Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Thing About Apple

Recently, I received an email from a reader asking me when the last two books in the Kinkaid Brothers series would be available on ibooks. Before I get into that, I have to say that I received this email through the contact form on my website. You know, that form I told you I wasn't so sure I wanted to have on my website. Guess my web designer knew what he was doing after all!

Like I said, a reader emailed me to ask when the novels would be released on ibooks. I was a little surprised by this question. I thought the books were already available in this format. Just to be sure, I logged on to the ibooks website and did a search for them. Sure enough, those last two titles were missing. 

Determined to get to the bottom of the problem, I logged on to the site I use to publish all of my books. Imagine my surprise when I checked the information for my titles and found these last two had been rejected by ibooks, and you're never going to guess why.

At the end of every book I publish, I list the titles of all of my other books. Most authors do. If readers have made it to the end of a book, chances are they liked it. We want to encourage readers to check out the rest of our books. One of the books I have listed there was published last year under an exclusive contract with Amazon. It's a Kindle Worlds novella entitled Going for Wilder. Well, therein lies the problem.

Because I listed Going for Wilder as avaialbe for purchase, ibooks refused to carry my recently published novels. If I remove this title from my list of available books, they will reevaluate placement in their bookstore and likely agree to carry it.

I'm not angry so much as surprised with a touch of amused. That's a pretty petty reason for refusing to carry my newest books, especcially when you consider that Going for Wilder is a $1.99 novella. I seriously doubt making readers aware of its availailbity is going to cost Apple any money, but then what do I know?

No, I'm not going to refuse to make the change. I'm going to revise the available works page at the back of both novels and resubmit. I want all of my readers to have the option of buying my books in the format they're comfortable with, but I learned something about Apple that I didn't know before.

By the way, I have to thank the reader that brought this to my attention and my web designer for the contact form I was so leery of.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Dreaded Contact Form

If you haven’t heard, I recently launched a new website. This is either the third or fourth redesign and each one gets better in my opinion.

With this website, the designer added a feature that I wasn’t so sure about; the contact form. I’m sure you’ve all been to a website and seen one before. It’s a form on the website where you typically enter your name and contact information along with your message, which makes it to whomever manages that mailbox.

As I said, I was leery of doing something like this. One of my earlier websites included a guest book feature. It allowed visitors of the site to enter their comments which were preserved on the site for everyone to see. I’d seen it on other websites and thought it was a fun way to get an idea of what visitors to the site thought. It wasn’t long before I realized how much I hated that feature. Very few people were entering any comments, making me wonder if there was any traffic to the site. I will say the few comments that were entered were positive, but it was still depressing to see. I had my web designer get rid of that option pretty fast.

So, here we are. My new website was being designed. I had a ton of ideas for it. None of which included the dreaded guest book feature. The only thing I wanted was a form that readers could use to join my review team. Anyone who wants to get advanced review copies of my books would complete the form which would make it to my email and then we would get them signed up as part of the review team.

I got that and one other thing I hadn’t asked for. The designer incorporated a generic contact form. Whoever visits the site can fill out their name and other contact information, along with a message. While I wasn’t crazy about this form, I shrugged it off. Even if it doesn’t get used, it’s not hurting anything just sitting there. It’s not like I had plans to use it so any use it gets is a bonus.

You could have knocked me over with a feather last week when I received an email through that contact form. The email was from someone I’d never met before who read my Sapphire Falls Kindle World novella, Going for Wilder. The reader enjoyed the book and was tickled when she read my bio and found out we share a hometown so she reached out to let me know.

I may be a writer, but I can’t come up with proper words to express my happiness. I always love hearing that someone likes my books. It’s even better when that person is a stranger with no emotional investment in my feelings. That person is under no obligation to contact me or compliment me, but she did both, and it was awesome.

Even if I never get another message generated from that contact form, I can still safely say it’s worth having it there. It can stay.

And by the way, if you haven’t checked out my website you really should, especially if you want to receive free copies of my upcoming releases.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

That Book Costs How Much?

I may be a writer, but I'm also an avid reader. I have been since I was a kid. Like most readers, I have several writers that I fan girl all over. I buy all of their books and post my love of them all over social media. I also love discovering new authors.

When it comes to a new author, I take a more conservative approach. Before I buy, I read the reviews of other readers and download the free sample first. I also check the page count of the book. Something I never used to do.

Call me cheap, but if a book is less than one hundred pages, I don't want to pay more than $1.99. I'm always surprised when I glance at the specs of a book and see that a thirty-nine page short story is $4.99. I have to ask myself, what was the author thinking?

To be fair, it's not always the author who determines the price of an e-book. If the author has signed a contract with a publisher, it's the publisher who makes this decision. Being that the publisher is in the business to make money, he's going to price the book high enough to make a profit after shelling out author royalties.

If an author is using a self-publishing press, she may not be able to set the price. Some print on demand companies do allow the author to set the price, but some do not. Some base the price of the book on its length.

I'm sure there are some authors who feel they deserve to be paid a higher amount. It's not so unreasonable if you think about it. When you go to the movies, if you go in the evening, you spend a pretty penny on a two hour movie. Why wouldn't you be willing to spend the equivalent on a book?

I'll be honest. I'm not willing to spend the money unless the free sample really hooks me. And in the interest of fairness, I try to keep the cost of my books in line with their length. I never want to be one of those authors that makes you say; that book costs how much?