23.10.11

Hope floats

I don't know what happened today. A small surge of... something. Like that day I left a copy of the novel at the English book store. On a whim. (And no, so far, nothing has come of it).

Today, I sent out 2 queries. After more than twelve months since I last attempted that little stunt, I tried again. Modestly, this time. There were just the two. But who knows. It only takes one.

Fingers crossed.

5.9.11

Have you tried "Book"?

As a recent convert to the iPad, this one cracked me up.
There's something about the fact that it's in Spanish, as well...

Enjoy!


15.8.11

August Austenesque Extravaganza: Welcome to In the Past Imperfect


First things first. A big thank you is owed to Meredith, the Organizer Extraordinaire of this most excellent Extravaganza, celebrating all things Austenesque. If you love Jane Austen, or even if you like Jane Austen a little and fancy finding out what crazy things the Grande Dame has inspired, Meredith's blog is the place to be.

There. Now the second thing. This little blog posting which you are about to enjoy is not just silly words on a page but also a portal to bigger and greater things, namely the chance to win one of a pretty long list of amazing books! It doesn't even have to be mine - you could even win a proper book by a proper author! (smirk) The only thing you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on this blog post. How easy is that?!

Which leads us right along to the third thing. The heart of the matter. The meat on the bones. The proof in the pudding, or whatever. A very brief introduction to Alina, Will and the rest of the gang from In the Past Imperfect.

Careful, they're a bit grumpy today.

***

Voice: Welcome everybody and thanks for joining us this morning. Why don’t you start off by briefly telling us who you play in this novel?
Alina: Hi, I’m Alina. I play Anne.
Will: Hi, I’m Will. I play the part of Captain Wentworth.
Margot: Hi, I’m Margot. I suppose you could say I play Anne’s sister Mary. Although Alina and I are actually very close and I’m nothing like Mary. And I live in Paris.
Alina: That’s true. Margot is the perfect sister.
Margot: Sorry?
Alina: Nothing. Carry on.
Rachel: I’m Rachel, from the great state of Texas. I’m Alina’s colleague and I play the part of Lady Russell. Except young and gorgeous. Obviously.
Voice: Obviously.
Nadya: I’m also a colleague of Alina’s. For the moment, anyway. But I’m not sure what part I’m meant to play here at all. I hardly have time for this sort of nonsense.
Alina: You’re Elizabeth.
Nadya: Who?
Alina: Never mind. I just want to go back for a moment, if I may, to the question of my identification with Anne. Of course, I can see similarities between us to some extent, but you have to understand that, unlike Anne, I’m a successful, professional business woman. I’m a lawyer, I have a very active life and certainly don’t let myself get pushed around.
Will: Except by Oliver.
Voice: Who’s Oliver?
Anne: Oliver is just Oliver. He’s my boss. And a brilliant legal mind, by the way. What I’m saying is that I’m independent, and I’ve chosen a certain path in life that makes me rather different to Anne or other women of her day.
Will: Sure, it makes you a bitch.
Alina: Will, for heaven's sake, we're on the air. Surely we can save our bickering for a more suitable time?
Lauren: Alina, Will, there's no need to get upset, really, we’re going to be famous!
Voice: And you are?
Lauren: I’m Lauren. It's just so lovely to meet you! I play Louisa Musgrove in the novel. And this is my sister, Harry.
Voice: Harry?
Harriet: Harry as in Harriet.
Voice: Let me guess. Harriet for Henrietta Musgrove? 
Harriet: Frightfully original, I know. But don’t blame me. I’m not the author.
Lauren: Oh, don’t mind her, she’s being a bit of a sourpuss today. But we’re all so thrilled to be here, we really are! Aren’t we Will?
Will: Absolutely. Thrilled.
Voice: Let’s focus on you for second, Will. How do you feel about playing the part of Captain Wentworth?
Will: Well, it’s a little daunting, obviously. His are big shoes to fill and I’m bound to disappoint some of the women out there who feel I haven’t done him justice. But at the end of the day, the Captain is just a man with a broken heart and that’s me to a tee, so really it wasn’t much of a stretch. But I’m certainly no match for his letter-writing skills.
Rachel: Now now, Will, don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m sure you must be good at something, no?
Will: Rachel, as always, a pleasure.
Voice: Right. Well. Isn’t there someone missing?
Margot: Chris, my boyfriend, he couldn’t make it today. He’s teaching.
Lauren: And Ben, poor thing, he’s so shy. He plays Benwick of course.
Voice: No, I was thinking more along the lines of… a villain?
Alina: You mean Nadya?
Will: Or Rachel?
Rachel: Do us all a favour and go back to Afghanistan, Will. No one likes a bitter old man.
Will: You think I’m the one who's bitter?
Lauren: Alina, please say something, they can’t be carrying on like this. Otherwise we’ll never get on the telly!
Alina: Will, Rachel, stop fighting. Lauren wants her 15 minutes of fame.
Voice: Uhm. Yes. Where was I? Right. A villain. I was thinking of Mr Elliott, perhaps?
Alina: Oh God. Elliott Jensen.
Will: Who’s Elliott Jensen?
Alina: He's – he was after your time.
Will: After my time? What do you mean after my time? Who is he?
Lauren: Oh, he’s quite a dish.
Harriet: That he certainly is.
Alina: I don’t want to talk about Elliott Jensen.
Voice: Ah, a sore spot, I see.
Will: Seriously. Who is this Elliott Jensen? Alina?
Rachel: Jealousy does not become you, Will.
Alina: Could we cut this interview short please? I think you have enough material already.
Voice: Well, that is –
Will: Alina? Talk to me.
Alina: Now, please.
Voice: Of course. Of course. Here we are then. To almost the entire cast and crew of In the Past Imperfect, minus the elusive Mr Jensen, thank you all so very much for sharing your thoughts with us today, we really do wish you all the best in your adventures going forward.
Lauren. Oh no, thank you.
Voice: Yes, well. Jolly good.

***

Thirty-something Alina is at the top of her game as an international litigator - until she loses a client, finds herself sobbing in a bathtub, gets sent off to France to stay with her younger sister Margot and comes face to face with the man whose heart she broke seven years ago. In the Past Imperfect, a re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion with a twist, is about the choices one woman must make for herself, the people she re-discovers in the process, and why true love isn't as easy as it looks.

In the Past Imperfect is available in paperback and as a Kindle e-book, from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk as well as other international sites, and directly from createspace. For a free extract, have a look at the facebook page.

I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and don't forget: Leave a comment for your chance to be a big Austenesque Giveaway winner!!!!

21.7.11

Austenesque Reviews: Authors, Bloggers, and Publishers in Austenesque E...

On these pages in a few weeks!

Austenesque Reviews: Authors, Bloggers, and Publishers in Austenesque E...: "Hello friends! Austenesque Extravaganza is less than two weeks away! I hope you all are as excited as I am! The authors, bloggers, and p..."

28.6.11

Day 115

I was supposed to stop after 100. I was also supposed to update this blog more often. But my urge to write has taken an extended vacation (that's a topic for another time, another place).

So anyway, here we are.  115 days. I didn't get to the 300 sales mark I was shooting for. Maybe I didn't publicize enough. Maybe I'm not a savvy marketeer. Maybe the book wasn't engaging.

But I did make it to 108. Which isn't half bad.

I had a long chat with Ozzie Chick a couple weeks ago about my motivations behind this book. Once upon a time, it was just about writing it. I was going to put pen to paper, give it a go, and stick it in a drawer. Honestly, I never thought I would actually finish it.

Then, I got caught up in the excitement of it all. I had visions of living the life of a writer. Of leaving the office behind and setting up shop at café tables with a Moleskine and a chewed-up pen.

But that, too, passed. Realism kicked in. And then I thought long and hard about what I wanted and realized what mattered the most was that people read it. Read something I had created. Something I had brought into being from nothing. Something that was just mine, that someone else could make theirs.

And it happened. 108 people took my story into their lives, even if only briefly.

I'm happy with that.

And now that these 100 days of Kindle publishing are over, my baby starts a new phase as a printed book.  It may not be everything I dreamed of, but it's pretty close.

The create-space e-store for In the Past Imperfect

19.5.11

Day 75

I finally got the digital proof back from Createspace for the interior of my book. My level of excitement is perhaps a bit disproportionate to the significance of the event, but "Shoot! It's starting to look like a REAL book!" The Kindle version just didn't seem to have the same impact.

Of course now the problem is that I need to proofread again. For some reason, I wasn't too fussed about the Kindle version still having the odd sly typo that managed to escape my attention (and that of the dozen friends that helped me proofread the first time around).

But a typo in the print version? On someone's shelf? Sitting there, immortal, for all to see like a shameful scarlet letter "T"? I'd be mortified.

Fortunately, I've once again managed to round up 4 more trusty friends (including one English professor) to lend a hand. Which just goes to show how many people you really need to make a book - and I don't mean the ones that take commission.

Isn't it beautiful?!

17.5.11

Anne R. Allen's Blog: Is the E-book the New Query?

The dream (fantasy?) of the self-published Kindle author.

Anne R. Allen's Blog: Is the E-book the New Query?: "If you’re like me, you’re getting a little bored with the indie vs. legacy publishing debate. People are talking a lot of crap on both “side..."

15.5.11

Day 71

After 71 days of publication, I decided to update the Kindle text of the novel. 

After I sent off a (very slightly) revised text for the print version, I wondered whether it was worth making changes to the text available on Kindle.  The changes amount to the correction of three typos spotted by diligent readers, and the deletion of a few song lyrics, for protection against over-zealous lawyers out there.

Obviously, I want the Kindle and the print versions to be identical.

But how complicated was the updating process going to be?

The answer: rather complicated.  But not overwhelmingly so.  Assuming I did it right.

The first step was to actually recall the changes I had made.  Thank goodness for doc comparison.  Then, following the rather over-simplified instructions from amazon, it was time to download, unzip, modify, rezip and upload the html.

I am not a tech whiz.  My guess is most writers aren't.  So my recommendation to you would be: make sure your text is perfect the first time!

My KDP homepage now tells my my "new" book is being published.  Fingers crossed I haven't accidentally screwed up the formatting, or deleted the entire text, or done something else terribly wrong.

You'll have to let me know.

8.5.11

Day 64

Day 64: The day when I start giving author interviews and feel incredibly sheepish.

You can read my first one here.

It is also the day I get a mention in a famous consulting firm's "Book Club" newsletter (and not even BM's!).  Apparently, ITPI is the perfect indulgent honeymoon beach read. I may be the only one to find that ironic.
I love capitalism as much as the next "muesli-chewing, sandal-wearing, bike-riding pedestrian". Mostly because the open marketplace reveals the many guilty pleasures that people publicly disdain but privately enjoy. To that end, this month's book club edition is devoted to "guilty reading pleasures". These are the books you might not leave out on your coffee table. They're the comics you might hide inside the GMAT study guide. They are the tabloid magazines you say you never buy and the airport thrillers you'd never pick up in front of a case team. It's the chick lit that is piled under your bed. Ultimately, guilty reading pleasures are a bit like eating a family-sized block of chocolate by yourself – it feels a bit sinful, but is nonetheless very enjoyable.
We caught Hot-Shot Female Consultant (my insert, obviously) in week 1 back from her honeymoon, which provided lots of time to fuel her love for trashy novels…
...

Anything else in the trashy genre that you'd recommend?
"In the Past Imperfect" by Isabelle Solal. I actually read it because the author is friends with Ozzie Chick (ok, the actual newsletter doesn't call her that).  It's about a high flying lawyer who loses a client, takes a leave of absence and spends six months in Paris with her sister where she re-meets an old love. The way she describes her life at work is very relatable to our lives at (insert name of firm); the challenge of trying to balance her personal life and her career aspirations, and not being able to ignore the blackberry!

5.5.11

Day 61

So it turns out trying to get lots of people to read a Kindle version of your book is actually quite hard. Especially when you're a nobody.  Reviewers won't look at it.  Book groups won't consider it.

And friends complain you can't sign it.

The "real book" still has its die-hard fans out there and, let's face it, I'm one of them.

So after much soul-searching, I have decided to go and self-publish in paper.  The service I used is CreateSpace, which is affiliated to amazon.  They try to sell themselves as being "free" for the author, but really that's only the case if you're some kind of expert graphic artist / layout person.  Which I am not.  These were the instructions for do-your-own interior:

  1. Make sure the dimensions of your document match your trim size (including bleed if applicable).
  2. Make sure all live elements are within the proper margins or safe zone.
  3. Export your file as a print-ready PDF. Be sure fonts are embedded.
  4. The maximum accepted file size for your book interior is 400 MB.
Sure.  Can we have that again in English, please?

I decided to cough up the minimum required cash, just for formatting.  I didn't get the copy-editing service, I didn't get the editorial service, I made my own cover.  I'm a little worried about what will come out when it's done... 

But it will look something like this.

30.4.11

Self promotion

Self publishing is all about self promotion.  Harass your friends to buy your book.  Harass your friends to write reviews.  Once you have no more friends, start harassing complete strangers.

Turns out, that's not just for self publishing.  Great article in the NY Times today about self-promotion by writers' past.  This tidbit regarding my countrymen made me particularly proud:

In “Lost Illusions,” Balzac observes that it was standard practice in Paris to bribe editors and critics with cash and lavish dinners to secure review space, while the city was plastered with loud posters advertising new releases. In 1887, Guy de Maupassant sent up a hot-air balloon over the Seine with the name of his latest short story, “Le Horla,” painted on its side. In 1884, Maurice Barrès hired men to wear sandwich boards promoting his literary review, Les Taches d’Encre. In 1932, Colette created her own line of cosmetics sold through a Paris store. (This first venture into literary name-licensing was, tragically, a flop).
A hot air balloon.  Of course!  Now why didn't I think of that?

22.4.11

ITPI now available on amazon.de!

For all European readers, you can now get In the Past Imperfect on amazon.de for the extremely reasonable price of €2.83!

Check it out right here.

18.4.11

Experience rules

Here's an interesting perspective on self-e-publishing from a veteran of the traditional publishing industry: Five Things I've Learned by E-Publishing.

I already broke the first rule (don't do the cover yourself).  Oops.

And, of course, the fifth one:
5.) Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Though this headline could also apply to the idea of self-publishing itself (and it is true, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean it’s your best option), I’m actually talking about checking your sales records on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  It’s going to be difficult not to wake up and immediately open the relevant sites to check on sales, and then to check them every fifteen seconds thereafter.
Just because you can figure out how many people have bought that week, that day, or even that hour, doesn’t mean you should.  It’s like how you occasionally have to give yourself a Twitter break, lest you realize you’ve done nothing all day but talk about squirrels in literature.  So remember to give yourself a break.  You (and your friends) will be happier if you do!

17.4.11

Day 43

And the winner is...

Congratulations newyorkaise! You will now be a character in my new book!  Oooh, there's so much for me to play with there, I'm really looking forward to it!

And thank you to everyone else who posted a review.  Please keep them coming, they really are very useful to me (especially when you're being honest - although please refrain from outright brutality).

Also, I suspect (but can't prove) that a higher number of reviews earns you spots on amazon searches.  Regardless of whether the review is a good one or not.

9.4.11

Day 35

Yesterday I got my first bad review.

First impressions: it hurt.  Not so much because it was bad (although a little bit because of that) but mostly because I agreed.  Ms Reviewer (a complete stranger) somehow spotted all the issues I struggled with over the 9 long months it took to bring the novel to life, all the flaws that appeared so glaringly to me, like clogged pores in a makeup mirror, and which I had almost managed to forget when my friends gave such a resounding cheer.

Ms Reviewer's main complaints: my pacing is off, the action rushes and slows with no apparent rhyme or reason.  And I use too much passive voice (despite my constant battle against it).  The one complaint I wasn't completely sure I agreed with was my apparent capital crime of "head-hopping".

Sorry?

Head-hopping, as I've just learned, is editor-speak for switching points of view.  And a huge no-no if you want to get published.  It doesn't even have to be extreme switching either.  If I may quote from Ms Reviewer:
I once had someone (a bestselling author no less) tell me I'd been "head hopping" because I wrote that the "throat constricted" on one of my characters, and he thought that my POV character would not have been able to observe this. For good or ill, people have become downright paranoid about head hopping.
Well.  I don't know what to say about that really, except I guess it means my publishing future is doomed.  At least now I know why.

After 24 hours the initial shock has died down, to leave room for something more positive.  Who hasn't had a bad review?  People whose books have never been read, that's who.

So my book is out there, for better or worse.  Maybe it wasn't ready.  Maybe there wasn't enough editing.  Maybe no amount of editing would have made it publishable anyway.  But at least it's being read.  Some people will like it.  Some won't.

And that's okay.

7.4.11

Day 33

While I procrastinate in blogger's-block, here's an interesting point of view on Kindle-reading.

Pamela Newton on Huffington Post: The Achilles Heel of the Kindle

Personally, I haven't annotated my books since high school.  What about you? Is that something you find valuable to your reading experience?

25.3.11

Day 20

Checking Amazon sales stats is a little bit like weighing yourself.

You know it won't make you happy; and it probably hasn't changed much since you checked five minutes ago.

But still you just can't help yourself.

Thank goodness for vacation and internet disconnection.

24.3.11

Day 19

Not even three weeks and I'm already exhausted.  Facebook posts, facebook page, twitter account, various "writers' groups", this blog... Trying to get my book out there is like a full-time job.

Which, I suppose, is why agents and publishers do still make a living.  It's also probably slightly less humiliating selling someone else than selling yourself.

So I need a break.  I have run out of ideas and inspiration.  I have run out of shameless chutzpah.  I have run out of the positive vibes needed when you realize sales have flat-lined and your Amazon rank has plummeted to below sea level.

So.... I'm going on vacation.  One week in Brazil full of NOT checking Amazon.  NOT tweeting.  NOT re-posting news items on Kindle and the advent of the e-book revolution.

One whole week of NOT being a failed writer, but instead focusing on being a failed beach bum.

Heaven.

19.3.11

Day 14

Today, I want to talk about pricing.

Pricing is, after marketing (or rather, before) one of the most complicated aspects of self-publishing as an e-book.

What price do I think is the right price?  What price will perfect strangers and potential readers think is the right price?

Here's how I went about it.  First, it makes sense to me that the price would be less than that of a paperback.  Now, I accept that others may feel differently, but to me a physical copy of the book has a higher customer value than an electronic copy.  So, using that logic, that gives us a ceiling of about $10.

But where's the floor?  There has been a trend of $0.99 e-books.  That's the same price as a song on i-tunes.  A song takes about 3 minutes to listen to.  I estimate my book will take at least 4 hours to read.  Never mind the 9+ months to write.  I just can't bear to price my baby at $0.99.

Now, Amazon's royalty structure comes in to play.  Amazon lets you choose between 35% and 70% royalties.  Seems like a no-brainer, right?  Except to get the 70%, your book has to be priced above $2.99.

Which now gives me a floor.  I have $7 to play with.  One price to pick.  It's like pin the tail on the donkey.

In the US, a grande latte from Starbucks costs $3.29.  So this is the kind of price many people are willing to pay "on a whim", and rather regularly.  Seems like a good as way as any to pick a book price.

So I picked $3.49.  A foamy whisker above the price of a latte.  I like it.  I feel good.

Until I realize that I did that all for nothing.

I think (but I cannot confirm) that In the Past Imperfect costs $3.49 in the US.  But I don't live in the US.  Nor do most of the people I know.  And outside the US, e-books cost basically whatever Amazon feels like making them cost.  Case in point: Switzerland.  Where the book costs a whopping (and random) $6.31.

And not just that, but for all sales outside the US, the applicable royalty rate is.... 35%.

Sigh.

17.3.11

Day 12

There are some interesting musings on the "real"-book vs e-book showdown by one of my favourite Paris bloggers here.

My take?  I love books.  I love the colour of them, the feel of them, the sound they make when you crack the spine, the dusty smell when you take an old favourite off the shelf, the weight in your hand, the warmth they bring to a bare wall.

But as a writer, I have to say the e-book opens up possibilities that my frustrated agent-less peers of generations past could hardly even imagine.

Two weeks ago I was just another name on the reject pile.

Today's stats?  52 sales, 3 customer reviews, several posts on the facebook page.  It's a small start, but it's a good one.

14.3.11

Day 9

I feel like I'm on a bit of a roll now.  Haven't really done anything marketing-wise since the last post (I've even stopped harrassing my facebook friends) and yet: tadda!

Current sales tally: 43!  I think in large part thanks to a darling friend who is very plugged into the literary world and who has reinvented herself as my unofficial agent.

I have also received some precious marketing advice from another friendly source, and so will soon be creating my little book's very own facebook page.

And there's going to be a competition as well.  That's right, a chance to win a PRIZE!

There's really no stopping me now...

Anyways, back to the competition.  Here's how it works:

1) You read the book (yes, that means purchase is, in theory, required - sorry)
2) You take a moment to decide what you think of it (hopefully nice things... but you can still play even if they aren't nice things, I promise)
3) You leave a review (see above for the nice/ not nice rule) - either on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Now comes the good bit.  If you leave your review before April 15, I will put your name in a box (or hat, or laundry basket, or cement mixer if there are a lot of you) and if you get chosen....

- DRUMROLL PLEASE -

- Oïe, I said DRUMROLL -


- That's better -

So anyhoo, if you get chosen, I will name one of the characters of my next book (coming to a Kindle near you some time in 2012) after YOU!

That's quite exciting, right?

I mean sure, it's not a new car, or a trip to the Maldives, or a gazillion dollars.  But it's a chance for posterity!  Immortality even!

Or something like that.

En tout cas it will be fun.

So get reviewing, folks!

12.3.11

Day 7

Almost one week. And my biggest problem is marketing.

How do you sell an e-book when no one has ever heard of you?  How do you sell an e-book when you don't have a publisher or agent helping you out?

Or, really, how do you sell an e-book?

Step 1: Facebook

I have 194 facebook friends (I purged last year - maybe that was a mistake).  I have posted about the book 9 times since it "came out".  I've managed to convince 7 people to re-post the link.  In technical market terms, my conversion rate is crap.

Step 2: Author page

Amazon told me to make an author page.  I made an author page.  Didn't quite know what to put on it.  Is the idea that people will buy and read the book because they like my picture?  Does anyone actually choose books based on author photo? (seriously, do they?)  Besides, in order to see my photo, they would first need to have found the book, a current impossibility (unless you're my facebook friend and therefore, I assume, remember what I look like).

Step 3: Shameless publicity

Mention my book in Amazon forums (fora?).  Mention my book in a cheeky Jane Austen list.  Create an entire blog devoted entirely to myself and my budding novelist career.

Groan.

So, let's take a look at the stats so far:
- Sales on US website: 22
- Sales on UK website: 4
- Reviews: 2
- Amazon sales rank: whatever

Desperately needed: a legendary marketing guru who can make me achieve my full potential and reach what I have now decided is my goal of 300 sales in 100 days... What do you think?  Are you the one for the job?

(Please pop a photo on your application please - heck, if I have to do it...)

8.3.11

Day 3

Today I succumbed to temptation and bought my own book.  I don't have a Kindle and can't purchase one since I live neither in the US nor in the UK, so I bought it through the Kindle app for iPod.

Which means I am now the proud owner of something that looks like this:



That's the first page of my book right there.  All yours.  For free.  Well, actually it's only about the first twenty words but that counts as a page in iPod-land.

And that brings me to what, so far, has been the most difficult part of promoting my e-baby.  It's not that my friends don't want to do something nice for me (and get a sneak peak into my twisted mind); but most of them have no idea that you don't actually need a Kindle to read a Kindle book.

In fact, until yesterday, neither did I.

Why does Amazon keep this so hush-hush, I wonder?  The only explanation would be that they are trying to encourage people to buy their device rather than use Steve Jobs' version.  But that explanation makes absolutely no business sense.

Surely Amazon makes far more money off sales of the e-books themselves than off sales of the Kindle? 

Let's take your average best-selling e-book at a price of $10.  Amazon makes at least $3 off that price (a bit more, actually, but we'll get into that another time).  At around $140 per Kindle, and a generously estimated margin of 40%, that means Amazon makes more money from the sale of 19 e-books than from the sale of 1 Kindle.

Now let's think how many e-books one Kindle owners is likely to buy.  Probably more than 19, right?  And now let's think of all the e-books non-Kindle owners are likely to buy (especially if they actually knew they could).  The numbers are stacking up now.

The device is not where the money is.  The money is in the content.  So please, people, spread the word.  And buy an e-book!

7.3.11

The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books: newyorker.com

The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books: newyorker.com

A little background reading.

Day 2

I'm at work today.  Meant to do work-related things.  I mostly manage, in between sneak peaks at my amazon page.

That damn stats counter is incomprehensible and plays with my nerves.  I went to bed on Day 1 around the 14,000 mark and twelve hours later I'm down in the depths of despair at 22,000.  Surely none of the books have been returned?  (I now suspect it has something to do with the time of day as by the evening, I'm back to 14,000 and change.)

Do the stats actually mean anything or are they simply intended to drive authors mad?  My self-worth is now encapsulated in that single number.  Like a junkie, I hit refresh repeatedly.  My mouse doth protest.

The afternoon brings me my second review.  Another friend who is far too kind.  I start thinking maybe someone should say they hate it just to make the whole thing a bit more realistic.

Then total happiness.  I've been linked on friends' facebook pages (Mr Zuckerberg, I love you) and two people (two!) I have never met say they will buy my novel.  One even proclaims an intention to introduce it to her bookclub.

I do a little dance in the office.  Then I panic when I consider the possibility that these new readers, these readers who owe me nothing, may hate it and trash it on amazon.

People, I have a perfect 5-star record to uphold.  Please.

It's the end of the day and I have sold 10 copies total.  That means 6 the first day and 4 the second day.  The downward spiral has begun.

Day 1

Last night, I whipped up a cover using my mac and an old holiday snap.  I debated whether or not I should give the manuscript a final proofread.  At 235 pages and given the hour, I went with not.  Then I clicked upload.

And that was - not quite it.  There was still the small matter of the price.  Which inevitably sparked a heated internal debate about value.  I lost.

There.  Now we wait.  Well, we go to bed first, and dream of hordes of adoring fans screaming our name like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert.

On Day 1, the book is on Amazon.  It has my name on it.  It has the title on it (hats off to the girl who came up with it during a random frenzy of creativity).  Absolutely nothing is happening.  The viral marketer in me screams "facebook" and I obey.  I receive several "likes".  I feel pretty giddy.  Then I realize I've sold two copies before lunch.  And it's not even my mother, since she doesn't have a Kindle or know what one is.

I am definitely on the fast track to success.

Next comes the clincher.  My first review.  No, it's not cheating since the person who wrote it helped with the proofreads all those months ago, so she has actually read it.  Whether she really thought it was worth the 5 stars is another matter.

By the end of the day I have sold six copies and checked twenty-five times.

What I haven't done is buy a copy of my own book.  Especially since I don't own a Kindle either.