La Riposte

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

23 Days to Go!

So, less than a month before the first round of ROW80 comes to an end... My round-the-world trip has set me back a bit on some of the planned goals, but has inspired two brand-new short stories, and has given me time to write about 6000 words of a forthcoming novel. I've also managed to snowboard in the French Alps, walk the ruins of Pompeii, and eat gelato in a shop once visited by the Pope.

However, looking back at my writing goals for this round, I see that I have only completed 61 percent so far...

Time to get cracking on the following goals:

1. Publish 1 non-fiction book.

  • Edit all material: 15 Mar
  • Publish: 22 Mar

2. Publish 1 non-fiction article or essay online.

  • Finish draft: 10 Mar
  • Submit for editing: 15 Jan
  • See published: April issue of “Current Intelligence”

3. Publish 1 more short story on Amazon.

  • Cover art: 15 Mar
  • Trailer: 22 Mar

As for the non-writing goals (fitness and language learning) those have sort of fallen off the wagon, but I will look forward to catching them up on the next round!

It's past midnight here in Jakarta, so I'm off to bed... Will have a more detailed update on Sunday, I hope! Until then, best wishes to all.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Round of Words, Around the World!

So, wag of the finger to myself - I missed the Sunday check-in last week for ROW80, but in my own defense, I was in Las Vegas, spending a weekend playing rugby and poker with my old teammates from New Mexico State University.

Picked up a few stitches in the upper lip, but had a great time overall. Now down in San Diego where I've been visiting family and friends for the past few days, and am about to drive up to LA to have dinner with more of my many fabulous brothers and sisters before flying out to London, on to Geneva and Naples, and much later, back home to Jakarta.

In the midst of all this, as you might imagine, there hasn't been a lot of writing going on.

I have made the decision to remove Seven Lives to Repay Our Country from Smashwords, and make it a KDP Select title, but I'll explain the rationale for this decision in a later post.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll get back to work on writing and editing at 30,000 feet, but today's all about family and friends. So, thanks for stopping by, and I'll look forward to having a more substantive report on Sunday.

Best to all,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ROW80, Listopia, eTLC, etc

Greetings, fellow readers and writers, from chilly Newport, Rhode Island, with a warm welcome to everyone arriving from the Beck Valley Books blog hop, and of course everyone participating in ROW80.

First, a small request for everyone who is a member of Goodreads - would you please consider clicking this link and voting for Happily Ever After (#3) and Seven Lives to Repay Our Country (#6) on this list of 99 cent fiction?

And, before we go much further, a link to a little humor - this office really knows how to pull together as a team to accomplish their goal! Kudos to Nicole Basaraba for inspiring me to try to put a few smiles in my ROW80 updates!

ROW80 update: It turns out I've been both more and less productive than I'd originally planned; I'm ahead in some areas, behind in others, and in at least one case, have gone totally off the reservation!

1. Submit 1 book proposal - DONE!

2. Publish 1 non-fiction book.

  • Translate all material: 10 Jan - DONE!
  • Edit all material: 15 Jan - Rescheduled to: 15 Mar
  • Publish: 16-21 Jan - Rescheduled to: 25 Mar

3. Publish 1 non-fiction article or essay online.

  • Finish draft: 20 Jan - Rescheduled to: 20 Feb
  • Submit for editing: 25 Jan - Rescheduled to: 25 Feb
  • See published: Apr issue of “Current Intelligence

4. Publish 1 more short story on Amazon.

This is the interesting one. The story I was originally planning to self-publish was just submitted to Glimmer Train's "Short Story Award for New Writers", where it will be competing with an estimated 4,000 other submissions for selection and publication. Yes, I really do think it's that good. If it's not selected, it will be a tough call whether to use it as a "control story" as I test the traditional publishing vs. self-published e-book route for short story writers, or simply to enroll in at once in the Amazon KDP Select program and let the market, rather than editors, decide how good it is.

That said, to meet the original goal, I now need to write, prep, and publish another story by February 21st, all while traipsing across the United States and Europe. Can I do it? Stay tuned to find out!

A few final notes. I've just enrolled Seven Lives to Repay Our Country in the Electronic Text & Literature Cloud (eTLC) - authors and readers, you might like to check out this resource for independent literature, and Wednesday is the time to join Novel Publicity's Author Karma event on Goodreads. Join the group, RSVP to the event, and meet a few more fans and friends.

Best regards,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Free E-Book Offer, ROW80 Check-In, etc!

Top News - Seven Lives to Repay Our Country is currently FREE at Smashwords for all e-readers if you use coupon code EB75Z - this is my final effort to spur some action at Smashwords, otherwise I will probably pull this story from there later this month and enroll it in the KDP Select program.

Another ROW80 check-in without a great deal of progress to report on my formal goals, although I've written a few thousand more words on my new novel, which I am still debating serializing online... Opinions on the "should I serialize" question are welcome!

I'm finding that being on the road, living out of a suitcase and visiting family tends to put a slight damper on my writing productivity, but that doesn't mean I'm not exercising my creative talents! Here's a video from yesterday's snowboarding trip to the Berkshires with my sister Charli and nephew Liam. But I have high hopes for next week, when I'll be in class at Newport, RI, and with somewhat fewer distractions.

Wishing everyone a pleasant end to the week and a productive week to come,

Best regards,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop, KDP Select Results, ROW80, etc.

Welcome to everyone stopping by courtesy of the ROW80 challenge or the Beck Valley Books weekly blog hop.

January's numbers are (mostly) in, so for the benefit of other self-publishing authors (and interested readers) I'd like to recap my experiences with Happily Ever After and Seven Lives...

First, let's talk Amazon vs. The Rest (iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, etc.)

Here's where I'd like to solicit advice from other authors and readers, as January had zero sales for Seven Lives across the spectrum of non-Kindle e-readers. Thus, my question of the week - how do you market to users of Nook, I-Pad/I-Phone, and other e-readers? What has worked for you in getting your books out to this demographic?

Now, I'd like to give you my information about the Amazon KDP program and the results I experienced. This was the first month that I had a pair of books for a rough comparison, one enrolled in KDP Select, one that wasn't.

The KDP Select program is supposed to benefit indie authors by offering 2 major features; a "free promotion" (5 days of "free" status in a 90 day period) and the opportunity to get a proportional share of $700,000 when Amazon Prime members borrow their book. In exchange, the author agrees to publish solely on Amazon for 90 days.

My first question was, "is it more effective to use your 'free' promotion days consecutively, or break them up?" - and looking at the graph of free downloads, I believe the answer is that a 'free download' period should be limited to 2 days at a time. Thus a KDP Select author might introduce the book free for a weekend, and then offer a "free for Friday" or similar incentive 2-3 more times in the course of their 90-day intro period. The benefit here? 25% of all paid sales were recorded in the 4 days immediately following the 'free' promotion. Thus, one can imagine taking advantage of this "sales bump" on consecutive occasions if the promotion is segmented, rather than used in one fell swoop.

My second question was "how effective is this promotion, anyway?" - well, Happily Ever After went to #3 in Germany on's Fiction --> Fairy Tales category, and #33 here in the US. Free downloads totalled 656, with 75% of those coming from, and the majority of the other 25% coming from the UK and German sites. All that sturm und drang only translated into 17 paid sales and 2 "borrows", but that was about 3 times the sales for Seven Lives... So, free promotions definitely raise awareness and distribution, and do appear to have an impact on sales. The question is, do you need the KDP Select program to make this happen? I plan to try offering a "free-kend" for Seven Lives just by going into the KDP Dashboard and setting its price to zero, and then compare the results and report them here.

If anyone has questions for me regarding my experiences, feel free to ask and I'll be happy to answer them here.

Now, as for ROW80 goals, I'm definitely off-track at this point for French and fitness; I'm finding it hard to get focused on either while I'm on the road. On the other hand, I have found a new house (off to sign the papers for the mortgage today) gotten a SC driver's license, and finished a prerequisite course for my future job. I also did send off the proposal and sample chapter for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Indonesian, so fingers crossed that I'll get a positive reply in the coming months. Meanwhile, I'll start writing the book, so that if it's accepted, I'll be ahead of the curve, and if it's not, I'll still be able to self-publish it.

Last but not least, doing the research for a historical fiction novel that's not even a part of my original ROW80 goals has given me some great material for a new short story (Napoleonic War era) and has been a fun and instructive process.

That's it for me, at least for today.

Hope you've found some of this interesting, and I do look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Best regards,