Tag Archives: Amazon

Thoughts on Publishing – Author Central and Kindle Keywords

While at ConQuest last weekend, one of the panels I attended focused largely on ‘Navigating the Amazon.’ One of the points the panelists made is that sometimes the best way to make Amazon work for you is by not focusing too much on how to make Amazon work. Essentially– don’t get caught up in the minute details of using the algorithm to push books to the top or mass produce downloads. The algorithm changes constantly, and really, if we spend our time writing the next book, that will help us increase our sales– since we can’t sell something we don’t have. That being said, there were a couple important Amazon tips that the panel offered: the use of Author Central and a note about Kindle keywords.

First– Author Central. It’s a handy tool Amazon uses to collect all the work of one author into one spot. You’ll need to set this up yourself, but it’s ridiculously easy. The landing site can be found here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ You log in using the Amazon account you have, confirm your email address,  then fill in the extra information about yourself as desired. I added an author photo and bio, and connected my twitter feed and WordPress blog. For the blog, it asks for an RSS feed. I copied my WordPress blog address and added /feed at the end of the URL, and it appears to be working. I then added my books, which was as simple as typing in my name and clicking on the button that said ‘this is my book.’ I was even able to add 1000 Words, which is under my maiden name. Both books are now connected to my author page, which means that anyone who likes one story can easily find the others. It’s a really great way to make it easy for potential readers to find your books. No hassle.

The panelists pointed out that the nice thing about Author Central is that once you set it up, you can pretty much leave it alone. The caveat is that you may need to add each new book to your page when you release the book, but it’s super easy to do, and takes hardly any time at all. And since you can connect the author page to your blog and twitter, it’s really easy to drive readers to your other sites.

I hadn’t realized Author Central would be this easy to set up, but I’m glad I heard about it. Plus, it looks kind of cool seeing the page with all your info. Makes it feel more ‘official.’ When I signed up, Amazon said the page could take up to a week to go live, but the page was up within a few minutes for me. Not bad.

If you want to see an example of an author page, you can see mine here: http://www.amazon.com/author/stephanieflint Or you can look up your favorite authors and see if they have a clickable name under their book title. If so, they might have an author’s page. 🙂

As a side note, Author Central offers you the option of creating a short URL for your author page. You only get to choose the URL once, so you might not want to rush, but I went ahead and selected my name since I don’t plan to use a pen name or nickname. (See above for example link).

Now, I’m not sure how pen names would work, but I’ve heard there are ways to separate pen names in Author Central. Might be worth looking into if you plan to use more than one name.

Author Central not only organizes your information for readers, but also provides information to you as the author, in regards to how and where their print books are selling, sales rank, author rank, and recent reviews. You do have to set up your author page separately for each of the different countries available, if you want the page available in more than one area. I’ve created the page for the UK, but I haven’t tried the other ones. Not sure I want to accept the terms of service without at least skimming the contract, and while I can recognize a few words in French, I don’t even no where to begin on the other languages.

As for keywords, the panelists brought up something else I hadn’t paid attention to. In regards to uploading a Kindle ebook via KDP (Kindle Direct), you have the option of including seven keywords. I knew that, but here’s the kicker. You have the option to include seven keywords… including phrases. Since Ashes, my YA sci-fi romance, hasn’t really recieved much interest through Kindle, I decided to swap out the single keywords with mostly phrases. Each relate to the book, but since my main keywords were already included in a phrase, I tried out a few combinations I wouldn’t have tried before. It may not do anything helpful, but it’s worth a shot.

Which is the other important thing the panelists said. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If it doesn’t work, well… try something different.

And that’s what I plan to do. Hopefully this post was helpful, and please let me know if you want to see more of this kind of information. 🙂

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Ashes – Short Story Now Available on Kindle

“Ashes,” my prequel short story to “Socks” (1000 Words project) is now available on Kindle. I’ve been meaning to upload it for some time, but never did. Until now! So, not only can you find it on Smashwords, you can also find it on Amazon for 99 cents. 🙂

A 7,500-word young adult, post-apocalyptic romance: When rebels attack the city, two teens race to save the last existing library before it is destroyed.

Find “Ashes” on Amazon

Find “Ashes” on Smashwords

 

SBibb - Ashes Cover - Blog

An Excerpt:

The sky is darker than I remember, and a shape forms above me, blurry. “Matthew?” I ask. My head smarts. I cough, tasting acrid smoke, and my fingers touch a sticky warmness on my forehead. There’s a cut there; I don’t remember why. The gray metal of a helicopter glints in the fire from the building a block away. The warning system is playing repeatedly, but for the life of me, I can’t tell what it says. A firm hand grips mine and then it’s Cory who yanks me to my feet, not Matthew. “Come on!” he says. “We’ve got to get inside.”

What else is there to do? He half drags me into the lobby of a restaurant. Traces of fresh pancakes and hot maple syrup and pungent coffee smells mix with the ashy gunpowder odor from outside. The place is astonishingly empty for the morning hour. We navigate past upturned chairs and coffee stains, broken mugs lying forgotten on the floor.

Then we’re in the kitchen, where thick ceramic tiles block out the sounds of chaos. Cory grabs the handle of the bunker and twists it, praying for it to turn. He pulls me to him, holding me tight as another explosion rattles the foundation. My head against his chest; his heart beat competes with the explosions like a drum.

“You okay, Serena?” he asks.

I’m not sure. “What happened?” I can’t seem to remember why Cory is here. All I know is that I trust him more than Matthew, and there’s a sickness in the pit of my stomach at the thought of the other.”

 

“Socks” is available on Smashwords for free

Enjoy. 🙂

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1000 Words: Name change on Smashwords

So it turns out you can’t have two pen names linked to a single Smashwords account. The result is that I’d either have to create a second account for Stephanie Flint, or change all the covers and copyright info on the previous books. Seeing as how I wanted to keep “SBibb” for the account link, I decided to change the covers.

Overall, it might’ve taken a couple hours. Luckily, most of the covers had layering where I was able to just change my last name with a couple modifications, and Photoshop CS6 (loving the new save function) is helpful with doing some easy adjustments. Afterwards, I adjusted all the front matter and bio info on the stories themselves (again, yay for having everything in nearly one place).

I also added tags to each short story that included “SBibb, Stephanie Bibb, Stephanie Flint” to make it easier to find. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to having your websites and books and such found, so I also included a note about the name change in the long description. I didn’t put it in the short description since I’d rather reserve that space for info about the story itself.

I also linked the “Where to find this book in print” to the1000 Wordsanthology (print edition) on Amazon. Since I don’t want to change the inner covers of the ebook version on Smashwords, I’m unpublishing it there. Kindle allows me (as far as I understand) to keep the older editions of the book the same, while putting my new name on any new books I publish. Therefore, I decided that will not change.

However, one thing I did try to do was make it easier for people to find my work, whether they look it up under Stephanie Bibb or under Stephanie Flint. I imagine it’ll take a little while for my stuff to show up on search engines under the new name, but this way, it should be linked. Also, when I did the book covers, I was careful to make sure the font didn’t change when I switched out the names. That way the quality of the cover remained the same.

Then I went through and made sure that all the edits were in place, and finally changed my profile name on Smashwords itself. I also uploaded my profile picture, taken by my wonderful husband, Isaac. 🙂

Here’s the response I got from Smashwords about the name change, in case anyone else needs to know it:

You have two options:

1. Open a new account for the new name.  I wouldn’t recommend this because the books won’t be linked either with us or with the retailers.  It’s also a pain to manage two accounts.

2. Here’s a link to the FAQ’s section on changing the author name:

https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#Updating

Scroll down a bit until you see the section “I’ve decided to change my Pen Name.  How to I change it without de-listing my book at retailers?”

Some additional recommendations:  A.  You should change your profile to the new name, and then update your front matter for all the books so it reads “Copyright New Name 2012” Originally written and published under the maiden name, Old Name

… this will help our vetting team and our retailers understand why the name on the cover doesn’t match the name in the metadata.

B.  Also, update the tags, bio and long description so both names are mentioned.  This will help make all the books more discoverable if someone’s searching on the old or new name.

So hopefully this is helpful. Meantime, I’ll see if everything transferred over smoothly. If it did, then maybe the premium distribution will start working again soon. 🙂

 

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Updated Website and “1000 Words” Paperback Edition

Last night I uploaded the updated version of my website, http://www.sbibbphoto.com . Now it is split into two sections, Portrait and Event Photography, for the more traditional side of things, and Photographic Illustration and Book Cover Design for my illustrative work. Luckily it only took a couple days to really tweak and update it, but as I’m looking at it, I wonder if my blog and DeviantArt account may be better suited to showing off my work. They’re both easy to update, and you can see the pictures at a much larger size.

Which brings up the question, how large of a size do potential clients want to see images? I already know that I need to update the background for the portrait section of the website, (and tweak the splash page), but I wonder if it might be better to redo the style entirely. My fiance brought up a good point; it’d be a good idea to show both my stronger traditional portraits, as well as my illustrative ones. I know it’s going to take a while to get my book cover design business going. So even though my professors generally say, “Show what you want to sell,” perhaps it’d be a good idea to show both for the time being.

At least until the book cover design business takes off.

And if nothing else, the website works as a good hub for connecting all the different sites I frequent together.

Meanwhile, on the topic of “1000 Words,” I’ve gone into Createspace to set up pricing, and came in for a bit of a sticker shock. Keep in mind, I can order these books for myself for about $6.00. I planned on adding a couple dollars for personal royalties, thus putting it around $8.00. Still kind of pricy, but not necessarilly horrible for a full color book. But with the way the royalties are set up, the minimum I can sell it for is $9.80-something, and that’s not counting royalties on Amazon. My only guess is that it might be for shipping? If I want to make $2.00 off each book on Amazon, I’d be selling it for near $12.00.

Personally, if I was considering buying a paperback for myself, I’m not sure that’d be worth it, for any book that size.

So now I’m trying to decide if I should actually try selling it in paperback version. I suspect that once shipping costs are added in, I wouldn’t do much better trying to sell it myself (unless I was selling it by hand). I probably will upload a paperback version, so it’s there, but I’ll definitly recommend going for the ebook version, if all you want is the stories. (Now if you want your own, personal, handheld copy with all its cool formatting, by all means, go for the paperback version).

But it looks like I won’t be able to sell the paperbacks for under $10.00, like I’d originally planned. Either way, I plan to release it this Friday.

It does bring up one problem that self-publishers have trying to sell thier books, though. Being price-competitive has its complications.

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