Thursday, December 29, 2011

Smoke detectors get too old and die

I recently gave some family and friends a test. They all failed. I asked, "Have your smoke detectors expired?" The answers were mixed but pretty much amounted to, "I'm not sure."

The bottom line is: you should completely replace your smoke detectors after 8 - 10 years of use. So guess what I did after Christmas? Yep. Good thing, too, because 1 of my old detectors actually had malfunctioned.

So the house is now equipped with brand new dual sensor alarms throughout. And if you're wondering just how tardy I was accomplishing this important task, let's just say it should have been done 6 years ago. --face palm--

Monday, December 26, 2011

Creating an eBook via The Killer Cookie recipe

If you’re into self-publishing, you are likely acquainted with J.A. Konrath. Over on his blog, Joe provides quite an insightful view of the journey he’s taken. I think most would call it a highly successful one, though Joe hasn’t yet crossed the proverbial finish line and declared total victory.

When it comes to publishing a successful eBook, I like Joe’s formula. To me, Joe simply follows a recipe for producing The Killer Cookie, namely:

1. It has to catch your eye,
2. It has to sound good to eat,
3. It has to look positively delicious,
4. It has to be priced so you don’t even think twice about it,
5. It has to be found where ever you want to buy it, and
6. It has to make your taste buds squeal when you munch it.

In eBook terms, this translates to:

1. Have a striking cover and a title that grabs
2. Have an arresting book description, search tags and keywords
3. Have all aspects of the packaging be clean and crisp
4. Have a low or even impulsive buy price
5. Be readily available across all major store fronts
6. Be well written, engaging, compelling and error-free

For the most part, I’ve tried to be faithful to The Killer Cookie recipe in producing my latest eBook, Dark Doses. I consciously chose to deviate from point #5 though. Here’s why.

I opted in to Amazon’s KDP Select program. Dark Doses is exclusively offered via Amazon for at least 90 days.

Let me be upfront and acknowledge this ploy by Amazon to lockout the competition. In this post, I’m not going to dwell on the potential consequences and ramifications of Amazon’s tactic. Plenty of writer blogs are reacting to the launch of KDP Select and perhaps that’ll be the subject of one of my future missives.

Instead, let me just say that there are lots and lots of cookies out there. More are rolling out every day. What’s an aspiring cookie-baker to do?

Play the numbers game. The majority of cookie-lovers are going to browse and consider the selections put forth by the number one cookie peddler in the world. So for a brand new, just-released Killer Cookie, I’m exploiting all available tactics to break into that leading market.

Amazon is selling a million Kindles a week. There is a lot of muscle and inertia propelling that market. I hope to tap into that as best I can. Not to specifically get rich via KDP Select’s anemic remuneration terms but to get better known.

I seriously doubt I’ll keep Dark Doses exclusive to Amazon for any greatly protracted period of time. I don’t especially like being locked out of non-Kindle eReaders.

But, at least for now, I’m willing to test this one modification to the recipe.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My anthology "Dark Doses" is published on Amazon

Just in time for Christmas, I've added one more temptation to the Kindle store hopefully to entice a few of those customers Amazon is selling e-readers at a rate of 1 million a week. I titled my anthology Dark Doses and it joins the lone short story I had available in the store. Click the cover image on the right if you'd like to visit the Amazon page.

I'll blog some more about the whole eBook publishing process in the days ahead since I used a different approach than for Game Over, my short story. Also, it's going to be a while before I release the eBook to other venues like Smashwords since I enrolled it in Amazon's new KDP Select program. More on that too in a future post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building an eBook? Here's a pointer...

If you're building a first eBook and are game to tackle the work yourself, browse over to Paul Salvette's web site. Paul has plenty of advice, guidance and additional links to assist you with the process. I'll toss in: get ready to get your hands dirty. With patience, effort, and Paul's coaching though, you can prime your masterpiece for a professional-grade release via Kindle, Smashwords and the other e-venues.

Maybe you aren't too worried over the finer points and are willing to accept 'good enough' quality. That's your choice and certainly there are shortcut methods you can resort to. Another alternative is you can just pay to have your eBook prepared. Plenty of wranglers are available for a modest fee.

But if you aren't put off by some text manipulation and HTML editing, give Paul's approach a shot.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Home on the range, where the deer & the jackalope play

After 4 years of blogging on LiveJournal as my primary spot, I've decided to transition over to Blogger. Other than occasional performance problems and a stray issue every so often with select web browsers, I can't complain much about LJ... with one exception. Cross-posting from LJ as the source is simply fraught with challenges. Enough to make me switch.

I'm probably destined at some point to take the Wordpress plunge. Until then, Blogger is my prime choice.