Reading Amazon eBooks using a Web Browser


Good news! You can always read your books through Amazon Cloud reader irrespective of whether the book is purchased on Amazon.com or Amazon.com.au (or any other domain). This may surprise you, as it seems increasingly harder to find Cloud reader within the Amazon sites without knowing the direct URL. When I last purchased an eBook on Amazon.com.au I was presented with a handy button: Read now in Kindle Cloud Reader. I clicked it and huzzah – I was reading my new purchase within seconds, without having to download a pesky Kindle reader app onto my mac or mobile device.
Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 6.02.55 PM

 

The problem was, when I returned to Amazon.com.au several days later I could not find a way to open the book on Cloud reader. I navigated to Manage my content and devices and saw the eBook listed but when I attempted to “deliver” the book to my only device (the Cloud reader), it said the book was incompatible! I knew this was untrue due to my previous experience, so I emailed Amazon and got a prompt reply:

“I would also like to inform you that you can always read your books through our Cloud Reader service directly on web browser, there is no need to install the App. I would be providing you the link below to directly start reading the book from Cloud Reader, there is no need go to Amazon.com.au website or Amazon.com

To access Kindle Cloud Reader, visit https://read.amazon.com (Please remember this link, you can also bookmark it on your web browser, so that you can directly go to our Cloud reader services without going to Amazon website)”

So there you have it. No need for a Kindle or a Kindle device, just read your purchases online.

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Seeking Representation – Indie authors and agents (Part 1)


When I was almost ready to publish my first book, I did my due diligence and looked into my options. There was of course traditional publishing, through one of many Australian publishing agencies, or self-publishing, through a service such as CreateSpace or KDP (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing). I chose the latter based on a number of writer’s seminars I’d attended and the fact it was going to be a great deal easier than begging and pleading with publishers. I also wanted to see how my book faired on the market, getting direct and real feedback from readers rather than publishers (if lucky enough to even be assessed/read).

So now, after two self-published books, I feel I have a product and something people like and want to read. If I were a marketing guru and didn’t have a full time job, I’d probably choose now, the month before I finish the final book in the Ruthless trilogy, to ramp up my campaign and really try and sell these suckers. But, I’m not (a marketing guru nor choosing this course of action). Instead I am looking towards traditional publishing options again and this time I am investigating the value of writers’ agents.

Writers agents (or literary agents) represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers and film studios, and assists in the sale and deal negotiation. More importantly in submitting to publishers, they target the editors/publishers who are best suited to your work, and thereby more likely to a) not reject your submission, and b) have the mechanisms in place to publish it well.

Through my research, I found that despite many publishers now opening the door to unsolicited manuscript submissions, few submissions, via this route, are actually read. Publishers generally rely on writers’ agents to sort out the wheat from the chaff. They are much more likely to read a submission made via an agent than via an unsolicited manuscript harvest. I also found it can be somewhat harmful to have self-published a book when seeking a traditional publishing deal. This is because, publishers want numbers. They want to know a product is saleable before they invest in it. When you are unpublished, this is a gamble the publisher will take based on the quality and content/genre of the book, but if you are published, they will want sales! Unfortunately, sales are not always a good representation of a books saleability (sounds like an oxymoron I know). This is because sales rely on marketing and in a flooded market like eBooks and publishing, if you don’t have good, consistent and snappy marketing, you don’t have good, consistent and snappy sales.

This is an interesting article that talks about the value of agents and why you should avoid submitting to publishers directly: http://editorialass.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/why-you-should-never-submit-unagented.html 

In my next post, I will gather together some good articles on how to find and approach an agent. This is all new to me too so I’ll let you know what I’ve tried and whether I’ve had any success soon.

Update: Part 2 now available

My New Book Heartless


Heartless, the second book in the Ruthless Series is OUT NOW!

I’m loving the cover, created by my good friend Ben Roestenburg. We worked together to revamp the Ruthless cover as well so now they compliment each other beautifully.

Soulless, the third and final instalment is on it’s way. I’m thinking… mmm March (that means July 2015).

I’d appreciate your support, so please pick up a cheap copy of both Ruthless and Heartless on Amazon.com.

(Heartless is also available via Smashwords retailers in multiple formats. The story stands alone, so don’t hesitate to start from there 🙂 )

Amazon Books Esther Krogdahl

How to upload a Word document – CreateSpace


I am just about to push the big red button and release my new book Heartless (the second book in the Ruthless Series). But before I got to this exciting ‘button-pushing stage’, I had a little hiccup with my new CreateSpace project (for those of you who don’t know, CreateSpace is the print publishing arm of Amazon).

Unfortunately, cocky me, chose Expert setup, and that meant that I could only upload a PDF as my interior file. I use a Mac and PDF generation in Mac Word is not very nice, so my preference was to upload a Word document instead. Sadness and confusion ensued.

Never fear, if you too were overly confident in your ability to use the CreateSpace interface – I eventually found it can be reversed without having to delete the whole project.

Just do this:

  1. From your Member Dashboard, click on the title of your book
  2. Within the Setup section, locate the Looking for Help box on the left-hand side of the screen
  3. Click “Switch Now” and confirm this change by clicking “Continue

If you are looking for a way to thank me for this wonderful work-around, feel free to purchase a copy of my first book Ruthless (ebook or print). By the time you are finished, the sequel will be ready! 🙂

What is a Novella and should I write one?


What is a Novella?

A Novella is a short novel, usually between 20,000 and 50,000 words in length.

Should I write one?

Yes. Well in fact I already have. This post is really a personal reflection on why I and potentially other indie authors tend to deny that the products of their hard work are actually novellas and NOT novels.

I released my first book Ruthless in February 2014. The book is the first in a supernatural-action trilogy and it took me three long years to write (mainly because I didn’t do it very often).

It comes in at an underwhelming 48,888 words- including the dedication, acknowledgements, etc. When I gave it to friends to proof read, the faster readers of the group finished it in less than a day. Although that was extremely handy for me and my proofing process, it also felt like a kick in the guts –three years of writing, condensed into just a few hours of reading.

Being a brand spanking new author didn’t help. I felt like I had something to prove. I told people it was a novel, I marketed it as a novel and I defined it as a novel.

It is not a novel. It is a novella but now I realise that is a good thing!

There are some fantastic novellas out there and many of the classics you will know:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (166 pages): This novel about an ambitious scientist who conducts an unorthodox experiment and creates a “monster” is an early example of gothic horror writing during the Romantic period.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (55 pages): No one should miss Kafka’s tale of a man who wakes up one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a gigantic bug.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (180 pages):For those of you who haven’t read this book, get to it! It’s only 180 pages. This classic, referred to by some as “the Great American Novel” is about a man who lets his love obsession get the better of him, and it ultimately leads to his demise

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (128 pages): This novel focuses on a woman who is trying to reconcile her views on femininity and motherhood with those of the very conservative South. It does not have a happy ending.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (144 pages): This crime novel features Chandler’s famous character PI Philip Marlowe. An old man is being blackmailed and he wants Marlowe to make it stop.

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (160 pages): This classic science fiction novel about alien invasion is where so many bad book adaptations get their ideas. (Don’t watch the movies! Read this book instead!)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (160 pages): This novella is fairly different from the movie version (the male protagonist is gay…pretty big difference) and Capote’s prose is simply stunning, so even if you’ve seen the movie, this is still worth the read!

Animal Farm by George Orwell (140 pages): Orwell’s novella is an allegory for the Russian Revolution, and the hypocrisy of the newly-instilled leaders. Of course, it’s overtly political, and uses talking pigs, sheep, and horses to illustrate Orwell’s viewpoints.

If it’s good enough for old George, then it is good enough for me. I write short books that are action packed, easy to read and just as good as any novel.

Ruthless by Esther Krogdahl (288 pages): When career-driven Ruth lands a seemingly perfect job at GlobalCore- a chic yet mysterious global corporation, she prepares to dish out her cold and merciless brand of human resource management. But there is something different about this company. Ruth finds herself climbing the corporate ladder but this time as a matter of life or death. She must compete with angels wearing Armani as she struggles with her new eternal occupation that redefines “employee termination”.

I have almost finished the second in the Ruthless trilogy- Heartless, which will end up around the 45-50,000 mark also. This time, I’ll be marketing the book as a novella- loud and proud.

Green Indie Publishing


I love print books. I keep my favourites in an old antique bookcase in my lounge room. I have a sentimental attachment to them because they remind me of the time in my life when I read them. Their stories kept me turning the pages while I was cosy in bed or laying on a beach in Mexico or sitting in a cafe in the sun. I love books but I don’t have room to store every book I’ve ever read. Unfortunately, my “recycled” books end up gathering dust in a thrift store warehouse somewhere, never to be read again.

I decided to self-publish Ruthless in print and in eBook form for obvious reasons, but once I became the publisher and not just the reader, I began to think about the impact that decision would have on the environment (if I didn’t, my enviro sister would soon remind me). So I did some research about the impact of print books on the environment. There are lots of different articles, slants and stats on the subject but all that aside, print books = paper = trees= lack of trees= 😦

Createspace (the print publishing arm of Amazon) when questioned on the eco-friendliness of their business responded with the following, which I thought was kind of cool-

Environmental consciousness is important for the continued growth of our company. As a print on demand facility, we only print units as orders come in, which greatly reduces excess production. Additionally, we currently offer a 60# cream paper for black and white book interiors that is made from 30% post consumer waste recycled material. We also maintain a commitment torecycling waste materials that may result from the printing process. We continue to review our manufacturing practices on an ongoing basis to ensure we are doing our part to protect the environment (ref).

So I will be updating Ruthless to use the cream paper instead of white and the next instalment- Heartless will be printed on the same kind.

Also, I found this awesome website Eco-Libris that promotes planting a tree for every book you read (which basically costs $1 per plant). So as well as planting some trees, I’ve decided to reduce the cost of Ruthless in print by $3 so that readers who also love, love, love real books, can spare a dollar to plant a tree too. You can now grab a copy for just $10 USD! Then, when you are finished with it- lend it to a friend 🙂

green publishing

Discount eBook – Ruthless


If you are a sucker for a bargain, click on over to Amazon UK between Friday 13th June (evening) – Thursday 19th June 2014, to score Ruthless for only 99 pence instead of £3.00!

That is only $1.65 USD instead of $5.00 USD or $1.75 AUD instead of $5.40 AUD

C’mon, you know a bargain when you see one!

discount ebook Ruthlessdiscount ebook Amazon UK

 

Money on My Mind


I recently put together an infographic about how “successful” I am as an author (to date). The figures presented are underwhelming, which got me thinking- how else can I support this writing habit of mine? Below are a few ideas…

Affiliate Marketing

Loads of different online retailers do this but I have signed up with Amazon.com. If you decided to buy this copy of Ruthless- by following this link– I would make about 80c on top of my usual royalty. How it works is- you sign up for an account and fill out details about your web site (through which you would be selling items). Then IF you are accepted, you can search for products and generate your affiliate link which you add to your site and hope people will click and buy. I have made almost nothing in this endeavour, but if you feel charitable… click and buy me!
Enesco Hoots N’ Howlers by Lorrie Veasey Nerd Owl Mug, 16-Ounce
Mr Robot Remote Disc Shooting Robot
An Illustrated History of 151 Video Games: A detailed guide to the most important games; explores five decades of game evolution

Competitions

There are a bunch of writers competitions that you can enter and potentially win mula. Some example of competition that don’t have an entrance fee but that offer cash prizes are below:

Freelancer/Fiverr

If you have writing skills that killz then you could always sign yourself up as a freelancer or offer your services on Fiverr.com. Not exactly big bucks on offer but if you are disciplined and can manage a number of orders then it could add up and make a dent in your Gin bill.

Kick Starter

I am seriously considering creating a new project on Kick Starter to fund the second book in the Ruthless trilogy. After paying for all the coffee and breakfast I consume while writing, the book cover design and editing, I am out of pocket quite a bit. Since I have released Ruthless already, I’m hoping folks might see the potential and “back me” to complete the second. Kick starter is basically a way to get interest and donations from the public for any kind of project. You can offer “perks” such as first readings or signed copies etc as a way of enticing people, but ultimately the best method is to get people interested in your product.

https://www.kickstarter.com

Promotions – fire sale

Reducing the cost of your book or writing product in an effort to increase sales is not a bad idea -if done correctly. Speaking of which- I have a promotion on Amazon UK coming up on June 13th-19th 2014, when Ruthless will go down to 0.99p for the week. Bargain!

The Perfect Synopsis


I published Ruthless back in February 2014 and slowly I have been gathering readers and buyers online. One element of the book I have recently changed in order to improve interest and sales, is the synopsis. Using wattpad, I can see how many users are reading the synopsis and then deciding NOT to continue on with the story. Unfortunately, there have been many. So I went back and reviewed the “hook of the book” and found it was not nearly as catchy and gripping as it could be.

The synopsis is really as important, or perhaps even more so, than the book cover design. It needs to pull readers in- quickly! My synopsis for Ruthless was a little slow and only really got to the intriguing part after 2 paragraphs. I changed it up on wattpad first and then updated Amazon after I saw a significant increase in reads. This is what I ended up with:

Corporate life just became deadly. Succeed or seek salvation…

When career-driven Ruth lands a seemingly perfect job at GlobalCore- a chic yet mysterious global corporation, she prepares to dish out her cold and merciless brand of Human Resource Management. But there is something different about this company… Ruth soon finds herself climbing the corporate ladder but this time as a matter of life or death. She must compete with industrious angels, hell-bent on success, as she struggles with her new eternal occupation that redefines “employee termination”. Follow Ruth as she delivers damning employee evaluations to the most wicked souls that California has to offer. These aren’t the mild-mannered office workers Ruth is used to firing, these employees are rotten to the core, and they won’t be leaving without a fight.

So how does one write the perfect synopsis? First of all, I think keep it short and punchy. Originally, mine was quite long as I felt I needed some real content on the back of the book- not just a few lines. Not necessary. Have a look at some of the more popular author’s books. They are mostly covered with review quotes- not the synopsis.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to start with a teaser line at the top. I used Corporate life just became deadly. Succeed or seek salvation… This will serve to pull the reader in if it is something bold or mysterious and it may also help you when readers are searching for your book online. Often, search engines- whether they be built in to applications like wattpad or Amazon, will only return a snip it of a synopsis or book description. Usually, just the first line or two, so make you point in that first line. Make it interesting.

Don’t give too much away. In my case, I have planted twists and turns throughout Ruthless so it was hard not to give some of those away by describing events in the story. You want to offer a teaser of what is inside so people will actually want to read the book. If they feel like they have the whole story from reading the back, then they are going to just put it down and move on. It is a tricky balancing act but you also don’t want to be too abstract or ambiguous. Aim for something in the middle.

I am about to publish my second book and the sequel to Ruthless so I am beginning to write the synopsis for Heartless now. I’ll publish on my blog soon. I’d love to hear your comments.

99c eBook with Ruthless Goodness


Hey ya’ll my action packed, modern day fantasy novel Ruthless (eBook) has an Amazon Select promotion running as of May 1 which will see it decrease in price every day until it reaches 99c!  This is a perfect opportunity to purchase a few copies for a book club reading!

I’ll post my experience on how well the promotion worked for sales in a few weeks. The tricky part is spreading the word. 99c! That is a bargain!