Quote of the Day

more Quotes

Saturday, December 31, 2011

For Me, It Is Indie All the Way - P.S.

One thing I was surprised to hear about was the shelf life for paperback books.  One month.  Or less.  Hardly time to gather a readership for a new name on a book cover.  I don't begin to understand this aspect of traditional publishing.  From what I gather, the books are "remaindered"--their covers torn off and returned to the publisher.  What a waste!

Just another great side effect of going Indie.  Those e-books have an infinite shelf life.  What I upload this month, should be generating more sales as all twelve months of 2012 tick off the calendar.

I do have plans to publish paperback versions of my e-books down the road.  At this point, CreateSpace within Amazon would be the first place I'll investigate.  When I'm more actively pursuing that avenue, I'll have more to share.

Plus audio books.  I definitely am interested in that medium as I particularly like them while I'm spring cleaning.  Since I'm totally in author-plus-freelancer mode again these last couple months (and beyond), I'm not in my car or that would be a great use of driving time as well.  Still, this is on my horizon for later.

For me, there is no downside to Indie as I love all the myriad creativity involved.  I'm 100% Indie.  But you can be 50% Indie if you want, too.

Isn't it great?  We have options.  There is freedom in having choices.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For Me, It Is Indie All the Way

Looking into the new year just around the corner, we authors have more choices now than even a decade ago.  Ten years earlier, "self-published" equated to "vanity press," was much maligned and still involved a physical book, with the author fronting the costs.

Today we have Indie publishing.  I so love the new term and all its advantages, plus it involves very little seed money from the author, we can upload e-books in hours and see online in a day.  Indie-published.  That is the route for me.

Yet, if you deem traditional publishing to be your path, I will support your decision.  I still won't follow in your footsteps, but I believe we should do what best fits us, as individuals.  And let others do the same.

So while I cheer on my CPs who want to find an agent who finds an editor who offers that publishing contract, I will continue to e-publish my books.

I don't believe traditional publishing is on the way out--they are just revamping.  Still, I get more perks when I do-it-myself, so Indie is where I'm staying.  And since I do not foresee traditional publishing ever entailing the benefits I already enjoy while Indie-publishing, there is no chance of me crossing over to traditional publishing.  My choice.  My opinion.  If it changes, I'll let you know.  But don't wait by the phone--ha!

I maintain total control over my cover.

I maintain total control over my title.

I maintain total control over my name, or whether I should use a pen name.

I maintain total control over my production schedule, as I am a rather prolific author (even with day jobs as needed to pay my bills).  No matter how many publishing houses were to produce my books, it would still take a year or so before seeing it in print as per established procedures.

I retain more of the profits, being thirty-five percent on up to seventy percent.  From what I've read online, an author going the traditional route nets about eight-to-fifteen percent of total sales.  Because they are paying a percentage to their agent and to the publishing house, forever.  That the advances are less and now paid out in installments.  That the royalties are held up against expected returns.  That the royalties are paid bi-annually.

Whereas I pay a one-time flat fee to any freelancer I may hire to do cover art or other services as needed--not a continuing percentage of sales.

Whereas I get monthly royalties paid to me.

Yes, it is a lot of work.  I do the Final Edits.  I do the copy edit.  I create the cover, or hire someone more talented to do it.  If I'm doing my own cover, I scan in my artwork, alter it with Gimp 2.  It takes hours.  I upload my clean manuscript, then spend more hours tweaking the preview so it ends up just right.  I write my own synopsis.  I decide on my title.  I also chose to use my name for both the nonfiction I write as well as my romance novels.  Should I determine to go into another genre, I will give some thought to using a pen name.

I take care of my own bookkeeping, copyright applications, publishing needs like software, hardware, business cards.  I am truly a one-woman shop.  And I love it.

If you are more of the delegating type, you too can still Indie publish, just with more helpers along the way.

Or you may want to wash your hands of the whole glorious and wonderful mess and go the traditional route.

It is totally up to you.

But for me, it is Indie all the way.

Who Would You Be If You Could Choose?

You can.  You can choose to be you.  The best, the fullest, the "uniquely qualified to be you" version of YOU.

I ran across a quote today by someone I had yet to hear of, Nido Qubein, a motivational speaker.  Here it is:  "What if you could be anything, or anybody, you chose to be?  Think about it.  What would you choose to be?"

To me, the answer lies in my first paragraph.  But let's address the other part of the quote that asked if you could be anybody, who would you choose?  I'd never want to be anybody else.  It's just too scary what might be in their closet, you know?  Their life may look all rosy and perfect and Norman Rockwellian, but what if there is some deep dark family secret they are harboring?  What if there's a stalker in their past, or some addiction in their present?

What about Jackie O?  The glamorous clothes, being First Lady, having a philandering husband who was assassinated before her very eyes.  Or Marilyn Monroe.  Beautiful, beloved, yet never realizing it and cutting her life so very short.  Even Mother Theresa.  Look at all the great work she accomplished.  But I'm not cut out to live in that extreme state of lacking.  To see all that raw need.  I'd be crying all the time and unable to do any good for anybody, me included.

Plus what if you chose someone, say Christopher Reeve, before that eventful day of the horse ride?

Nope.  No way would I change places in toto with anybody on the planet.  Not even Nora Roberts, whose life mirrors a lot of what I want in my own.

No, I would keep my "ordinary" life over anybody else's "extraordinary" life.

Now, maybe, just maybe, I would take one thing here and one thing there and ADD them to my life.  Even so, if I were required to EXCHANGE their one thing for one out of my life, the answer is still NO.

My life isn't "there" yet, not where I have set my sights.  But still, all in all, my life is pretty perfect as is.

And if you gauged your life--the whole of it--against another's, you may see the greatness you already have.

Never overlook your own greatness, or the potential for it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To Ron and Lois

Due to a bout of bronchitis that began at 2:15 a.m. on Christmas Day no less, I missed a meeting the Monday thereafter with my local writers' group.  But I missed more than that.  I missed seeing the organizers for one last time.

Ron and Lois started this group, local to me, several towns away to them, at least five years ago.  We are blessed to be able to meet at our nearby Barnes & Noble in the mall.  I was trying to remember when I first started going to the group and think it was February 2007.  I was still working for attorneys and yearning to be a full-time author.  Other than my sporadic writing over the decades, going to Ron's group was the first step that veered me onto my current path.


Think if I hadn't taken that step.  Oh, my.  That would have been more than unfortunate.  And yet I was actively talking myself out of going as I was questioning whether I was a "real" author, plus the ad in the Barnes & Noble newsletter touting the writing group stated the leaders were "experts."

Let me tell you:  Authors are the most generous bunch of people you can meet.  Sure, there are some lemons, but they are few in number and just disassociate yourselves from them.  So I gained confidence--in myself as an author, for one thing.  I gained confidence in my writing, as I read to the group and they offered their critiques, round-robin style.  It was a growing experience.

Of course, I changed careers--taking my attention to details and my grasp of the English language over into a more creative realm, where I am so much happier and free from restrictive formulaic corporate rules.

I'm an author, and loving it.  Setting my own work schedule--which is eighty-hours-a-week, or more if you add in the research I do every time I find some topic that interests me (which is pretty much always), plus the online writing seminars I enroll in and just reading about my craft--whether an internet article/newsletter or a hardcopy book.

This is what I was meant to do.  I am in my element.  I am so fortunate to be able to spend these hours and more on my new career.  It is fun, exciting, constantly driving me onward, upward.

Who would have thought one physical step toward meeting a bunch of strangers monthly would so impact my life?  Who would have thought facing the demons in my head telling me that I don't belong there would entail a spiritual leap which enhanced my self-confidence?

Let me share those limiting thoughts with you, so you'll maybe see them in your life for what they are.  I thought since I was not "published" then I was not an author.  WRONG.  Just because others that make up the "published" set--including agents, editors, publishing houses, even readers--did not yet know about me, DID NOT MAKE ME LESS OF AN AUTHOR.

My definition of an author is this:  you completed a polished version of your story, whether short, FF, novella, novel or tome. Just one, ready to go to press, via the traditional route or the Indie-published one.

Even if you say you could write a book, or may have started one, it is completing the process that sets you apart from the wannabes.  Action.  Isn't that true in any other endeavor?  For authors, that means to "The End" and through the clean-up process of editing.

Being an "author" has nothing to do with revenue.  Now, having said that, I can say being a "successful full-time author" would entail earning enough so that you don't need a day job.  Like actors.  If they get signed on for a big-budget movie, they no longer need to bus tables.  In fact, they are still actors even while working in a restaurant, as they wait to be recognized and paid for who they truly are--actors.

Think of any famous author you like to read.  My all-time favorite is Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb.  You cannot read a book that has not been written yet.  Had Nora not sat down during those snow days and wrote, we would not be discussing her now.  It was a year or two later before her first book sold, if my memory serves me here, and probably a few years thereafter before she was making a comfortable living, not involving a day job.

So we need the confidence to write that first book without an agent, an editor, a publishing house, much less readers.  We need internal self-assurance that if we enjoy this, if we are gifted for this, we should plow ahead.  It is really no different than working a 9-to-5 job.  You show up.  You work for two weeks, without pay.  After two weeks, you get paid for WORK ALREADY DONE.

It is the same with writing.  Except for the two-weeks-later-you-get-paid thing.  In writing, it's a lot longer than that.  But your innate drive should be enough to sustain the wait, however long.  That, plus a McJob as needed.

Another thought I had was that they are "experts" and I am not.  Everybody starts out in learning mode.  Then they get better.  No different for authors.  The more I wrote, the more I gained the confidence in my writing.  The more I wrote, the more my fellow authors gave me feedback and I improved on my writing.  Somewhere, someone said you need one million words under your belt to really make your words sing.

True, practice makes perfect.  That works for artists--pianists, guitarists, etc.--and for fingerprint examiners.  So just being a "newbie" should never stop us.

The third thought I was having back then, any one of which could have stopped this forward momentum, had to do with my current routine, and what I was contemplating was brand new, something different, altering my staid daily happenings.  I think people as a general rule resist the new, the different, anything involving change.  Yet, isn't one of the six basic human needs just that--variety?  FYI, the six needs are (1) certainty/comfort, (2) variety, (3) significance (meaning to our life, a grand purpose), (4) connection/love (a place where we belong, are accepted), (5) self-growth/improvement and (6) contribution (to the world, to others).

Did you notice the yin and yang to the list of six?  Certainty vs. variety.  Or the butterfly effect of internal confidence (as small as a decision) influencing outer circumstances?  Love/acceptance (assuring our inner self of our worth) vs. Significance (having the confidence to step out of our element and help the world on some level).  Plus the Self-growth (again, inner work) vs. Contribution (outward evidence).

That subject could be its own blog(s), but the quick review above will suffice for now.

Anyway, thank God, I took that new road offered to me.  [Actually I saw a sign in B&N's window about the writers' group meetings to be held there, on my way to see my weekly movie in the mall.  Talk about serendipity!]  And here, almost five years later, I have four e-books offered on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with my fifth, my debut e-novel, exclusive to Amazon.  I have two more e-books in the works and slated for uploads while it is still December (hopefully).  All accomplished in 2011.  Beginning in March of this year.

What can I say?  Thank you, Ron and Lois, for being the impetus, the stepping stone that led me here in my life.  There have been other mentors along the way thereafter as I traversed this new career called "author."  And my son was always in my corner, believed in me long before I took a tentative step, away from what I knew, toward where I needed to be.

All from one writers' group, meeting monthly, attendees varying, moderated by two loving souls who so enjoyed writing that they freely gave of their time to travel an hour away to another town to instill confidence in budding authors.

Ron and Lois, you will be missed here in my neck of the woods, but you will be a blessing to the new folks you will be mentoring.  Thanks for being there for me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bestseller Lists Can Be Skewed--Plus Definitions for "Fiction" and "Nonfiction"

We have probably all heard the rumors about publishers buying spots on a bestseller list for their particular author, promotion-style.  I have no idea if that is true.  But being an imaginative author, I could use that in a future book.

Within Amazon, I have seen novels categorized as nonfiction, earning a bestseller ranking.  That is easily discerned by a simple survey, comparing the offering described to the bestseller category.  In my mind, fiction should be categorized under fiction.  Nonfiction under nonfiction.

Sorry, as an author, I'd rather have a pure and true ranking, even if I fail to reach bestseller status.  Yes, to be ranked that high would be a wonderful tally of votes from my readers and I look forward to that.  But I'm not ready to lie to get there faster.

Another one of my idiosyncrasies.

Maybe the problem is not overtly choosing to take a shortcut as it is simply akin to the lack of basic grammar knowledge, which I have addressed in multiple earlier postings.  But I hold authors to a higher standard when it comes to that and spelling and simple definitions.  So I cannot fathom that an author does not know the difference between "fiction" and "nonfiction."  Still, for the record, I will define them here.

"Fiction" means made-up within the confines of our imagination, a fictitious account, a novel, a story someone creates.  Examples:  includes genres of romance, sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, mysteries, satire, comedy, tragedy, plus young adult, children's, etc.

And "nonfiction" means a conglomeration of facts--like for a textbook, a cookbook, a How-To guide, etc.  Nonfiction is not created, it is recorded.  Nonfiction is not imagined.  Examples:  demographic compilations, the census findings, encyclopedias, how-to manuals, biographies, etc.

The majority of you known and unknown readers of my blog can ignore this posting.  I'm preaching to the choir.  For the others, I obviously cannot change them.  They must change themselves.

The Amazon Lending Library, One Author's Perspective

I uploaded my debut e-novel, Good Ole Boys, to Amazon, exclusively to the Lending Library for three months.  Although I have four other e-books live on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, this is my first fiction work I have released.  While my Amazon sales exceed my B&N sales, maybe it would have been more evenly matched had I offered only e-novels.

But with the knowledge at hand, I opted to enroll this first e-novel of mine in the Lending Library.  Obviously that precludes any strictly Nook readers for a season--although they could download a copy to their computer via the Kindle for PC buying option.  Still, at the end of the ninety-days of exclusivity, Good Ole Boys will also be offered at B&N.

Plus I plan to put up (soon) my next e-book, "Good Ole Boys:  The Prequel," at both online stores.

Granted my initial Amazon enrollment was done midmonth, so I missed an opportunity to be the single free read chosen for December by many Amazon Prime Members just by the later timing of my upload.  Still, my baby was not ready until the seventeenth.  I'm happy with what went up on that date.  Anything before that would not have been "right" enough.

However, there are two things working for me.  One, some people are getting their first Kindle under the Christmas tree this year, so I'm expecting further activity December 25 on.  Two, as another new name among the throng of beginning and established authors, this is a marketing tool.

Being free to the reader, it remains a cash cow for me.  Granted a fluctuating cash flow, much like the stock market, being diluted as more authors opt-in, but alternatively being increased as more of an author's books are borrowed.  Gives new meaning to the word "free" from an author's perspective.

Remember, too, that enrollment in Amazon's Lending Library does not  preclude a normal sale.  It just gives our readers a choice.  Those in the Amazon Prime program have a subset of all the book offerings online that are offered to them for free, while they can buy those they wish from the bigger pool of authors.

So, as my experiment continues, I'll report back with any other revelations I garner.

Please keep in mind, this is new to us all--Amazon, the authors, the readers.  So if I've misinterpreted anything herein, forgive me.  I'll correct any such errors in later posts as my data indicates.

Also note that your e-book, once enrolled, is set to be automatically enrolled for the next ninety-day period unless you uncheck the box.  I believe I found that in my Bookshelf, clicking on the Enrollment data/info area and then snooping around there.  Just FYI.

In the meantime, keep reading and writing.  A well-written entertaining book is a treasure forever.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Amazing, Creative, Wonderful, Unknowable Mind

Having just "finished" (are they ever, really?) my debut novel, and feeling confident enough to upload it, added to writing the first draft of the prequel to my debut novel a mere twenty days ago during NaNo, it strikes me as miraculous how our minds work.  One inconsequential decision in one book, led to something I used in the second.  Never knowing how the first connected to the second.

I'm a pantster.  Meaning I go with my gut.  Never plot.  Except for in my head.  Letting things stew, mull, ferment.  Then with a sufficient nudge, I begin capturing my idea more permanently.  If my subconscious sends me a signal to put in, say, a moose, I do it.  Without questioning.  Then forget it.  And wouldn't you know?  Later I grab this brilliant idea passing through my brain cells on this perfect use for that moose, complete with an underlying meaning as well.

How cool is that?

Writing is about discovery.  It entails maybe ten percent participation by the author--sitting down, typing something, anything, to warm up the muse, signaling the conscious and the unconscious minds to start gathering things.  Then while you do what you can with no plan, no safety net, no map, you receive these wonderful nuggets, bread crumbs leading you to The End.

The sheer mystical magical mystery of it all places me firmly in the state of awe and wonder.

I am so blessed to be an author.

Courtesy of A Word A Day, this was too timely not to share: 
My stories run up and bite me in the leg -- I respond by writing them down -- everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off. -Ray Bradbury, science-fiction writer (b. 1920)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good Ole Boys, a novel

Ta-da!  My debut novel has just now been uploaded to Amazon, soon to be part of its new lending library, so exclusively there for at least ninety days.  It is entitled Good Ole Boys and should show up live tomorrow.

As my earlier posts state, I wrote its prequel during NaNo 2011.  Which was kissed with good luck in its first draft and, after its upcoming Final Edit, will hopefully be uploaded soon, by Christmas even.  So look also for Good Ole Boys:  The Prequel to hit Amazon's Lending Library as well.

Phew!  Glad that is over with.  And yet so excited!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final Edit Update and My Particular Process

I am seeing the light of day as far as the Final Edit of my e-book, "Good Ole Boys."  BTW:  A novel, before publication, before release, shows up in quotes as I have done in the previous sentence.  After being published, it is shown in italics, like so:  Good Ole Boys (CMS 17.213).  I should have my debut novel uploaded tomorrow, if things go as planned. 

But life tends to throw us curve balls as most of us can attest.  I had a day job until the end of October, so as expected, that second workplace ate up hours and left little of them for my own writing, after I spent the requisite hours on my freelance projects.  Having shucked that day-job obstacle, I willingly took on NaNoWriMo--what a thrilling ride!  During NaNo, I finished my prequel to my debut novel coming out tomorrow.  So the prequel will be my next book to go through a Final Edit.

As for the Final Edit process, you can drive yourself nuts with it.  I had to let go of my serious nature a little and just relax.  My particular version of a Final Edit consists of three parts:  part Margie Lawson's trademarked Deep EDITS system (dealing more with the language, the art, of storytelling), part Carol Hughes's DEEP Story construct (dealing more with the plot and the structure) and then part general overview of DOs and DON'Ts.  Making sure your characters are 3-D and come alive in print.  Also, watching for red flags, putting out fires, like scenes that don't work or feel too contrived, anything (actions, words) that depart from the theme of your book. 

It's a big undertaking. 

But, hey, once we do that, we can truly be proud of ourselves.  Plus, surely it gets somewhat easier each time, right?

Have a good week, y'all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Repeat This Out Loud: "I Am in Charge"

It is both fearful and amazing when we realize this.  Our lives are shaped by our actions.  What we did yesterday or yesteryear is now embodied in our present.  Look around the room you are in.  If you didn't dust over the last week or month, it shows, doesn't it?  If you didn't produce daily or weekly at the office, then your in-box is probably overflowing, right?  Well, that applies to our thoughts as well.

So if you thought, I don't have time to exercise today, and repeated that thought and inaction over the last year, what are your results?  A weight gain?  Failing health?  There is a cause-and-effect law at work here.  We best honor it and take note.

For the most part, we need to see that causal link ourselves.  Why is it some people see us better than we do?  Shouldn't we ultimately know our own selves better?  You would think.  Now, on the reverse side, there are people who see us as worse than we really are.  Just be able to see the difference.  Respect the former, disregard the latter.  But to acknowledge a flaw within ourselves is the first step to changing it.  We all need such a spiritual awakening.  I would prefer that internal insight over an external intervention--ha!

There is a freeing feeling to being in charge.  I know that I much prefer working for myself than to be in the corporate environment.  I am the boss.  I am in charge.  It is that satiating, driving emotion that lends itself to much efficient production in my career.  We can also funnel it into our daily chores, our self-improvement program, our relationships.  Once we see we are indeed in charge, we escape the victim mentality.  I've always been preset to the survivor mentality so I escape the alternate mind-set.

Although we can definitely lapse into thinking that the government is in charge, that our bosses are in charge, that our spouses are in charge.  To the first, I remind myself that "we the people" are in charge and we give voice to that with our votes and letters to Congress.  For the second, if you are truly in a job that is worthy of you, I would think your opinion would be given great weight and full consideration by whoever is deemed in charge.  If not, move on, taking your many talents with you.

As for the third, any relationship should be a mutual one, albeit friends or spouses.  There should be give and take, should be an exchange of ideas and communication, should be an openness to new ideas and thoughts, as long as the foundational morals are not violated.  I don't so much think of marriage as a 50-50 proposition, but more like a 110-110 partnership spending that nets a 150-150 partnership reward.

In other words, I try to be my best for the people I live with.  I don't treat strangers better than the individuals I share every day with.  I am also free to be fully myself.  To give 110% to a marriage that would ultimately, through synergy, net me 150%.  That is my theory.  That is my opinion.  That is my outlook.  That is my goal.

Wishing you the best of careers and relationships as we come to the end of 2011 and embark on 2012.

KDP's New Lending Library

In an earlier blog, I mentioned checking into Smashwords to access other markets, especially the iPhone and iPad markets.  However, Kindle has free reading apps for those as well as downloads to your PC or Mac and your BlackBerry and Android phones.  See www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/kcpSo I’ve decided to shelve the Smashwords uploads for now.  Probably forever.

Plus, in the latest Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Newsletter (see http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch?.gx=1&.rand=28jpjvdtdta07), the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has been born.  If you, as an author/publisher, decide to enroll, you could share in the possible earnings based on the number of downloads of your e-books, but definitely in the free publicity and promo.  The following is my understanding of the new Kindle offering but please check out the links herein to consult with the source--Kindle and Amazon.

With that caveat, I understand this lending library is an option available only to the U.S. Amazon Prime member (for about $79/year as of this writing) who can borrow a book free once a month with no due dates.

As the author/publisher, your works have to be exclusive to Kindle for at least ninety days.  So if you the author/publisher have a new upload, just don’t upload anywhere else.  If you as the author/publisher have an existing e-book for sale, take it down from Barnes & Noble and elsewhere.  Once enrolled, you can opt to offer your titles for free for up to five days from every exclusive ninety-day period.

You earn royalties based on how many books are offered within the Kindle Lending Library that month and how much monies Amazon has set aside for that month.  For December 2011, there is $500,000 available.  If only 100,000 e-books are participating for those December 2011 dollars, then there is a $5 royalty per each lend.  However, if 500,000 e-books are enrolled, the royalty drops to $1 per lend.  These are my guesstimates here, folks.

Amazon states it has $6 million set aside for 2012.  Divide that figure by twelve months and it averages $500,000 per month.  HOWEVER, if more monies are set aside for the expected December 2012 Christmas shopping madness, then there would have to be less monies allotted among the remaining 2012 months.  Just be aware of this as the newsletter did not spell out what monies are available for what month, just a yearly sum available for whatever distribution among the twelve months.

But with an estimated $500,000 set aside to cover each month and the expanding knowledge re this program, the enrollment factor will have to increase, thus reducing the royalty rate per lend.  Still, at $5/lend (with $500,000 available and only 100,000 e-books enrolled), that is more than I make with my current royalties (a mix of 35% and 70%) on my $0.99 e-books and my one e-book at $2.99.

So from my perspective, this program is royalty-generating as well as another stream for promotion and publicity--getting your e-book before the select group of Amazon Prime members, who may ostensibly buy more books a year than those nonmembers.  Just my opinion.

If your e-books are more expensive, selling at $7 or above, then yes, you are looking at reduced royalties from your standard offering.  Still do not negate the free promotional factor involved in this latest Amazon perk.

Therefore, based on my interpretation, depending on your price setting, you could net increased revenues as well as broadening your reader numbers.  Regardless, you gotta start somewhere, right?  And Amazon is definitely covering the bases—free, royalty-generating, enhanced by lending—and with the differing levels of promo, this one site could be the end-all medium for advertising your work.  And the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) would remain . . . well, social.

As an aside, just from my limited reading, there may be more interest in YouTube videos, so keep that in mind as you develop your enhanced e-books.  A book trailer seems to be well received.  Again, this is just one woman’s musings.  Take what makes sense to you and run with it.  Discard the rest.

Consider me a clearinghouse of a jumble of info, distilling it down for me and then sharing it with you.  I am not an expert.  I am a layperson going the Indie-pubbed route and letting you see the workings of my mind for my career in my way.  Best wishes to all!

To learn more about KDP Select, visit: http://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect.

To learn more about the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, visit:  http://www.amazon.com/kindleownerslendinglibrary

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 NaNoWriMo Stats

These are courtesy of the NaNo blog at http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/13851021182, but partially recited here because I had mentioned wanting these numbers in an earlier posting of my own.  Here's the pertinent scoop: 

General Stats Round Up!

For NaNoWriMo main [does not include Young Writers Program]:
  • 256,618 participants, up roughly 28% from 2010’s total of 200,530 writers.
  • We wrote a total of  3,074,068,446 words, up 7% from 2010’s collective word count of 2,872,682,109.
  • This averaged out to 11,979 words per person!
  • We had 36,774 winners, giving us a 14% win rate!
Our site traffic was way off the charts this year, as well. In November, we had 5,384,040 visits, up 12% from 2010’s 4,796,947. We had 42,915,395 pageviews, up 58% from 2010’s 27,215,323.

Top 50 NaNoWriMo Cities (according to Google Analytics, based on number of November visits from these fine places)
  1. New York 77,947
  2. London 62,286
  3. Seattle 55,205
  4. Toronto 46,413
  5. Sydney 46,390 
  6. Los Angeles 45,806
  7. Chicago 42,720
  8. Melbourne 40,588
  9. Portland 38,898
  10. Denver 37,972
  11. San Francisco 36,808
  12. Minneapolis 28,521
  13. Austin 28,095
  14. Houston 25,863
  15. Washington 25,812
  16. Brisbane 23,033
  17. Calgary 22,294
  18. Edmonton 21,618
  19. Ottawa 21,583
  20. San Diego 19,815
  21. Helsinki 19,793
  22. (not set) 19,435
  23. Phoenix 18,556
  24. Salt Lake City 18,347
  25. Vancouver 18,082
  26. Boston 17,850
  27. Philedelphia 17,664
  28. Columbus 17,558 
  29. Tucson 17,551
  30. Kensington 17,262
  31. Ballinger 16,159
  32. Dublin 16,022
  33. Dallas 15,761 
  34. Albuquerque 15,069
  35. Perth 14,949 
  36. St Louis 14,910
  37. Auckland 14,873
  38. Edinburgh 14,575 
  39. Montreal 14,260
  40. Singapore 13,993
  41. Colorado Springs 13,933
  42. Indianapolis 13,680 
  43. Manchester 13,549
  44. Adelaide 13,477
  45. Sacramento 13,256
  46. San Antonio 13,170
  47. Atlanta 13,065
  48. Grand Rapids 12,939
  49. San Jose 12,925
  50. Madison 12,650
Top 50 NaNoWriMo Countries (according to Google Analytics, based on number of November visits from these fine places)
  1. United States 3,605,003 
  2. United Kingdom 508,260 
  3. Canada 385,383      
  4. Australia 160,936 
  5. Germany 99,752 
  6. Netherlands 66,174
  7. Finland 51,164
  8. France 44,186
  9. Sweden 41,244
  10. New Zealand 32,109
  11. Norway 21,368      
  12. Ireland 21,365    
  13. Philippines 20,333
  14. Spain 18,887
  15. Denmark 15,888        
  16. Japan 15,859
  17. Singapore 14,007
  18. South Africa 13,861
  19. Austria 13,436
  20. India 12,828
  21. Belgium 12,494
  22. Mexico 11,762
  23. (not set) 11,483
  24. Brazil 11,170
  25. Italy 10,820
  26. Portugal 10,261
  27. Poland 9,711
  28. South Korea 9,685
  29. Switzerland 8,956
  30. Indonesia 6,918
  31. Malaysia 6,618
  32. Israel 6,014
  33. Hungary 5,945
  34. Latvia 5,303
  35. China 4,665
  36. Romania 4,454
  37. Greece 4,262
  38. Russia 3,943
  39. Hong Kong 3,799
  40. Croatia 3,135
  41. Argentina 3,067
  42. United Arab Emirates 3,021
  43. Puerto Rico 2,949
  44. Thailand 2,719
  45. Estonia 2,655
  46. Taiwan 2,457        
  47. Turkey 2,089
  48. Ukraine 1,974
  49. Czech Republic 1,914          
  50. Malta 1,850
How fun was that?!? We’ll be adding top wordiest regions by total word count and by average words written per Wrimo, too.

- - - 

I look forward to seeing the wordiest regions stats and will report them here when I know.

NaNo is a force. A power.  A blessing.  And lives on past November each year.

A Very Basic Tutorial on Uploading E-Books to Amazon and Barnes & Noble

I should have written this down while I was setting up my own account, but I didn't.  However, I shared this with my budding author friend and decided to share it with others, as well.  It is meant to be a shortcut, but you should go to the source and read all the Kindle/Nook literature yourself.  After that, compare my listing below to the authorized site and adapt as needed.  With that caveat, here goes.

1.  Go to www.Amazon.com.
2.  At bottom in middle is Make Money with Us.
3.  Fourth down is Independently Publish With Us.  Click on that.
4.  Which brings up the Self-Publish with Us page--first part is Self Publish via CreateSpace (to have your books in print) and the next down is Kindle Books (for e-books).  Choose Kindle Books.  You can download the free Kindle Publishing Guide or you can click Learn More to read about it, or you can click Get Started and just begin.
5.  Under Get Started, it will ask you to set up your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account (name, sign-in and other info, mailing address and if you want your royalties via check or via direct deposit.  I did direct deposit).
6.  After that, it should direct you to the BOOKSHELF area.  Yours should be empty.
7.  Click on Add a New Title.  It will ask you for the usual stuff, the title, the publisher, that you have the rights to this work, if you have an ISBN.  If you have no Publisher Name, Amazon will be your default publisher.

For e-books, it is not necessary to purchase an ISBN at this time (although there are contradictory opinions on this--if I had the money, I'd probably purchase my own block of ISBNs).  Absent your own ISBNs, Amazon will assign you one of their inhouse ASIN routing numbers for free.  Add in the author's name--but you can also choose to add the illustrator's name or co-author's name from the drop-down menu.  You need a Synopsis, a short blurb of your work like you would see on a book jacket, so have one prepared.  I think it gives you like 2400 WC to do that.
Amazon (or B&N) will take your Microsoft Word document (although there are other formats accepted, but MSWord seems to translate well) via their free software conversion process.

YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO PREVIEW THE DOWNLOAD.  Here is where I spend at least two hours working out all the glitches.  There will be strange indents happening and missed paragraphs or too many blank lines at different spots.  You go back to your MSWord doc and play around with it, save it and then UPLOAD your document AGAIN within KDP, PREVIEW it again (and again) until it is pretty and looks like it should.  

It SHOULD go without saying (but I will stress it here anyway) that your book be free from spelling snafus and grammatical errors, with no plot holes or inconsistencies and you have checked your facts.

You need a JPG cover (or maybe a TIF is allowed as well)--there are only two forms allowed.  To get my JPG, I simply scan my cover into my home printer and play around with colors and text (title and author name) with the use of free art software called GIMP 2.  MAKE SURE YOUR COVER LOOKS GOOD AS A THUMBNAIL--those small cover sizes you see when you peruse Amazon to buy a book.  
Just reduce the % within MSWord from 100% to 25% and see how the cover looks.  Even if you cannot read your name, make sure your cover still is recognizable and your title is readable.

For a cover, you can create your own, hire an artist or buy one of the royalty-free stock photos found online (like at www.istockphoto.com/).  The problem I have with stock photos is that you (and anybody else) can buy the same photo and your book cover could be duplicated many many times.  I like the uniqueness of having my own covers. Make sure any purchased stock photo is ROYALTY-FREE.  You want just flat-rate services as you Indie-publish your e-books.

You will upload your cover in a separate step from your text.  Hit "Save And Continue," going on to page two.  You choose a royalty.  For UNDER $2.99, you get 35%, I believe.  So about 34 cents of the 99-cent price (which is the lowest price, whether you are selling a one-page research article on How To Lose Weight, or a 600-page tome) is your royalty amount.  

If you choose to sell your book at $2.98, you still get just the 35% royalty from that.  However, if you go with the $2.99-up-to-$9.99 price ranges, you get 70% of the sales price (in the U.S.).  My books are all 99 cents, with the exception of my copyediting manual, which is at $2.99.  Pricing is up to you.  

Check the box re Worldwide Rights, so you will be in all the countries where Amazon has an online store--right now: Italy, Spain, Germany, UK, France, U.S.  There is something about "Do you want your project digitally protected from theft?" and I choose YES each time.  It always confuses me but it seems to be a good thing (unless I've misunderstood it all this time).

8.  Click Upload or whatever once the two pages are filled out like you want.
9.  Your book will be "Under Review" for at least a day and then it becomes LIVE and will appear on both your BOOKSHELF as well as the online Amazon site.
10.  You should go to Amazon Author Central and consider uploading a picture of yourself or your pet or favorite landscape or your book cover.  Upload your bio (I forget how many WC you have, but it's a lot).  List your website if you have one.  It won't take my blog page, so I added it to the end of my bio.  List all your books here too.  It will have the thumbnail of your novel show up soon and you just click Yes This Is My Book, or something like that.
11.  Then you can go back to the BOOKSHELF page load and up top, choose next to it REPORTS, then MONTH TO DATE UNIT SALES and it will show you if you've made any sales in the U.S.  You have to scroll down to the drop-down menu and choose UK, FR, ES, DE, IT to see about sales within the other online stores in other countries.  It should default to the U.S. for us here in the States.  
If you make more than $10 IN ROYALTIES at the end of a month (your 35% or your 70% of sales) or at the end of two months or whatever, then you will get a royalty check/direct deposit from Amazon in sixty days.  I've received three or four from Amazon to date (I first uploaded March 27, 2011) and have received one royalty check from B&N.

12.  I never could get my tabbed indents to work for my paragraphs IN THE PREVIEW UPLOAD, so mine are flush left with an empty line between paragraphs.  For my upcoming novels, I will use the ruler to set auto indent and no spacing between paragraphs--like the standard e-book and paperback formats.  We'll see how that works out later.

It does take me about three hours Previewing my work to get each e-book pretty before going public with it.  Of course, once you set up your KDP account, then you just need to go to the BOOKSHELF area and ADD NEW TITLE each time.

You can edit both your initial personal info and the individual book info at any time by going back to BOOKSHELF and there is an "Actions" button to the far right-hand side of each title.  Click on it and it gives you the ability to Edit Profile or Edit Book Details or Edit Rights, etc.  Again, there is the "In Review" process going on and in a day or so, your book again becomes Live.

I read the Amazon contract but if you have the money, an Entertainment attorney can explain it to you probably for one hour's fee.  I'm not saying you can get the terms changed, but at least you can have the boring legalese translated to you in layman's terms.

Three more things:  (1) NO ADS are allowed in your e-book.  I took that to mean even a preview of my new book and asking readers to buy it with a CLICK--although other authors seem to be doing this.  HOWEVER, with an email or two to Amazon, they said it is not a contract violation for me to have a page (which I entitled OTHER BOOKS BY AUTHOR) of Amazon links to my other books.  I do not want to do anything that bans me or my books from Amazon.  (2)  You cannot publicly share your royalties made.  Weird, I know.  But it is plain as day within the contract.  (3)  In fact, you cannot share the Amazon Contract publicly.   So no postings to the WWW or even within a group forum posting or a blog.

That's "it" for Amazon.  Ha!  I know.  In one initial sitting, it can be overwhelming, but you'll get through it.  And then a couple months later, when your next e-book is ready for release, you will wonder if you remember how to do it.  You will.

For B&N, you go to PubIt! at http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home and fill out their form.  They only have a U.S. store at this point.  There is a little extra step in uploading your JPG at B&N because of pixel size restrictions (750 to 2000 pixel count).  I fix my Amazon cover to fit those B&N specs via GIMP 2 and make a second version of my cover to upload to B&N.  B&N takes less time to upload its ebooks to LIVE status, but you still NEED TO PREVIEW your upload and fix the glitches that occur in translation.

The royalty rates are different at B&N, being 40% and 65%, respectively, compared to Amazon's.

I am looking into Smashwords (another free site for e-book uploads) to access the other markets:  Kobo, iPad, Sony reader, etc.  Will let you know more about that when I get into it.

Good luck all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Beauty of NaNoWriMo Lives On

The benefits of NaNo are immense.  I've blogged about some of them before, but NaNo still beats in my veins.  It lives on.

We all have our speeds.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  As a novelist, NaNo is perfect for me.  The ticking-time-bomb-in-the-bus momentum of the short-term goal (thirty days) keeps me striving for those 2K words daily.  I hit my 50K mark early even with a job, a twenty-four bug confining me to bed for twenty hours and one earlier day of complete downtime, which was signaled as necessary by my low WC from the previous day. 

The month-long focus on the WC keeps us honed in on the grand goal.  Like a horse wearing blinders, we keep our eyes on the prize.  I am guilty of multitasking, but the one-goal/one-focus has the benefits of COMPLETION.  There is no procrastination involved.  How cool is that?

Plus I had the wonderful side benefit of a writing buddy, an ex-coworker, who shared his NaNo project with me and I found him to be a genius storyteller.  Which didn't surprise me as he is articulate whether speaking in person or via email.  He has a sly humor that shows up as you listen to him or read his words.  His work, his first draft mind you, is amazingly clean and resonates with intelligence and wit.  Plus, he has the innate ability to juggle many characters within a short novel (just over 50,000 WC) and give them distinct personalities.  Even with three characters whose names all started with N, I could easily keep them separated.

If I thought I could keep myself objective, "above the story," I'd go back to dissect and study his work-in-progress just to see how he so efficiently accomplished the 3-D embodiments of his people in his story land.  Or I could just read it again for the sheer fun of it.

He also had used rhetorical devices, like foreshadowing, similes, metaphors.  There were no plotting problems--no "that doesn't make sense" red flags within his draft.  His FIRST draft.  

The world will no doubt find a wonderful fantasy novelist within his debut novel.  Whether he goes traditionally published or Indie, I cannot wait to read his finished book. I would not dare to share his name without his permission and I surely do not want to pressure this budding author.  Plus he needs to decide whether to go with a pen name or not.

Do not despair.  Upon publication, I will definitely give a grand shout out. 

I feel a little smug in that it was me who mentioned NaNoWriMo to him--like a talent scout who hit gold in finding the next Michael Jordan, or Elvis Presley, or Elle McPherson.  Hopefully he treasures his writing ability as much as I do and we'll all be sharing the gift of his tales in the near future.

So don't withhold your compliments.  If they exist inside you, they should be shared.  One simple encouragement could change someone's life.  Even your own.  After all, what goes around comes around.  Keep verbalizing those good inspirations.  We need to hear them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two More Grammar Lessons

Again, these are basics addressed here, yet I see misused too often in print.  So, today's grammar lessons are on (1) double versus single quotes and (2) hyphenated words versus compound words.

Double versus Single Quotes

Double quotes surround any dialogue.  That's the easiest-to-remember rule.  Example:  "I'm going to the grocery store.  Y'all want anything?" she asked. 

Just remember to use them in pairs.  UNLESS you have a multiple-paragraph monologue spoken by a single speaker, then start each paragraph with an opening quote for paragraph one, paragraph two, on to the ending paragraph.  Which is the only paragraph that ends with a closing quote (see CMS 11.36).

Double quotes can also surround text that is not dialogue.  Example:  She didn't consider herself a "real" author because she had not yet sold anything. 

In the above context, the quotations around the word real were used to show emphasis, just as my italicized font of the same word produces its own emphasis.  Whether you use quotes or italics probably depends on what other quotes and italics are nearby, in my opinion.  Keep 'em varied yet concise and clear is my mantra.

Single quotes are ONLY used within double quotes.  Example:  "Do you know what he said to me?" she yelled.  "He said, 'You are no longer pretty to me anymore.' He told me that to my face.  Can you believe it?" she railed, then fell into the chair exhausted. 

That is the ONLY time you use single quotes.  If I can later think of any exception to this rule, I'll let you know.

Hyphenated Words versus Compound Words

A compound word is just that:  two words, equally usable alone, one word here and another word there, but with a third existence as a compound word.  Examples:  paperwork, homework, silverware, stemware, lovemaking. No hyphens are found within these compound words.  They are not compound words if a hyphen rightfully belongs between.

I find a lot of improperly hyphenated words in my reading.  It may boil down to something as simple as not being able to interpret Webster's correctly.  Anyway, that is my assumption here as it can be misleading when you look up any prefix or suffix.  Examples:  pre-, post-, anti-, mid- for prefixes and -ful and -less for suffixes.

Even though "pre-" has its own entry within Webster's, that DOES NOT MEAN all words that start with this prefix must have the hyphen next.  Wrong.  The hyphenated entry highlights the prefix nature of this combination of letters.  The hyphen denotes the need for this prefix to be joined with other words.  The hyphen at the END of this prefix demands that any conjoining of a word must be at the back end.

Just like a suffix such as "-less" and "-ful" only allow for mating with a word at the front end.  You do NOT retain the hyphen.  Examples:  mindless and roomful.

These prefixes and suffices are NOT WORDS.  Not in their standalone hyphenated forms found in Webster's.  These are simply letter groupings awaiting a word to complete them.

I have Webster's uploaded to my laptop so I can see a listing of all words combined with "pre-" that are deemed hyphenless by Webster's.  If a particular word is not on that list, then, yes, it should be written to include the hyphen.

Within its many incarnations, whether online, digital or hardcopy, Webster's uses a raised dot to separate its syllables.  For a TRUE hyphenated usage, there is a longer hyphen shown.  I presume that is to differentiate it from the shorter hyphenlike dividers used within its pronunciation guide falling directly below or behind the syllable view of the word.  To avoid confusion.  Which we should all keep in mind.

As with most English grammar rules, there are exceptions.  In the preceding paragraph, I used the word hyphenlike.  It is not found in Webster's whether I look up "hyphenlike" or "hyphen-like" or under just "-like."  Therefore I have chosen to conjoin the noun with the suffix.  You will note though that Webster's separates any occurrence of three Ls in a row by inserting a hyphen.  Example:  bell-like (per Webster's).  That's a good rule to follow as three Ls in a row makes a red flag pop up in my mind with a misspelling alert.

Believe me, you do not want your readers stopping midsentence to question you on your spelling or grammar.  You do not want confused readers either.  So keep these structural basics in mind especially as we authors create our novels.  However, it is just as useful in the business world or when writing a complaint letter or a love letter, for that matter.

Communication is critical.  How many problems have erupted from a sheer miscommunication?  So let's try to avoid all that and get our thoughts and desires eloquently and succinctly shared with our intended audience.

P.S.  As I end this blog, I am reminded that some people will misinterpret what we are saying, no matter how painstakingly well said, based on their own experiences or mind-set.  We have no control over that.  A man who thinks all women love shopping for clothes in a mall is the victim of a generalization and, while I cannot change that oversimplification, I can choose to not be around him as his personification would irk me to no end.  I hate being lumped into a grouping where I do not belong.  My uniqueness is smothered, suffocated.  For all my commonalities with the female sex, I am an individual and like being seen for my own attributes.

Just like the credo for authors (every reader is not your intended audience), there is a similar axiom for people (everyone will not like you or see you for who you are).  That is why those rare few who see me as I see me are so precious to me.

Seek those in your life.  You will be richly rewarded.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hardcover Edition of Nightingale by David Farland Available Soon

The hardcover copy of Nightingale is coming out in a few days, even though the actual release date is not until March 2012.  However, you can "get it now" via mail if you order online at www.Nightingalenovel.com.

Read on for the synopsis of Nightingale with some of its many reviews and more about its talented author, David Farland.


Bron Jones was abandoned at birth, forced into foster care, and passed from home to home.  At age 16, he’s alone and friendless, a complete outsider—until he gets one last chance.  He's sent to live with a wondrous teacher, Olivia, who recognizes him for what he is: a "Nightingale," a creature not quite human.

Now, epic forces combine to pull Bron apart, stripping him from the only real parents, friends, and girlfriend he's ever known.  Bron must risk everything to answer the mysteries:  "Where did I come from?  What am I?  Who am I?”

“A beautifully crafted experience: stunning art, haunting music and delightfully subtle animated accents all accompany a riveting and deeply human story. There is (quite literally) nothing else like it.”
- Editionals

“A thrilling ride, with plenty of twists, action, and amazing characters.  I ripped through it.  Highly recommended.”
- James Dashner
New York Times Bestseller

“Farland is simply one of the best sci-fi and fantasy writers alive.”
- Orson Scott Card
Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award Winner

David Farland is the international bestselling author of nearly fifty books, including such award-winning novels as the science fiction masterpiece On My Way to Paradise (Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award Winner, Best Novel in English Language) and the historical novel In the Company of Angels (Whitney Award Winner: Best Novel of the Year). He is best known though for his fantasy work, which includes the New York Times bestselling series The Runelords, and his lovable and wacky middle-grade fantasy series Ravenspell.

With Nightingale, Dave makes his first foray into creating his own young adult series. (Dave has written young adult novels for both the Star Wars and Mummy franchises as Dave Wolverton, but this is the first young adult universe that he's created for himself.)

In addition to writing novels, Dave has also worked in videogames on such international bestselling games as Starcraft: Brood Wars, and Xena: The Talisman of Fate.

More recently, Dave has worked in the film industry as a movie producer and a screenwriter. His screenplay for the Runelords in now in development for a major motion picture.

Throughout his career, Dave has worked extensively helping new writers through his work as coordinating judge of the Writers of the Future, as a creative writing instructor at Brigham Young University, and by teaching writing seminars. Many of his students have gone on to become some of the most successful writers of our time, including such #1 international bestsellers as Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, and Stephenie Meyer.

Go to www.nightingalenovel.com/press.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Do Readers Choose to Read?

This is a related post from the one earlier today.  Something within that first blog stirred my need to know.  So I did more unscheduled research and came up with the following interesting info.  My apologies for any errors or math miscalculations.  Believe me, they were not intended.  However, with that caveat, here we go.

As authors we should consider this:  What are our potential readers reading?  What genres do these Kindle Million Club authors encompass?  Does offering a huge selection of books to the public help generate these one million books sold?  

Restricting this discussion to the Kindle Million Club authors, here is a thumbnail overview:

Line No.
Kindle Million Club Author
Novels Published to Date*

D. Baldacci
Thriller**, Children's
A. Hocking
YA Paranormal
S. Meyer
YA Vampire Romance
S. Larsson
J. Patterson
Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb
C. Harris
Vampire Thriller
Lee Child
S. Collins
Children’s, Sci-Fi
M. Connelly
John Locke
Humorous Thriller
K. Stockett
J. Evanovich
Humorous Thriller, Humorous Romance
G. R.R. Martin
Fantasy, Sci-Fi

* -  no short stories or anthologies counted (at least not on purpose)
** - "Thriller" includes mysteries and police procedurals
*** - some of Janet Evanovich's novels counted here were co-authored

NOTE:  The children's genre is skewed as I was ignoring it at first, like I did the short stories and the anthologies--based on the fact they are probably not novel-length books, may not be necessarily offered via Amazon (such as articles, another category I overlooked, would most likely be published in magazines, periodicals, etc.) plus any anthology purchase could be deemed due to another contributor's name on the cover.  Hence, not part of why these authors made Amazon's Kindle Million Club.   However, it shows up for Collins as her bibliography has more books in that genre.  I plan to update this category with more research later (hopefully not today as I am already so off track--ha!).  At that time, I'll add the appropriate entries where needed and a confirming postscript at the end of this entry.

The million-sales-generating genres include crossovers so here's that tally per the authors referenced above, starting with the most desired/bought and working down to the other favorites:

     9 Thrillers/Mysteries/Police Procedurals, including the two mixed genres noted below

     3 Romance, including the two mixed genres noted below  /
3 Humorous, including the two mixed genres noted below

     2 Young Adults  /  2 Science Fiction  /  2 Humorous Thrillers  /  2 Children's

     1 Paranormal Romance   / 1 Historical  /  1 Fantasy / 1 Vampire Thriller  / 1 Humorous Romance

Remember, these numbers here indicate genres shared among these Kindle Million Club authors, not the number of books written.  If I have the genres wrong, then my math here is inherently erroneous, so take that into account.

Obviously Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb has the greatest number of books written to date among this selection of novelists.  Even adding together all the other authors' publications from the chart above, I come up with roughly 223 novels compared to 251 just by Nora.  That is incredible.  As author Nora Roberts, she has written 209 romance books.  Under the J.D. Robb pen name for her In Death murder series, she's created another 42.

Still, you have a debut author making this list with her lone contribution (K. Stockett).

So just because you aren't as prolific as Nora or have a humongous backlist to convert to e-book format, you can still accomplish great things with one individual story.

The other single-digit-book-producing authors here have trilogies--or a quadrilogy--going for them (Hocking, Meyer, Larsson, Collins).

The beginning of the double-digit producers (covering 11-19 books) seem to be replete with authors doing a longer series.  Look at Harris with her book/TV series, Child's Reacher series, then Locke's two series with his start on a third, ending with Martin who has one series among his other standalone books.

For authors offering twenty-something books to choose from, we have the series theme popping up again, with Baldacci's four (counting the children's series) and Connolly's three.

Nobody considered here has thirty-ish books published.  They either have less or more.  So we jump into the forty-plus-books-published category:  Patterson and Evanovich.  They both have embraced the book series, too.

Also, per our Kindle Million Club author listing, you can be traditionally published or Indie-published, as Hocking and Locke attest to, and still make the cut.

To recap, here's what readers want based on my personal analysis of Kindle's Million Club authors. 

A great entertaining read, first and foremost would be my generic answer, whether (1) hundreds of books prolifically written throughout the decades (keep 'em coming) or (2) a standalone adult novel, your first even, in whatever category (every one of these extraordinary authors started with Book One).  (3) Both traditionally and Indie-published authors appear in this listTop-selling genres include (4) Thrillers, then (5) Romance and Humor genres.  (6)  Create a series, at least a trilogy, but longer is better.  (7)  It is okay to mix genres.  Plus, as you see fit, (8) add in these elements:  fantasy, paranormal, vampire and/or sci-fi; (9) feel free to write to these audiences: young adults and children; and (10) they want more serious reads first and lighthearted reads second.

One final point.  No matter what genre of book is selling big at the moment, no matter what genre of movie is drawing record numbers at the theaters, no matter what genre of TV show is a huge hit, write from your heart.  Write what you want.  Write what you are drawn to.  If it happens to be the current "thing," so much the better.

Just as I am compelled to do this research and these two blogs today no matter what my To Do list may dictate, sometimes you gotta go with your gut.  Trust your instincts.  If they are nudging you now, then now is the right time to do it.

Like Kathryn Stockett's "differences" stand out among the other authors within Amazon's Kindle Million Club on so many levels (it's her debut novel, it's the only historical on the list, she made her one million in sales from one single book--that's a big following), she could be deemed the anomaly.  So could one of us someday.

And that's it.

For now.