in a much smaller venue than where it is now. I remember that time we actually got to meet Alan Tudyk (back then an unknown... probably still for some) and he signed our copy of the "Firefly" DVD and the playbill for "Spamalot" that we went to see in NYC in which he was, fortunately, in at the time. I remember he looked at the playbill fondly and we got to have an actual conversation with him. Why I didn't take pictures? I don't know. I'm a fool I guess.
If you've never been to a comic book convention you should know it's all about people selling you stuff (t-shirts, comic books, memorabilia, etc), artists sign their work (the bigger the convention the more important artists attend) and actors who have worked in sci-fi/fantasy movies show up for autographs and pictures.
Well, that time, in that convention, there was this guy with a table in the main hallway with a pretty big poster behind him promoting his self-published book: The Tels.
Now, my husband has always been a promoter of entrepreneurs and watching this author trying to succeed made him start conversation with him and, of course, buy his book.
Now, why is this event important to me?
Well, first of all, this is an author who took a chance, bought several printed copies of his book, paid for a booth at a comic book convention and advertised his book with everything he had. I don't think I have the balls to do this! I admired him then and I admire him more now. I've thought about going to Half Price Books, setting up my booth and spend a couple of hours trying to get people to buy "A Few Drops of Fantasy", but just thinking about it makes me anxious. Why "A Few Drops of Fantasy" and not "The Recruit"? Well, "A Few Drops of Fantasy" is shorter and the printed copies are cheaper. I could probably sell them for $4 at a Half Price Books, while "The Recruit" I could sell at $6, which is expensive for a paperback. It's just the number of pages. Now, would people buy it, I don't know? It would depend a lot on my people skills, which I would need to really work on at this point. I'm usually too busy being anxious around people (wish I wasn't, believe me).
Here's another point, my husband actually read the book. He said what I wrote was better, but at least he was out there. He complimented this author's bravery more than the book's content. Also, this happened over 10 years ago and I just looked at Goodreads and look at the number of reviews:
The book has 17 ratings and 6 reviews. This is a book that has been on the market for 10 years from an author that now has over five titles published. But, he doesn't care. He doesn't give up. He keeps writing because he likes it and I admire that.
I spend so much time worrying that people are not leaving ratings/reviews or worrying that nobody will like my books when I love them so much that I don't stop to realize how brave I am being... think about how brave you're being!
Be like Paul Black! Get out there! Take a chance! Write and put your work out there for the world to find! Sure, odds are you may never reach many, but why should that stop you (er, me)?
Bottom line, writing should be about doing something you love and just be hopeful people will enjoy what comes out of your head.
I spend too much time worrying about numbers, copies downloaded, read, reviews, ratings... seriously, I should only care about writing.
IFTTT is a free platform that lets you use applets created by other users to automize different actions on social media.
When the sales for "The Recruit" started to fall, I could not understand why. Then I realized that I had stopped promoting myself and my books, especially on Twitter. I assumed, erroneously, that just by having published a book for FREE it guaranteed that people would download it - maybe not read it, but at least download it. Boy, was I wrong. It wasn't until I read a Facebook post on one of the indie author groups that I follow that I learned that I needed to keep promoting no matter what.
Now, to keep publishing is the best promotion, but I won't be able to publish until the middle of 2018, so I needed to keep moving now.
That's how I found IFTT. I had made a decision a while back to stop over-using social media. I was in a cycle of writing three to four blog posts a week in my normal life blog, plus one or two a week in my author blog and then also posting on Twitter and Facebook. It was sucking up all of my writing energy and time and I knew it had to stop.
In fact, as soon as I lowered the amount of time I spent on that, my productivity as an author increased and I was ready to publish "A Few Drops of Fantasy" two weeks before I planned, which was why I was able to offer it for pre-order.
Doing research I found that IFTTT has an applet that lets you automatically publish a tweet every day. The same tweet. This was to be one way to keep promoting without taking time away from writing.
I created two applets, one for each of my books. One to publish the tweet in the morning and the other the afternoon.
The applet works at the time of day you tell it and the days of the week you choose - you can choose every day if you wish.
Then it lets you write the tweet that will be recurring and the Image URL it will use. Sounds easy, right?
I confess that at first I thought not to bother my tweeter followers with so many posts about my books, but then I see them doing it, too, and now that I have almost 500 followers I realize that in ten minutes a hundred tweets will go by, which makes it almost impossible for people to see the tweet repeated often unless they don't have a lot of followers.
Just think how often someone who has 10K followers will see the post!
Now, I apologize in advance to my followers who don't have a lot of followers themselves, but book promotion must go on
On November 9th it was announced that Pronoun was going out of business.
My world ended.
I have needed a few weeks to get over the fact that the greatest thing in my life as an independent author was going to go away in a few weeks (I have until January 15th, 2018 to be exact).
Pronoun was literally the best thing ever. There were some things I won't be able to find anywhere else:
1) I could have pre-orders for my Amazon books
2) I could set the price of my Amazon books from $$ to free and free to $$ whenever I wanted
3) I could publish in Google Play
4) I had a wonderful Author Page where all the links to all distributors were listed.
5) Conversion technology was AMAZING and free.
Now, not only will I loose that, but I will also loose the few reviews I had collected in iBooks and Barnes and Noble (both 5 stars, I might add). There's still hope for Amazon reviews, since my ebooks are also connected to the Createspace version of the same title. So I guess the hardcopy will keep the reviews while the ebook changes from one place to the others.
Since the horrible announcement, I have narrowed down my choices to the following 3:
1) Publish using Draft to Digital (D2D)
2) Publish using Publish Drive
3) Publish in each distributor separately
PROS AND CONS
It's a hard choice and as I am trying to make up my mind, I have come up with the following pro's and con's to each of the options above.
1. Draft to Digital (D2D)
- Great Service
- Conversion is free
- Publishes mostly everywhere
- All in one publishing spot
- Doesn't publish in Google Play
- Can't set Amazon price to Free
- No author page
- Publishes everywhere, including Google Play
- All in one publishing spot
- Conversion fee (unless I manage to successfully convert to ePub)
- Can't set Amazon price to Free
- No Author Page
3. Publish on each distributors
- Get all royalties
- Can see all sales directly on each site
- Reviews will never go away
- Can't get into Google Play unless accepted
- No author page
- Every time I make a change I need to do it on all websites
So, there you have it.
Right now, I'm leaning more into D2D with the exception of Google Play, which I have applied for and haven't heard back. Even so, I can still have Google Play exclusively with PublishDrive I guess.
I have also considered D2D except Amazon and do it directly there, although I don't really care much about royalty % and it may be easier to update or whatever I need in D2D. I can't get it Free anyway unless I ask them to compare prices and stuff. I just have one free book! Just let me have that one book, please!
Ok, that's what I have to say.
Note: I found this website extremely helpful in case you want to take a look:
I first published using pronoun as my distributor in July 2017. Since then, I can report that I have been very happy with the results. I think there are many reasons why I am now a Pronoun fan, but today I will write about the reporting, including sales reporting.
When I was with Kindle Direct Publishing, I would get my sales information right away. Unfortunately, they weren't many and since I was not allowed to price my first book free, the rest of the world who has no idea who I am did not take a chance with me... at all.
Now my first book is free. Permanently. Having a "Perma Free" book will hopefully let more people find out that I exist, perhaps draw some readers to write reviews and perhaps some of those reviews will be good.
Since Pronoun helps me publish not only with Amazon, there is a little bit more information on sales with the other ebook distributors. So far, the only one who has not reported anything is Barnes and Noble (and since I have at least 1 review there, I know that some people have downloaded it for the Nook).
Pronoun has a main screen with your book info:
It lists all of the books you currently have published through them. It also gives an estimated number of copies, sales and earnings for each book and the total.
Now, if you click on the "Est. Copies" for a book, it gives you a screen that looks like this:
As you can see, after about two or three weeks of having published the book, I can see sales on ibooks, amazon and google, but not Barnes and Noble (I can't see any for the Kobo, either). At the top it tells you your amazon rank at that moment in time and the rating on amazon (when I took this picture I didn't have reviews on amazon, yet *sniff*).
You can also see the total books sold in each retailer/country as a table.
Apart from that, Pronoun sends you emails letting you know how you're doing.
You get an email when each retailer makes a book you publish available for preorder:
You get an email the first time someone buys/downloads your book:
You get an email with a quick stat page on your Pronoun author page views:
You also get an email with your Kindle Store rankin and suggested categories to increase your rank on amazon:
Did you get a review on amazon? Pronoun will let you know. Unfortunately only from amazon. I have a review on Barnes and Noble and iBooks, but they didn't let me know about those.
Bottomline, I like how they keep you informed with whatever information they can get their hands on. It makes me feel involved (and important). It's more information than I ever had with Kindle Direct Publishing even if it's not real time and some information is missing. Still, it makes me happy. I've read some authors aren't very happy with it, but I am.
Here is one of the definitions of Vortex according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Vortex \ˈvȯr-tə-ˌsēz\: something that resembles a whirlpool
I don't know about you, but in my life, there are a lot of vortexes (yes, this is a word, I checked). A vortex to me is, like the definition above says, a whirlpool that takes your time and flushes it down the drain. There are several things that suck the life out of me (or time) and I am going to talk about mine.
Not everybody's vortexes are the same. You may have some in common with your neighbor and some are only and exclusively your own.
I am going to talk about mine, because I think that one way of getting away from them is to identify them and then you can start swimming as hard as you can to get out of their pull.
First of all, I will say that the point of getting rid of them is to get more time to write (and to do constructive things that get me a job or money in some way for delivering a service or good). But, basically write.
I stopped being part of the work-force in Novermber 2016. No, I am not proud of it, and even when some people may say that that being a full-time mom is a full-time job, I think that there is a lot of range for improvement. Especially when your kids are a certain age. Although, once I got out of the profession that drained me of my time (teaching), I couldn't decide what it was I wanted to do for a living. I couldn't decide what I was good at or how to get good at something to get hired.
Granted, I have some restrictions, the main one to work part time to still take care of my family the way we want (my husband and I) our family to be taken cared of, but I still needed to do something.
There were several things that sprang to mind to improve my professional life:
1. Learn to code (because apparently there's people who still think I have a good brain)
2. Learn something about finance (because I like numbers and patterns and are good at them)
3. Write (because I have written since college, have plenty of stories that need revising and have always wanted to publish them)
And that's basically it. So, I started to learn to code (and still failing at it) and write. Once I finished revising and editing the first book I wanted to publish I came to realization that no one read it. I was an unknown, yada-yada-yada, and I needed to do something about it. Research then showed me that being active in social media could help, so I set up a writing blog and a mom blog with the hopes of getting people to get to know me (I am not only introverted, I have social anxiety). The problem with that was that I began to spend a whole bunch of time writing the blogs that I didn't have time for anything else! It was so time consuming... so, it became a vortex.
VORTEX #1: Blogs!
If that weren't enough, every night and every weekend I was so tired of mommy-ing and blogging that all I wanted to do was either watch TV with my family/husband...
VORTEX #2: TV!
... or playing videogames. Especifically: Zelda - Breath of the Wild. I played so much between March 3rd and May 31st, that by the time I finished the game I had spent 170 hours playing. Do you know how much I could have written/learned to code in that time! It's crazy!
VORTEX #3: Zelda, Breath of the Wild
Then, there's the wonderful Facebook. Don't think I'm hooked to Facebook, but I am more drawn to it with my books starting to see the light of day because, well, first of all I have an author page and that needs to be maintained. Then I have a twitter account, and guess what? That needs to be looked after, too! That said:
VORTEX #4: Facebook and Twitter
Sure, there are other things like I do, but I wouldn't call spending time with my family a vortex. NEVER! Nor would I call reading a vortex, I couldn't! So, there you have it... now you know what drains my time to be a more constructive and creative being.
Do you have any vortexes?
I first heard about this publishing website through a Facebook sponsored post. The post invited authors to publish for free and since I was looking for a platform like Smashwords to republish my first book - which was stuck in Kindle Select - and my upcoming book, I clicked on the advertisement and took a look around.
Back then it was somewhere in May 2017, my first book was trapped until the middle of July and all I could really do was sign up and use the "track my amazon book" feature.
I started receiving emails from pronoun then and to tell the truth, even when I had absolutely no sales, Pronoun always congratulated me on how well I was doing... mmmh.
So, anyway... as I waited for my book to come out of the Kindle Select trap, I started researching the real intentions of Pronoun. As far as I could tell after reading blogs and forums, is that Pronoun (owned by McMillan) is a platform that right now is trying to gather data. My guess, like some others, is that at some point they will start charging for their service, but they aren't doing it yet. Pronoun also had horrible reviews a few years back, but starting in 2016 all I could see were wonderful reviews.
Is it worth it? So far my experience has been amazing. I know they may decide to charge in the future, but I also have a TeachersPayTeachers store and they charge a monthly fee and also a fee/% for every item you sell. It's still worth it. What I think is that, once Pronoun decides to charge, it will be reasonable... or at least I'd like to think so.
Now, the best thing about Pronoun is the interface. It is a pleasure to upload a book:
First of all, it has this amazing overview of all that you have to do when publishing a book. It is divided in "Create Your Book" and "Sell Your Book" and they take you by the hand every step of the way.
As you can glance from the picture above, the blue column is just the name of your book (and if it has a subtitle) and also, is it a part of a series? You also get the chance to add collaborators, if you have them.
The green column walks you through the cover.
If you've been following my blog, you'll know that
a cheap way to get a cover - if you don't have much
of a budget - is to go to Fiverr.
After using Fiverr artists more than once, I now
realize that paying for the photoshop file is useless.
Instead, I pay $5 for the design and $5 for the back
cover. Whenever I go to createspace to build my
paperback, I use my full cover file. Pretty awesome!
Talking about a the print book, there's also a place
to link your createspace book (using the ISBN) to your
digital book. Again, awesome.
But, I'm ahead of myself.
Once you upload your cover on Pronoun, it will show you similar book covers of books that are on our same genre. Cool, right?
On this green column you take care of your cover and
also your ebook file. This is where it gets really amazing...
This is one of my favorite features on Prounoun. It lets you choose between six different layouts for your book. If you go through the formatting instructions you need to follow to upload a file, you don't need a title page or table of contents. Just make your Chapter Names a Header and that's it. Pronoun will take care of the cover and table of contents, copyrights and author's page.
Make sure to see how your file will look with the layout you choose. For example, for my book "The Recruit" I wanted a subtitle for every title and not all of the layouts included that. I had to be careful.
Still, these layouts make your book look more professional.
You then choose your book categories. Pronoun is great with this, too, because they guide you as you are typing what you think your categories should be, they also give you an idea of how popular the category is and a sample of books that fall into that category so you can compare your book to other books out there.
After you're done with that, you get to choose 7 search terms. They also help you with that as you are typing.
Another main feature I like about Pronoun is that it lets you offer your book for free EVERYWHERE, including amazon. In case you are not familiar with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), it is forbidden to set your sell price for free. I now know that the first book in a series should always be free (or it's really recommended), and the only way to make it free on amazon is to have it for free on other retailer websites and then beg amazon to change it's price to free.
With Pronoun, you can do this directly.
They also asign an ISBN to your book (amazon will still assign their ASIN number to your book later). If you have purchased your own ISBN, then you can enter it on this screen.
Here's another cool feature... setting your release date! I don't know about you, but having my book be available for pre-order looks cool. It almost makes me feel like I'm a real author! (and I am, but you know what I mean).
If you upload your book you can choose to release it right away or set a date in the future. If you do that, then your book will appear for pre-order in all of the retailers you are distributing your book.
Finally, after agreeing to their policies, you choose the retailers you want to include in your distribution. Be careful not to duplicate your book. If you'r book is already in any of these websites, you need to unpublish it first. Once it's completely off the listings, you can distribute it via Pronoun. I did that with "The Recruit" and it took a few days for the changes to work.
You can also choose to distribute it through OverDrive and Bibliotheca. I know my brother uses OverDrive a lot and the only drawback is you only get reported the number of copies they buy from you. You never see how many people actually download your book.
Right after you click on the "Publish" button, you'll get an email from pronoun listing when they predict each retailer will have your book available and once they do, you will receive an email each time it is available anywhere:
Overdrive and Bibliotheca take a loooong time to be ready.
So, what do you think of Pronoun? Ready to give it a chance?
Once I have more information on how sales are displayed and how my books are doing, I will follow up in a post later in the year.
Good luck! You're all awesome!
As I am writing this, I have just announced the release of my new book "A Few Drops of Fantasy". I made a Facebook post on my author page and then shared my own post on my personal timeline. Several of my sweet friends commented on how wonderful it was that I was publishing my books. Most of the people I know have known I write for the longest time and they always ask when I will publish my books. What they don't know is how hard it is to get published. Finding a publisher is so difficult that I decided to self-publish. It is not something that it's unheard of, many people publish ebooks now a days because it's easier and free, but without the support of a big publishing house it's very hard for your book to get the marketing it deserves. Marketing it yourself could be expensive, so right now, I am focusing on digital media to make my name known as an author and get my books read.
So, wonderful friends, you must be wondering, what you can do to help an independent author (indie author) with her books? Please understand, writing is my passion, and I will keep writing and publishing even if nobody reads my books. I'm not in it for the money, but with a little help from you, more readers may be aware that I exist and that can't be a bad thing. It's just a little click on your part, but it helps bunches! Besides, how many authors do you know? Can't be many... so I ask, will you please help me out?
1. Leave a review. Where? Anywhere! You can leave it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, Nook, Goodreads... the list goes on an on. Reviews do many things: they make my book move up on listed books when readers search, they let other people know there are other people out there who have read the book, so it's more likely they will take a chance with the book, write a review and they let me, believe it or not, advertise for free on certain websites that only let you in if you already have a few reviews. If you are reading this and would like to read the book and leave a review, but can't spare 99 cents to buy the book, let me know and I will email you a link to my book free if you will leave a review. Your review is gold to me, remember that. The first book in my North American Vampire Secret Agency series is PERMA FREE now (that means it's free permanently). If you would like to help by leaving a review, you can visit my Pronoun author page with links to my books and all the places they are available. Look here.
2. Share and Like my posts on Facebook and Twitter. Believe it or not, sharing is caring. I know I don't have a lot of digital history. I am an introverted, anxious and socially inept person (it happens), but since I started publishing my books I've been doing a great effort to create a digital presence as an author. And when I say effort, I mean it. It's been hard, but I'm out there! I research a lot on how to get my books to be known - because mostly what I want is for people to read and enjoy them - and what works is to create a network to have people share your joy. You, as my personal friend on Facebook or Twitter, help by liking a post I share. You can help even more by sharing the post, especially when I am trying to get people to click on a picture that will take them to my book. Maybe you don't care for my genre, but I'm sure some of your contacts will. We are all different and you never know who is going to be interested in a series about vampires who are secret agents who fight werewolves. Right? Please remember that sharing is caring.
Here's my Author's Facebook Page and my Twitter Page.
3. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and/or Amazon. This is probably the hardest thing to ask. Nobody wants to be getting posts or tweets they don't care about. But, if you follow me, every time I update either of these websites, I get views and if you view it or like it or share it, it helps me. Remember that the point is for people we don't know to realize there is a book out there they may like but are missing because they don't know about it. Someone out there will care enough to click and at least take a look. That's more than I could hope for. One of those looks could turn into a download and one of those downloads may turn into a review! See? Not all is lost. Think about it, you may be a part of something wonderful!
If you would like to follow me in any of these places, you can find links below:
I want to thank everybody who took the time to read my ramble and for considering any help you can give me. Thank you, everybody! Now, to keep writing! Take care!
I have owned claudiasilva.net for over ten years now. Since this is my second webpage, I have never decided what I want to do with it. A few months ago I updated it to become a portal to my three online presences: author, artist, teacher.
Now that I am planning on releasing three more books by the end of 2018, I think I am ready to transform claudiasilva.net into my author page. My job in the next few months will be to study other author's pages and decided what mine will look like. As the N.A.V.S.A. universe grows in the eyes of the readers, there needs to be a place where my books have a home.
Right now, my attention is in finishing the last few steps needed to publish "A Few Drops of Fantasy" by August 1st, but I will find time between that date and the release of the sequel to "The Recruit", titled "Werewolf Phenomenon".
Excited times ahead! Wish me success!
As you know, I have been working hard to get my second book "A Few Drops of Fantasy" out by August 1st. In addition, I am trying to keep up with my author blog and mommy blog (found here). After the release date of "A Few Drops of Fantasy" I will be working to revise and edit Part 2 of the first volume of N.A.V.S.A., the sequel to "The Recruit", followed by the first part of volume 2, the Michael Henson Saga, "My Transformation".
I have found that keeping up with my real life responsibilities, keeping up with my two blogs and also trying to launch my career as an indie author is too much. This is why I have decided to update this blog only once a month, every 15th day.
Thank you for your understanding as I work to bring my life's work out to the world.