Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Experience with Amazon KDP Select

My first experience with Amazon KDP Select left me rather cold. I have several titles published through Amazon and other sellers, but until the end of last year, I hadn't tried the Select program before.

KDP Select at first glance:

- the up side:

1. you get two ways to promote your book: either give the book away for free for 5 days or use Kindle Countdown Deals.

2. the book is included in the Kindle Unlimited program, which makes it free to KU subscribers and you get some payment for the borrows, though smaller than the actual price. Apparently the borrows do affect the book rank, but I haven't noticed this happening.

- the down side:

1. for the entire Select term, the book must be sold exclusively on Amazon.

2. unless you uncheck the option, the Select term gets extended to the next 3 months by default, and once a new term starts, there's no option to end it. I guess you could make the book available via other sellers and let Amazon know so they remove it from the Select program, but since I haven't tried it, I can't swear there aren't other less obvious penalties.

I published Broken People towards the end of November 2014. It was the first book in a new sci fi series, so I thought I could give Select a try.


Based on the premise that Kindle Countdown Deals needs too many marketing efforts and investments to make it successful, I chose the free days instead, which seemed easier. Since there are only 5 free days, I split them in two periods, 2 for Christmas and 3 at the end of January. Previous to the free days, I submitted the dates to a dozen of websites that post free Kindle books for free. During the free days, I constantly mentioned it on Twitter and posted in over 100 Facebook book related groups. The result was 800 free downloads the first time and 630 free downloads the second time. It did not affect the book rank, it brought zero sales, and it brought only a couple of reviews.

Kindle Unlimited:

It was a bust as far as I'm concerned. There were only a few borrows, way less than the number of sales.

At the end of the three-month period, I gave it a long thought, did the math, and decided not to continue with Select for this book.


I think Select works for stand alone novels or the first book in a series if you want to attract new readers. Don't let the high number of downloads fool you. Few of those who downloaded the book will actually read it, and even fewer will take the time to write a review. When it comes to reviews, I feel LibraryThing ebook giveaways are better suited for this purpose. BookLikes also offers this option, but I haven't tried it yet. Goodreads still doesn't. You can, however, ask all those people whom you gave the book for free in exchange of a fair review to download it during the free days so their reviews will appear as verified.

So I will enroll in Select my next book, which is the first book in a new fantasy series due to be released this spring, but only for 3 months. If nothing changes, I'll pull it out at the end of the term and set it free into the world like I did already.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Book Loving Valentine Multi-author Event

Hey, all! Ready for an extended Valentine weekend? Well, okay, I'm not really into Valentine's Day since this is an imported holiday in my country, but I know many people are so this weekend I'll be participating in a multi-author event on Facebook organized by Eyes on Books.

It will take place between February 13 - 15, and you can join it here. My time slot is on Sunday, 16 - 18 PM GMT. You're all invited to come and chat with me, and there will be some giveaways and nice surprises too.

Also, as a gift from me to you, The Impaler Legacy Omnibus will be discounted on Amazon to $2.99 (regular price $4.99). There's a nice love story in there, so hurry up and get it while you can.

Happy Valentine's Day!

The official description of the event is below:

My Book Loving Valentine –
Chat with Authors and Win Prizes in #Giveaways

What better way for a book lover to spend their Valentine’s weekend than with their favorite authors and the books they’ve written? 22 authors are taking part in Eyes on Books’ My Book Loving Valentine event on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/423499887808955/). On February 13, 14, and 15, you will have 13 hours of fun chats, games, contests, and new books to discover per day. 

The amazing authors you will hang out with, in order of appearance are: 

Day 1
Cheryl Headford, James Commissioner Gordon, Algenon Lusch, Karen Stivali, Layla Hagen, Teodora Kostova, Louise Lyons, Lily Velden

Day 2
Lisa Harris, Lily G. Blunt, Taylin Clavelli, Michael Thomas, Alina Popescu for Eyes on Books, Geoffrey Huda-Wakeling, J.T. Cheyanne, Author VL Moon, Lily Velden for Wayward Ink Publishing

Day 3
Algenon Lusch, Devika Fernando Author, LE Fitzpatrick, Ioana Visan, Aimee Brissay, Susan Mac Nicol, Kim Fielding, Alina Popescu

To make it even better, the Rafflecopter giveaways start early and end late! From now till end of day Tuesday (PST time), you have a chance to enter and win signed paperbacks, ebooks, swag and a lot of gift cards!

My Book Loving Valentine – Valentine’s Weekend Giveaway
~36 prizes~
(1) signed copy of a Michael P Thomas novel (winner's choice)
(1) ebook copy of either Conflicted (novel) or In Darkest Peru by Louise Lyons
(1) ebook copy of Tyrian's Mist, (1) of Love Life & Circumstance and (1) of Grand Slam from VL Moon and JT Cheyanne
(5) ebook copies of Broken People by Ioana Visan
(1) eBook of any Lily Velden title – winner’s choice
(2) $10 WIP gift cards
(1) Signed copy of Project X by Nephy Hart
(1) Ebook copy of Daring Adam (Taking Chances book 1) by Aimee Brissay
(10) Ebook copies of The Running Game by LE Fitzpatrick
(3) Taylin Clavelli Swag Pack inc 8 Gig USB Bullet, Hip Flask key ring, credit card mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen
(1) ebook copy by Karen Stivali – winner’s choice (excluding anthologies or collections)
(1) Signed copy Pilgrimage by Kim Fielding
(3) kindle copies of Withering Hope by Layla Hagen
(3) ebook copies of The Edge of Hope (Bad Blood 1) by Alina Popescu

Giveaway link:

My Book Loving Valentine – Book Buying Should Be Rewarded Giveaway
~16 prizes containing swag, signed books, and gift cards to buy more goodies~
(1) $20 Amazon gift card from Michel P. Thomas
(1) $10 Amazon gift card from Louise Lyons
(2) e-book sets of books 1 & 2 of the Crimson Nights Saga by VL Moon and JT Cheyanne
(1) Pack of any 2 Ioana Visan ebooks, winner’s choice
(1) ebook Kaleidoscope of Hopes by Devika Fernando
(1) Gift pack containing: novelty USB drive, pen, fridge magnet, bookmark, Dreamspinner gift card for any Lily Velden title (value $6.99)
(1) WIP Gift Pack containing: novelty USB drive, USB extension cord, 2 x pens, fridge magnet
(1) $5 Amazon Gift Card from Nephy Hart
(1) 1 ebook copy of Perfect Timing by Aimee Brissay
(1) Swag pack (including 2 signed books) from LE Fitzpatrick
(1) $10 Wayward Ink gift card
(1) Any backlist ebook OR a $5 Amazon gift card from Karen Stivali (anthologies excluded)
(1) Kim Fielding surprise swag
(3) kindle copies of Withering Hope by Layla Hagen
(1) $10 Amazon Gift Card from Alina Popescu

Books by these authors can be purchased from any reputable retailer – Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, WaywardInkPublishing.com, Dreamspinner Press, any other publisher of these authors.

List of authors to buy from to be eligible for this giveaway:

Louise Lyons

Giveaway link:

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Short Update

I'm quite pleased with the work I did in January. I finished two short stories for Romanian anthologies, despite two rounds of cold and the Euros being on. The short stories are both sci fi, around 15k words, and while they do include sex scenes, there's no actual love story, which is unusual for me. Oh, and one of them is a little gory too. The good news is one of the stories is a prequel to a space opera series that I've been planning to write for quite some time. The first step is done now, I just have to translate it sometime later this year, preferably when I'm not sick and drowning in tea. I must have drank more tea this month than in my entire life, and I don't even like tea!

Well, in other news, I survived the Euros without being exhausted as more colleagues were available to help with AS work. But several of my favorite skaters have retired, and I still have to find new ones to root for, so while there were a few good skates and nice surprises, the whole experience was rather meh. It was my second week of cold, and that might have contributed to my inability to enjoy it fully.

I did, however, manage to go through The Stolen Wings Prophecy #1 once more. I promise it's the last time I do it. It's the 6th draft for God's sake! The story won't get any better than this. To avoid temptation, I asked my editor to save me a spot in her schedule, so it looks like we'll have a book release this spring after all. It's an urban fantasy with a New Adult feel -- a lighter read compared to Broken People, despite the darker subject.

And, finally, I left the good news last. Starting with today, I'm working on book 2 in Broken People series. I have about 20 chapters plotted already, that's about half the book, and it's going to be good! Check out the word counter from the side bar to follow the progress. It will be updated weekly. The goal is to have the first draft ready in three months. *rubs hands* *The Nightingale Circus crew groans, packs their bags, and relocates on a different continent* Tee-hee! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 January Reading List

The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley – A bit too wordy, if you cut 25% of it, you’d still get a decent book, but the plot was solid. 4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan – The magic system was interesting, and the plot was ok, although I would have preferred more politics and less actual fighting, but the writing didn’t flow (and you’ll hardly ever hear me complain about such things) and while the characters were  well done, I failed to care about what happened to them. 3/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Soul Ink by J. C. Nelson – It reads better than the first book in the series and it’s even more fun. I’ll never look at cherubs the same way again. Shudder. 4/5 stars Amazon

Fairest by Marissa Meyer – Quite a sad read and borderline absurd as no society like that one could ever survive. 2/5 stars Amazon

A reminder of my rating system:
1 star - you won't find any so it doesn't matter
2 stars - waste of time or unfinished book or both
3 stars - you won't be sorry about reading it, but you can just as well live without it
4 stars - it brings something special into your life
5 stars - brilliant, damn near perfect