Saturday, October 18, 2014

This, that, and the other

Where to begin? I have so many things on my mind this week that I can't share them all in one post. I'll leave at least one of them for next weekend but don't worry; you'll still have plenty of nuggets to choose from here.

First up, I'm about to publish another story - in an anthology called Secret Lives that will debut on or around Halloween. The cover at left isn't quite the final version. For one thing, there are now seven authors involved instead of six; and for another, the cover artist (and story contributor) Jacqueline Sweet might decide to tweak the image some more.

My own contribution will be a vastly improved version of one of my oldest EMCSA tales, "Someday My Prince Will Come." I've retitled it "Knights in White Bondage," and I promise you'll find it at least twice as hot and three times as kinky as it used to be. I've learned a lot in the years since I wrote the first version. As for the other writers, I'm not sure what they have in store, but our theme is supernatural secrets; and among our number are the aforementioned Jacqueline Sweet, who writes for the EMCSA; Devon March, who collaborated with Jacqueline Sweet on a not-quite-but-nearly-MC story I loved called Fifty Shades of Gay Tentacles; and at least one woman who specializes in vampire erotica. I'll tell you more when I know more.

Now on to some e-publishing notes. First, I'd welcome some feedback on an idea I'm considering. I think I'm going to take my existing stories off Smashwords and offer them exclusively through Kindle Unlimited. The only time I get sales from Smashwords anymore is when I announce a new story here on my blog and offer 25% off coupons, and I can still give you those. What I'm thinking is that in the future, I'll publish new stories on both Smashwords and Amazon for one week, offering the Smashwords coupon as usual. But after that first week, I'll remove the story from Smashwords and sell it only through Kindle Unlimited. Does anyone have strong feelings about that? If so, sound off below. Remember that I've set up my comment section so that you can speak in total anonymity, and I don't delete anything except spam and troll posts.

Lastly (for now, anyway - remember that I have lots of other things on my mind), may I ask an easy favor? An Amazon commenter dropped a negative review on What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything? because she didn't realize she was getting into an EMC story and got squicked out. Now, I'm not angry with her, and I'm not blaming her; I can understand why she didn't know what she was getting into. Amazon's new, stricter rules meant I had to word my synopsis very carefully to keep away from the ban hammer. But I'd appreciate it if some genuine EMC fans would balance out the negative review with some positive ones. I don't want anyone to be rude to the other reviewer; I'd just like some EMC fans to tell potential readers what they enjoyed about the book (As someone named Kevin has already done - thanks, Kevin! ;-) )


K said...

The heck did they not know what was in it? There would have been a total of 1 review if they didn't get their copy before the 28th its not too hard to read that one review. Just baffling.

K said...

On a different note, why kindle unlimited? I guess I can understand pulling from smashswords if you aren't getting any further sales from it. The thing is from what I can tell on Kindle Unlimited your books would be free, and while that might up the reader count I don't see you making more sales that way. Also Kindle Unlimited is a subscription based system, so you might actually get fewer sales if that had to be factored in.

Personally I prefer the idea of keeping it on Smashswords,partially because I'm not sure how the book being pulled from there would effect my library there, as unless I'm missing something there isn't a downside to having them on Smashswords as well is there?

thrall said...

Really, don't be too hard on her. Not everybody reads reviews, or reads them carefully. ;-)

Anyway, I should have explained why Kindle Unlimited. I've found out that books in that program aren't *really* free; they just seem that way to subscribers. But if a subscriber reads 10% of a book in the program, the author gets paid. So it actually brings in more money rather than less - and probably more sales, too, since people who can check out the book ahead of time are more likely to buy. Not too many people are content with "library" books when they can own their own copies. There's pride in ownership.

As for your Smashwords library, I really don't think my pulling my books from there would affect it. You've bought them, so they're yours. They're on your device (or they should be). Smashwords can't take them back. Also, I won't be deleting them from the site, just unpublishing them, which makes them invisible to future buyers. I really don't think that will affect you.

Anonymous said...

Smashwords has the advantage of providing multiple formats, thought.
Is there a downside to having them there too?
On a completely unrelated note - why is the ice skating story disappeared from your sidebar? Is it not around anymore?

thrall said...

Yes, it's true Smashwords offers multiple formats. But (And this is a legitimate question, not an argument) are those formats really necessary? I mean, no matter what sort of e-reader you use, you can get a free Kindle app for it. I assume almost everyone does that because some popular books are only available on Amazon.

The downside to having my books on Smashwords is that I can't take advantage of the sales boost I'd get from Kindle Unlimited. And since I'm hardly making a penny from Smashwords anymore (except with coupons), it's actually dragging me down.

The ice skating story (Couples Skate) is still available on both Smashwords and Kindle. I just took the link out of my sidebar because I have too many books out now to put them all in the sidebar, and Couples Skate is my weakest seller. If you'd like to buy it, just follow the Amazon or Smashwords link at the top of my blog. I'd love to see it get more sales. I really do like that story.

Pokershaman said...

It seems really unwise to me to put all your eggs in Amazon's basket. You have to deal with them because they are such a big fraction of the e-book market. But if you rely on them exclusively, they will fuck you over. It's at the core of their business model.

In your place I would continue with Smashwords. Personally, I would rather you did, because as a customer I'd much rather deal with Smashwords than with Amazon.

thrall said...

I really don't trust Amazon, and all the EMC writers are having trouble getting their stuff through the censors now. And I've been part of the Kindle/Smashwords eggs/basket discussion on the e-publishing child board of the MC Forum. I didn't make this decision lightly. But the thing is, if I relied solely on Smashwords, I might sell three e-books a month. And Kindle Unlimited is, at least for the moment, the golden goose. I have to to stick with that goose for as long as it gives me those eggs...and be prepared for the day when it gives me shit instead. Yes, I know that's likely to happen. But *then* I'll turn back to Smashwords - and anything else the e-publishing board members find that's worth our time. They're hunting. We're all concerned.

In the meantime, don't forget that I'll be debuting each new e-book (with the exception of the anthology) on Smashwords, so you can still get it there. Just keep an eye on my blog so that you know when I'm getting ready to publish something. I generally talk about it off and on for several weeks ahead of time.

K said...

Well if you think it'll help, you seem to have made up your mind to give it a shot already at least. So you know good luck hope it pays off for you.

Leigh Malheur said...

Hi thrall,

Do you know if your books are available on Kindle Unlimited UK as well? I know that due to rights issues, the US and UK versions have different catalogues. I am not from the UK, but my partner is, and I had been hoping to recommend a couple of your e-published stories to her. I would hate for her to go through the trouble of signing up for Kindle Unlimited just to read your stuff, only to find out it's not available.

Other than that, I guess I am okay with the move. It seems like Unlimited is getting better every month, with a larger catalogue, more display options etc. I'm still put off by the steep subscription price, but most likely I will sign up temporarily, read your stories, and then see if the interface is okay/works with my disabilities, and if there's enough content to keep me on. The 30-day free trial is pretty helpful, there.


thrall said...

That's an interesting question. I *think* the answer must be yes, because I've had What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything on KU almost from the start, and I've gotten sales from the UK. But I guess for you to be sure, you'd have to look for my catalog on I've put the whole thing on KU, so if all goes well you'll see ten stories.

Thanks for recommending me to your partner. :-) I hope the interface really will work okay for you. I imagine there are lots of ways to adjust it, but since I don't have a subscription myself, I can't be sure.

Anyway, the important thing to remember is that you don't *have* to have a KU subscription to get books listed on KU. You can buy them just as you normally would. And I'll continue to offer mine on Smashwords for one week with a 25%-off coupon. So you'll have at least a couple of different ways to get them.

Good luck!