Friday, 30 November 2012

The Amazon KDP Honeymoon...Is it Over?

Looks like the honeymoon with Amazon is over.

A friend recently dropped me this small bombshell of a link to another writer's blog post:

As much as I love the ease and simplicity of the Kindle upload and KDP programs, I'm not blinded to the fact that Amazon is becoming Godzilla. And you don't get to grow that big without stomping on an awful lot of stuff along the way (whether you intend to, or not).

The upside of coming across this blogger's post was twofold: first, it reminded us that there's no such thing as a free lunch unless your host wants something out of you in return (and I've been guilty of eating a great deal of lotus lately); and secondly, that putting all of one's eggs in one basket is never a good idea. I can say that a certain air of complacency has probably crept in since we started to see some success with Kindle (actual sales, a clutch of reviews - even if one or two seem to be hilariously misguided) - all within the last few months, and due entirely to the KDP promotional tools. The fierce self-promotional zest has faded but that's been due to heavy client artwork commitments lately, as well as the act of writing and publishing three new books this year alone. Promotion should never come that far down the priority list, of course, but Amazon's KDP system has served to isolate us in a little self-contained world where free promo offers yield distribution, which leads to real sales and reviews - which again, help the promotional cycle to continue.

A change in our outlook and long-term investment has been needed for a while, it just took somebody else's observations to point the fact out to us.

As a result, I tried an experiment in uploading our new cyberpunk thriller, Malaria 9, to Smashwords, just to see how difficult it was to fulfill SW's rather hefty and off-putting formatting and style criteria. I downloaded the thing last summer, took one look at it and thought "Urgh! Later."

'Later' never happened, until now.

With a tiny bit of tweaking, the MS was ready and without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth, made live on the site. No ISBN was assigned (though I still do have a bunch of those, somewhere) - I could aim for the hip vote and say this was me keepin' it real and refusing to sell out to The Men at Apple and Sony (ISBNs are required for their retail and seemingly universal EPUB format), but it was also part of the experiment to see how far something that wasn't available on those platforms could be pushed. If it dies its death, then fine - I'll know better next time, and 'M-9' is still available on Kindle and selling copies on a regular basis. The 'Trinity Chronicles' books will be ISBN'd when they go live on SW later as they are still in effect the flagship titles for FWB, even if the third and final book in the trilogy is still a long way off (all those other pesky ideas kept getting in the way).

So the honeymoon with Amazon may be over, but it just means that we're becoming polygamous now. It'll probably be happier that way.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

More Thoughts on Amazon's KDP

The recent 'giveaway' of our latest Kindle publication, 'Malaria 9', threw up some interesting facts and figures. As well as shifting over 400 copies which got the book into the top 40 free listings in the UK and US territories, we also noticed a surprising number of copies getting shifted in Germany ( - which got us into the top 20 over there. Far better than we would ever have expected an English-language prose work to do, in fact. 'Dog Days' also did quite well in Italy (top 10 for its category?!) but that's light on words and heavy on pictures.

All of which makes me ponder now the possibility of a developing market in the European territories. For sure, we appreciate that some readers and Kindle users will grab anything that's free simply because it's free, but I'm unwilling to attribute this kind of habit to all of our foreign uptake to date. Our presence on the .de site has been completely neglected until now, to the point of even leaving all our books untagged as I felt it slightly arrogant to use English language tags on a German shopping site. Perhaps a few minutes with my Collins German dictionary might help change all of that.

Another interesting point to note was how the recent free promo has straightaway managed to raise a few actual sales - showing that Amazon's "Readers who liked this also liked..." and "Suggested/similar offerings" adverts do seem to help raise awareness of the existence of books that are otherwise not very well publicised. As an Amazon promotional tool, the Kindle Select free promo option is the best I've come across yet.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

'Malaria-9' Kindle Freebie Starts Thursday

As has now become traditional when we launch a new Kindle book, there'll be a five-day freebie promo for our latest release, the Cyberpunk/horror action piece 'Malaria 9'.

The e-book giveway starts Thursday 22nd November and runs 'til Monday 26th, inclusive.

US readers can get it here.

UK readers cab grab it here.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

'Malaria 9' - The Ten Week Wonder!

Well, my experiment to complete a full-length book in no more than 10 weeks for the Amazon Kindle shop succeeded - just! I finished the final edit and uploaded the thing yesterday, which made exactly 10 weeks to the day to conceive, write, and edit the text, as well as come up with a decent cover (to be exact: 3rd September - 17th November, with 6 hours to spare). Most of the donkey work was done during weekday teabreaks and lunch hours in the office - one of the benefits of having a small, easily portable netbook.

The book's now fully available for fans of the cyberpunk, horror and paranormal genres, right here.

The cover art also went through several complete transitions and these alternative illustrations are provided as extra illustrations in the text.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

'Angel' Delight

After shifting nearly 1,000 copies in the recent free Kindle giveaway, 'Angel of Vengeance' has scored a 5-star Amazon review!

Well, we're chuffed* with that, anyway. It's always great to see readers being entertained by our works...after all, that's the main reason why we do what we do.

*A peculiarly British word roughly equivalent to satisfied, pleased, etc.

Friday, 9 November 2012

'Dog Days' Finds a Fan Already

Only a week or two since its release, Chaz & Frang's first foray into children's books has picked up a jolly nice 4/5 star review on from a reader.

Here's the full review.

We were very unsure how a book intended for kids, and which relied heavily upon its interior illustrations, would fare on the Kindle platform. If this is anything to go by then we ought not to have worried unduly, although it has now got Chaz thinking about whether he should expand the text for future edition in order to embellish the story...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

'Dog Days' Are Here...and on Kindle

Fenriswulf Books have just released their first publication for younger readers - an illustrated piece that's been kicking around for a couple of years now. 'Dog Days' is a collaboration written by Chaz and with illustrations by Frang, and in outstanding proof that truth can be much stranger than fiction, Chaz actually dreamt the entire book one night. As a result, the book is rather whimsical, featuring the little-known dogs of the gods who gave their names to our days of the week.

The original illustrations by Frang were all produced in colour for what was to be a large format kids' board book, and if the Kindle edition does okay then the print version may well still appear in future.

The obligatory free promo has been running since the 31st October and closes at midnight (~ish) on November 4th, PST, so if you're very quick you might just be able to grab another freebie.

US Readers get it here
UK Readers can get it here

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Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners
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