Post 6: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

This will be my last post under this title since the publishing process is over. The last communication I had from KP was a nice email with images attached for three promotional pushes (for lack of a better word)  through Amazon. A friend had already sent me an image for a promo she received that included my book as an Amazon Sci-Fi recommendation. And I checked my UK sales page and found a review from a customer who purchased the book “based on the Amazon recommendation.” So that’s  further proof, though I will never see them myself since their algorithm will drop me from promos for a book I’ve already purchased.

From this point out my focus is on improving sales and my Amazon sales rank. I won’t have hard statistics until the end of March (maddening!). All I have to go by until then is my Author Rank, which “is based on the sales of all your books on Amazon.com and is updated hourly.” It’s fun to look at 100 times a day but doesn’t provide concrete information. Amazon lists 16 separate author rankings/categories (at least in my case). A ranking drills down in categories . . . so your rank compares you to, say, all books in Amazon and from those, all books classified as literature and fiction, and from those all books listed as action and adventure, etc. The more categories, the better your sales look (but it’s an illusion — lights and mirrors!).

The following is from my “Author Central” page for TRANSMUTED, as of the hour I wrote this. (I don’t understand the difference between “All Books” and “Books” either.):

All Books #9,722 > Books #9,708 > Literature & Fiction #3,443 > Action/Adventure #532
All Books #9,722 > Books #9,708 >  Sci-Fi & Fantasy #1,127 > Science Fiction #569
Kindle eBooks #5,295 > Literature & Fiction #2,608 > Action & Adventure #402
Kindle eBooks #5,295 > Sci-Fi & Fantasy #805 > Science Fiction #434

These are from my TRANSMUTED Sales Page. (Customers may see these as well.):

Paid in Kindle Store > #5,125 (I think this does not include free downloads, but I’m not sure.)
#79 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Sci-Fi & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
#87 in Books > Sci-Fi & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
#112 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Sci-Fi & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

I have no idea what it all means and, for once, the forums don’t really help. All I know for sure is if there was one further category called “Featuring a Pigeon,” TRANSMUTED would be a #1 best seller!

BREAKING NEWS: In about three days TRANSMUTED will be available in paperback as well as ebook. You heard it here first.

ALSO: 50+% done on the second book in the series (hard to stay focused when I’m watching my author ranking all day).

Later, guys.

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Post 5: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

amazonsalespage

Update:

  • Advance Status: I am not only a published author, I’m a professional author, having received my royalty advance. Woot! Woot! (You’ll never hear the end of this–they paid real money for my writing.)
  • Sales Rank: This represents free downloads as TRANSMUTED won’t be for sale until 1/31. On 1/20 my sales rank was #49,810. Today, as of an hour ago, it dropped to #80,795. Makes sense because anyone who earned a free copy has downloaded it by now if they’re going to.
  • Author Rank: At this date/time, also based on free downloads, it’s #76,419, up from #108,855 on 1/20 (calculated hourly). Author rank is a comparison of sales by all authors in a specific genre/category. This is where some authors benefit by placing their book in a weird category with a low number of publications: Lower number of competitors = higher rank. Doesn’t work for sci-fi fiction where all categories are well-populated. Will have to research the ballpark total authors in my genre–though the number changes hourly, it would still be interesting. I figure I’m close to the bottom at this point. But watch me soar! (she says hopefully).
  • Trade Paperback: My uploaded interior/cover was reviewed and accepted by CreateSpace and I’ve ordered a proof copy. Delivery date is 1/30. Should be available for sale within a week after the ebook release. Interestingly enough, at $14.95 (my estimated retail price), I won’t be making much (read any) money. I view this as a promotional item for book fairs, personal appearances (hey, one can dream), etc. Typing this reminds me I still have to order business cards and flyers. (If you’re in the Phoenix Metro area, check out Arizona Business Forms for your printing needs. Great prices! Amazing quality! Nice people!)
  • Reviews=2 (1/5★ and 1/4★): This surprised me because I didn’t think reviews could be posted during the pre-order period.

From this point, I’ll be tracking sales progress/statistics, marketing results, etc. Thanks for your feedback (although not here for some odd reason–oh well, you found me and that’s what counts). Bye for now.

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Post 4: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

small3d-book-transmutateWhoa! All of a sudden it’s happening. S-c-a-r-y . . . 

I received an email late yesterday advising that TRANSMUTED was posted on Amazon for pre-order. As far as I can tell, everyone who nominated the book on KindleScout also received an email and download code for their free copy. The theory is, those that receive a free copy will download, read, and leave their review when the book is available for purchase. Anyone reading this who received a free e-copy from Kindle Press, please, please, p-l-e-a-s-e, write a review.

TRANSMUTED on Amazon is available for pre-order now, and for purchase on 1/31/2017. KP set the initial purchase price at $3.49 (free for KindleUnlimited customers). As part of Amazon’s marketing campaign, they may offer the ebook periodically at a reduced price (or free) to build readership. They should let me know when they run a special promotion so I can push it on my social media accounts as well.

BTW my paranoia email to KP which I mentioned in Post 3 received a response from them within 48 hours–basically advising me to CHILL . . . but in a polite way. Also no advance yet, but they promise it will be there within 30 days of the date they received my financial documentation, which was 12/20. That gives them five days from today, except there’s been three holidays since 12/20 . . .  so I’m guessing sometime soon. Not that I’m anxious, just OMG: Show me the money! I can’t legitimately call myself a professional writer until I’m paid.

I set up the trade paperback version on Amazon CreateSpace (CS) last week, and sent  the specifications and back cover copy to THE COVER COLLECTION this morning. I should receive my finished print cover sometime this week. Assuming there’s no issues, once I upload that to CS I will order a proof (ARC: advance reader copy). Assuming there’s no issues with that ( or I’ll have to repeat the process) I’ll publish the print version to Amazon, and request to KP to link it to the ebook version.

I’m excited and scared. Don’t know how to feel about strangers (or worse, people I know) reading my book. And if I get a bad review, which is probably inevitable, I may have a serious breakdown.

TMI? Hope not–thanks for listening.

 

 

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Post 3: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

waitingJust a quick post to say nothing’s happened. I submitted the final-final manuscript on January 2 (wherein I accepted Kindle Press’ edits), and am floating in limbo land. I haven’t a remote idea how long the “production” process takes. It’s only been six business days since I submitted the final version . . . though it seems like months ago to this paranoid author. I keep reminding myself their offices were closed for ten days over the holidays and they probably have a bit of catching up to do. Shot Kindle Press a short inquiry today just to be reassured that they aren’t waiting for something more from me. So . . . okay, then . . . I’ll let you know when I know. Oh . . . also no advance deposited yet. But it makes sense they don’t pay you until the book is posted for pre-orders. Unlikely, but what if an author never responded to their inquiries after being selected for publication? As everyone always says about absolutely everything ever . . . it’s the waiting that kills you!

One thing I’m antsy about is the print version. Did I mention Kindle Press only purchased the ebook and audio rights–I retain the right to the print version. I’ve formatted that for upload and am in the process of ordering the appropriate cover since I now have book dimensions, the number of pages, book back info, etc. I want to publish the print version to coincide as closely as possible with the ebook. I’m using the Amazon Createspace tool, and the click-through steps are a little scary. I posted a short story to one of Amazon’s sites a while back, and as I recall, the last button said something like “Next” instead of “If you click here your story will be published whether you’re ready or not”–which would have been more helpful.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress. Thanks for following.

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Post 2: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

My last post was on 12/19. I told you I’d sent my final manuscript to KP on 12/16. Well, the very next day (Saturday!), I received an email from KP’s “Business Analyst” with instructions to start the “Amazon Publishing Payment Setup” on “Payee Central.” I replied to that email advising I had an LLC (limited liability company) and got a same-day response accepting the change. The whole process–filling out forms, emails back and forth, document exchanges, etc.–took three days. So far so good. (BTW, I had to complete forms to receive royalties from the US, UK, and Germany–thought that was interesting.)

Since the business department had informed me their offices would be closed for the holidays, 12/23 through 1/3, I didn’t expect to hear any further until the New Year, but on 12/30, I received KP’s edits to my manuscript:

  • Corrections to three typos
  • Changing straight quotes to smart quotes per the Kindle Press style guide
  • Changing the tight ellipses to wide ellipses per the Kindle Press style guide
  • Changing the apostrophes for possessive proper nouns ending in S and Z per CMoS 16, sections 7.15 and 7.16.

You be right–that’s it–three typos and some formatting changes. Plus I received kudos: The world-building is excellent, and all the various alien races, cultures, governments, and setting details are thoroughly developed and accessible. And they had kind words for my personal editor, Darren Todd, which he obviously deserves, and with whom I’d been working for several months prior to submitting the manuscript for consideration.

I’ve completed their edits, reread the manuscript for the (I’m sure) 100th time, and made a few minor changes of my own.  Will submit the final-final version first thing tomorrow.  I think once they receive it, and if everything is in order, they will release my advance. (But it probably won’t happen until after 1/3 earliest.)

The edit email never mentioned my book cover or the fact I had included the first chapter of book two in the series (their editing markups extended through that add-on), so I’m guessing that means KP doesn’t have problems with either.

Next time I post on this subject, I should be a professional, soon-to-be-published author. Ho-ly mo-ly! (What does that mean . . .”moly”? Gotta Google that. Also, note the “expanded” ellipsis, per KP Style Guide.)

 

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Post 1: Tracking Kindle Press Publishing Process

TRANSMUTED, book one of the Dark Landing series, was selected for publication by Kindle Press (KP) on December 1, 2016. The first three chapters of the manuscript appeared on the KindleScout (KS)  site for 30 days, during which “Scouters” could nominate the book for publication. Some believe being published by KP means you won a popularity contest because you have more friends, family, and followers, and thus more nominations than the other authors. That wasn’t the case for me. At the end of my campaign, I received only 445 page views (KS does not tell you the number of resulting nominations) and achieved “hot and trending” for only 42 hours during the entire 30-day period. Below is the final chart view from my stats page on KS.

1transmuted_campaign_stats

I can’t say for certain, but it appears you need at minimum 60 views a day to be “hot,” which would equal upwards of 1,800 views for the month. The top line of the chart represents the 60 views mark. The most I received in one day was 77, and I had 20 days with 10 or fewer views. There were submissions that remained hot throughout their campaign but were not selected for publication. I fell short of that by a ton—pretty pathetic.

My campaign ended 11/21, and I received an email from KP exactly ten days later announcing that TRANSMUTED had been selected for publication. I was excited for about 15 minutes before I realized how much work I had to do yet. They gave me thirty days to submit my final manuscript. I honestly did not expect to be selected, and there was a checklist of things to finish: write the dedication, acknowledgment, author note, final blurb, my bio, and edit the first chapter of book two, plus get a bank account for my Post-To-Print Publishers, LLC—through which I had planned to self-publish, and which I’m using for all book-related income/expenses (and hopefully, publishing projects with other authors). Worse, I still had changes coming from my editor, who was still working on the final read-through. Thankfully, he submitted his notes on 12/15, and I submitted the completed manuscript the next day. The day after that, I received an email with instructions for setting up my KP payee account to receive my advance ($1500) and any future royalties—more about that in the next post.

Status at 12/19: 1) Waiting for Kindle Press edits, and whether including the first chapter of the second book is allowed; 2) waiting to find out if my cover is acceptable or if they’re going to create something different; and, 3) couldn’t set up my payee account because I had a question re my LLC, so waiting for their response on that.

Use the comment section if you have questions about the process. I’ll gladly share if I know the answer.

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My Last Day to be Hot and Trending!

Oh, gosh (bashful smile), not me, guys (you’re too sweet)–my book, TRANSMUTED

small3d-book-transmutateSincere thanks to everyone who nominated TRANSMUTED for publication by Amazon’s traditional publishing subsidiary. I owe you, big time! ICYMI, this is the last day for nominations.

So, go here, do that. If you don’t have time to read the posted excerpt, that’s okay, you can nominate TRANSMUTED and read the post later. BTW, if I’m offered a contract, everyone who nominated the book will receive a FREE! ebook copy from Amazon when it’s published. As long as you have an Amazon account, there’s no sign-up required. Thank you … thank you … thank you! (And for those of you who nominated my manuscript during the first few days of the campaign–this is the LAST post you will see. You’re welcome!) Have a great Thanksgiving!

(There are nine hidden links in the above post. Just for fun, see if you can find them all!)

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