Wednesday, December 30, 2015

yearly goals

Hi,

as you can see from my sidebar, I've reached my yearly goals. I wrote nearly 170K new words (that means 4 more fairy tales, several side projects and a novel) and translated 150K of those. I will be quite busy revising and publishing next year. :D

How did your year go? Did you set out with a goal in mind? Have you reached it? Share your experiences in the comments.

I wish you all a very successful 2016 (where the definition of success is up to you).
Happy New Year,
Cat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do you want to be part of this year's Indie Advent Calendar?

Hi,

I'm still looking for writers who'd like to participate in the Indie Author's Advent Calendar 2016. This is the third year I'm running this and we've got a lot of regular readers. So it's a great way to introduce your way of writing to an interested audience.

What I'll need from you:
- one speculative flash story or no more than 1000 words (which means Fantasy, SciFi, or any subgenre thereof -- the story doesn't have to be about Christmas)
- one bonus for list members (another story, a poem, a picture, a recipe)
- a short bio (3 sentences)
- an author photo (or avatar placeholder photo)
- a link (to your website, your preferred social media site, your eMail signup)

That's all. Send everything to me (remove the brackets around the @).
I'm looking forward to your stories, but you'll  have to be fast. The calendar is nearly full (you can contact me with the easy stuff first and send the rest later).

Enjoy the season, and if you're doing NaNo, keep up the good work.
Cat

Monday, November 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo

Hi,

I'm doing NaNo again this year, and look at my overal 2015 wordcount. I'm really, really pleased with it. It's nearly twice as much as I managed last year. Now, if I can stay on this level next year too, it'll be an extremely productive year.

Are you NaNoing too?
Cat

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tip for Indies

Hi,

I've been spending a good part of the last few weeks with paperworks, and I'm still not sure if I've got everything punched and filed away.

My tip for you is: do it immediately. If you leave your paperwork lying around, you're bound to lose it or forget about it. I should have known better (and I usually file bills and receipts as soon as I get them), but this year was chaotic. Hopefully I won't miss a bill when the time for my next tax statement comes.

Better be prepared.
Enjoy the lovely autumn days,
Cat

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

SEO for eBooks – have you ever thought about it?

Hi,

I bet you haven't (SEO = Search Engine Optimization).

So far, I connected the optimization of keywords for search engines only with websites. For books SEO seemed rather pointless. But recently I learned something new. Through a free course I took (see below), I understood that online bookshops are basically search engines! And all platforms where you can upload eBooks have a field for keywords.

On Amazon for example, you're allowed seven phrases. Yes, that's right. You're not restricted to single words, you can use whole phrases. Other platforms might only allow single words, but often more than seven.

The problem with optimizing keywords is to find suitable words and phrases. They need to have little competition, high sales potential and must be used often by potential customers. That's no really easy. A hint are keywords that are suggested by the online bookshop when you start typing in the search bar. All results have to be evaluated, which is only possible on Amazon at the moment (only search for keywords in the Kindle-Shop, the other areas are of no interest and skew the results). Therefore I usually use the keywords I find on Amazon for all other platforms.

First, you need to determine, how many results you've got in total. The fewer the better. If you get more than 1000, the competition is too high. However, a keyword with only a few results isn't always good. To evaluate the worth of a keyword, you'll need to look at the results' sales ranks. If all sales ranks of the first page's results are high, the keyword is little used (few sales = bad rank). Are all ranks of the first page results in the Top 100, demand is high but the chance to get your book onto the first or second page of the search relut for this keywords are low. Finally, you should also look at the sales point of the results. If all the books with a good sales rank are sold for little money, it means that the potential customers are not prepared to pay more for this kind of book (that's the case in a few Romance categories). You need to develop a gut feeling for good values, but reaserching keywords is fun too. Just don't get sucked into buying too many books to read. :D

A short example:
For my newly published German novel „Regen für Juma“ (Juma's Rain is coming in English soon too) I first tried the keyword „Steinzeit Afrika“ (Stone Age Africa). It had very few results. A closer look at the sales ranks showed that none of the eBooks had a rank at all. This made it very clear that no one really looked for this keyword. A search for „Götter Fantasy“ (gods fantasy) had a lot more hits, but the first 20 titles (Amazon displays 20 per search result page) had reasonable prices and sales I could reach. In addition, several of the results were exactly from the genre I wanted my book to be in (YA Fantasy). So, this keyword suited me fine.

A few additional tips:
A guy called Nick Stephenson offers free video training for this. it explains much better how to find good keywords. However, you'd need to leave your eMail-address with him, and he sends occasional marketing mails regarding his paid course. Since the information of his free offer already helped me, I'm currently trying his paid course. I'll keep you posted about it.

A tool that makes researchign keywords on Amazon easy is KindleSpy. It's reasonably priced and has a system, That shows you on a single glance with street light colors if a keyword is popular, has sales potential, and the amount of competition. It works for all Amazon-plattforms (like amazon.de, .com, .co.uk etc.).

Final remark:
With all SEO it is important to keep in mind that the keywords need to fit the book. If not, you'll lose readers who are disappointed that they didn't get what they searched for, or (worse) Amazon will close down the use of keywords (like they did with likes when those were abused).

And now, enjoy researching keywords. :D

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

For German readers

Hi,

if you've got a German Amazon account, I need your help. With my newest release (in German, the English version will follow in September) I'm participating in Amazon's German Storyteller Award. To get through the first round, I'll need as many downloads as I can get. So I set the introductory price at 99ct (Euro). If you've got a German Amazon account, please buy the book. Here are the details:


Ein Fantasy Liebesroman aus dem steinzeitlichen Afrika

Die Sonne brennt auf Juma hernieder, als sie ihre Familie zum größten Dorf des Stammes führt. Nichts und niemand soll sie daran hindern, Schülerin der Stammesführerin zu werden. Also ignoriert sie die Hitze. Am See wird alles besser sein. Doch die Felder, die jetzt eigentlich grünen sollten, liegen trocken vor ihr; die Erde ist rissig und spröde. Sogar der See, dessen Quellen endlos schienen, schwindet langsam.

Juma entdeckt, dass der Feuergott Mubuntu daran Schuld hat und dass die Regengöttin immer noch schläft. Doch nur Netinu, der Sohn der Stammesführerin glaubt ihr und scheint mehr Interesse daran zu haben, sie zu umwerben, als dem Stamm zu helfen. Dazu kommt, dass ihr magisches Talent sie dazu verdammt, Schülerin der Dorfzauberin zu werden. Es ist schwer, die Schadenfreude ihrer Rivalin zu verdrängen. Noch schwerer ist es, Netinu's Werbung abzuweisen, denn Jumas Herz hat sich längst entschieden. Um den Stamm und Netinu zu retten, versucht sie alles, um der Dorfzauberin zu helfen, die Regengöttin zu wecken. Vergeblich.

Während ihre Träume in Flammen aufgehen, bereitet sich Juma darauf vor, gegen den Feuergott zu kämpfen und die Göttin zu wecken – und vielleicht, um zu beweisen, dass sie die richtige Wahl für eine Nachfolgerin der Stammesführerin wäre.

Thank you for your support,
Cat

P.S.: If you can read German and post a review in the 4 weeks after buying this book, send me your receipt and I'll refund your money.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

summer sales

Hi all,

I know we're all struggling to sell our books, but summer is usually worse than other times. With everybody heading someplace for recreation, most people don't bother to look at books by unknown authors. The last few years I had no sales to speak of during the summer.

This year, I stumbled over a guy called Nick Stephenson and (reluctantly) signed up for his free video training. Since I already owned KindleSpy (a program I used to track rankings and sales of several books I'm using to compare to mine), I applied his advice to my fairy tale books a little more than a week ago. And believe it or not, I've already sold more books in that week then what I sold last summer in total.

I'm most definitely going to adjust the keywords of all my published stories (Sometimes I dream of having more time).

I wish you a wonderful summer,
Cat

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Still a little behind, but not too badly

Hi all,

I know I'm not on target at the moment with my yearly goals. However I set the summer holidays to 0 words of writing per day as a security buffer. During the summer holidays, I find it hard to make room for writing since the kids are home. Still, I should be able to squeeze in an hour or two per day to write at least a few words. We'll see if I'm going to be caught up by the end of the summer.

I wish you all a lovely summer,
Cat

Sunday, June 28, 2015

measurable success



Hi,

I know it's been a while but I've been extremely busy. As you can see from the (newly beautified) progress bars on the left, I have finished 2/3 of my translations and half of my new wordcount goals. That means I've got enough fairy tales written to publish half way through 2016 (of course they still need to be revised and proofread). Also, I've got two projects lined up (Scotland's Guardians II for the summer and Swordplay II for NaNoWriMo) that I'm really looking forward to. Plus, the audiobook of Scotland's Guardians is coming soon. The narration of the English version is done and just waiting for the German version. Here's the cover. Do you like it?



And finally, my sales numbers are thankfully picking up. Ever since I started writing a series, they've been improving.
May I reach another milestone by the end of the year.

How about you? How much did you get done in the first half of this year?
Let me know all about it,
Cat