Friday, January 24, 2014




Are KDP Countdown promotions doing for authors what KDP free days used to do?
            There have been some super success stories, but these were in the early days of Countdown and were aided by Amazon. How one gets AZ to give their book a push when promoting is a mystery to me, and, I believe, to most of my fellow authors.
            My recent Countdown promotion for my suspense novel, She’s Not There, was a success in that it paid for the ads I used to promote it and resulted in a modest profit for my efforts. 
            Another author I know, had no success with her promotion at all, but she attributes it to the fact that she did the Countdown with very little lead-time and did not do a lot of promotion.
Suggestions for using Countdown;
1.     When planning for a Countdown promo, schedule it on a week you’ll have time to promote it.
2.     If you’re a Twitter user, schedule tweets every day of the promotion, announcing the daily discount price.
3.     Be sure to promote your sale on every social media site you use.
4.     It pays to plan a Countdown at least a month in advance.
5.     Authors are beginning to price their eBooks higher. As it becomes less advantageous to run a free promo, a bargain price is much more attractive to readers if your book is priced higher to begin with. This conflicts with recent trend that $2.99 is THE price for an eBook.

What it comes down to is this: you get out of a Countdown promotion what you put into it. Don’t expect to reap benefits without effort and planning.

Some sites I used to promote my Countdown:
Book Goodies
eReader News Today
eReader Café,
Bargain ebook Hunter
Kindle Book Review (this one now has a Countdown feature)

Since many paid ads only run one day, I promoted most heavily on day one, when the book was at $0.99.  My usual price for my books is $4.99.

Dear readers,

I’ve been in somewhat of a writing slump. It’s really not a block, because days I do get into it, I’m able to write! Maybe it’s the extremely cold weather we’ve been having here in Wisconsin. Reading is much more enjoyable than writing, especially on a couch with a fur throw and a warm cat!
Stay warm and safe,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014



I used to eagerly await each new release by Patricia Cornwell. But her most recent books all seem to follow the same formula: Marino drives Scarpetta crazy although she is very dependent on him, her niece becomes more like a comic book heroine with every novel, Scarpetta loves Benton but their marriage is always competing with his job. And worst,  in Dust, like the last , the entire story takes place (with the exception of the last chapter) within a twenty-four hour time period. And also as usual, the killer and the main plot are tied to Lucy and to one of the other main characters.  
The formula is getting old. When will Cornwell come up with fresh material?
Points for the new writer:
1.     Beware of repetition. Only authors with immense followings can get away with a hackneyed formula book after book. If you’re writing a series built on one character, keep it fresh. Cornwell’s  current ratings reflect an unhappy following. Give your audience what it wants!
2.     Cornwell’s claim to fame is in the technical, forensic details. However, many of her readers feel like these details are now being overdone. Your readers will be aware of your expertise. Don’t drown them in too much of a good thing whether it is too much forensic detail, historic background, or setting descriptions.
3.     Many of Dust’s readers complained about Cornwell’s use of flashback scenes in order to educate new readers about her characters. This may work for new readers, but is a total turnoff to her ardent followers. Crafting your series’ characters to satisfy both new and loyal readers is a difficult job. Don’t get lazy and employ long flashback scenes; it may lose you loyal fans.

Dear Readers,
I keep threatening to quit reading Cornwell. Like many of her fans, I so loved her earlier books that I continue reading her new releases, hoping she’ll return to her former writing style.
Her overuse of technical detail reminds me of a common compliant by Simon Cowell on American Idol regarding contestants’ song choice. “Your choice was self-indulgent.”  Often contestants would sing something they enjoyed, or their mother loved, rather than a song they knew would appeal to their fans and it ended up costing them votes.
As in music, a writer needs to satisfy his audience. Attempting to make sure your readers know the extent of your vast knowledge or extensive research is not the way to do it.
Hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Stay warm,