Good Readahs are Ball Bustahs

Being a multi-tasker, a kinder term than ADD, I was watching the Red Sox tonight while Skyping some folks in China who are manufacturing/stealing one of my inventions (talk about that later) when a 2-Star Goodreads review for one of my books inspired me to compare Goodreads.com reviews to Amazon.com reviews. Seeking solace through numbers, versus an extra dry martini, I took a random sample of ten books and did a comparison. The results are presented below.

Title Author Amazon Goodreads
Great Gatsby Fitzgerald 4.1 3.7
Prisoner of Azkaban Rowling 4.8 4.4
Of Mice and Men Steinbeck 4.3 3.7
Interview with a Vampire Rice 4.3 3.8
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Twain 4.3 3.8
The Help Stockett 4.6 4.4
The Elements of Style Strunk 4.7 4.1
Lord of the Rings Tolkien 4.8 4.6
The Walking Man Forbucks 4.7 4
 Average 4.06 3.65

My conclusion is my 2-star is really a 2.2 star, which makes me feel about 10% better. Perfect. Now, back to the game, Red Sox 10, Twins 1, in the fifth. All is good in the world.

W4$

Too much FREE is bad.

I have tried the KDP Free Promotion a couple times. It has produced some interesting results. Most recently I did a 2-day giveaway of THE WALKING MAN. On Holy Thursday Jesus apparently intervened on my behalf and 8,000 free copies of THE WALKING MAN were downloaded making it the #2 “BestSeller” in the Free Humor category at Amazon.com. The following day, 2,600 free copies were downloaded, contributing to a grand total of 10,600 free downloads. In the two weeks following the promotion, 125 copies of THE WALKING MAN were sold at $0.99.

Frankly, I don’t know what to think of the whole experience, but I enjoyed watching the free downloads go viral. It made me feel like a real author for about five seconds.

Long-term, I am certain free ebooks are bad for authors. Assuming reading rates are constant and some free ebooks are actually read, free books have to hurt the sale of paid books. Thus, overall, my guess is they will decrease author income. This being said, free ebooks currently provide new authors with a chance to get some exposure which would otherwise be unavailable to them. I perhaps benefited from this free exposure, although, at this time, I am not sure.

Thus far, I have drawn one conclusion. I feel authors must petition Amazon.com to modify their free ebook policies, so they will not ultimately hurt the ebook market.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Limit Free Downloads.

Limit free downloads to 1,000 downloads per book. This would provide plenty of downloads for an author to get some feedback from readers and attract some follow-on sales.

2. Set a Mimimum eBook price

Set a $0.99 minimum price for an ebook and only allow 1,000 free downloads (See #1)

3. Reader Option to Pay

If reader enjoys a free ebook, give them the option to buy the book for $0.99. I’m sure many readers would be willing to pay $0.99 upon completing and liking a free ebook. I’m sure there must be an easy way to do this.

4. Increase Royalty Rate on $0.99 ebooks

Increase the royalty rate from 35% to 70% on $0.99 ebooks, especially if an author participates in the KDP program. Giving away 10,000 ebooks to sell 100 seems unfair to me. The Kindle platform benefits by the addition of a mountain of valuable content, while the author earns peanuts. I say big Amazon needs to stop starving its $0.99 authors.

In conclusion, because it is in their best interests, Amazon.com appears to be looking for ways to help self published authors attract new readers. I think this is great, but in the interest of all authors, I suggest Amazon.com set limits on their Free Promotions while increasing its royalty rates on $0.99 ebooks. For ultimately, I believe too much free is bad and KDP authors deserve enough income to buy pizza for five one every three months.

Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

Thanks,

W4$

How to write for bucks

I write, but I do not consider myself a writer. I have never dreamt of being a writer. In fact, as a young man I wanted to be a cartoonist. I was good but not great, so when that dream evaporated my main goal in life was to own a stereo and drink beer in the bleachers at Fenway Park – back when you could drink beer at Fenway Park. (The rumor persists that I poured a beer into a cop’s boot for bouncing a fellow fan. This is not true. It was my friend.)

Prior to becoming a self-pubber, I read a few books a year, mostly physics stuff because I have a hidden nerd thing going on that I’ll never understand. This nerd thing caused me to invent several items: a few sold very well which enabled me to barely make a living.  Eighteen months ago I read an article about self-pubbing and royalty rates offered by Amazon.com; I decided I had to get in on this action, thus Wright Forbucks was born.

I’ve been self-pubbing for 18 months now. I wrote my first book, Billy Grist, in four months. It totally sucked, but after I re-write it, it will be the best book I will ever write – for sure. It was inspired by the death of a dear friend on 9-11. My second book, Even Steven sucked too. But, I just rewrote it and now I think it is a masterpiece – if you’re a particle physicist with a sense of humor I think you will agree.

The Third Book I wrote is called The Walking Man. It is loosely based on my brief inability to walk courtesy of a rare and wimpy-ass disease I have called Myasthenia Gravis. The only thing I really have in common with the lead character in The Walking Man is MG did cause me to do a face plant in the bread aisle of a convenient mart, but it was a Cumberland Farms, not a 7-11. My response to paralysis was to laugh, which is basically my response to everything. Some people are reading The Walking Man and giving it 5-stars. Even better, some folks are buying it. It is currently generating enough income to feed a family of five a single taco twice a year.

Enough about me, time to get to my list. But first, in the interest of full disclosure, as you have probably already guessed, I am writing this baseless list to give the false impression that I am imparting wisdom when in fact I am simply shamelessly promoting the above mentioned books.

So here is my list…

HOW TO WRITE FOR BUCKS

#1: Dream the Wright Dream

You must have only one dream -> to get rich. Assuming you’ve had sex (with another person) several hundred times, this is the only dream left worth having. All other dreams are meaningless. Especially don’t dream about living forever. If you worry too much about exercise and a healthy diet you will not be able to write anything worth reading. My recommended author diet includes: Doritos, Mountain Dew and an occasional marshmallow Peep (season permitting.)

#2: Establish Idols

Joe Konrath is my idol. Why? The Mo-Fo made $100K in 3 weeks selling Kindle books. Joe is not a man. He is a God. The only comparable deity on earth is Billy Mitchell (the first man to get a perfect score on PacMan.)

#3:  Go into Massive Debt

The best way to force yourself to write daily, after you’ve convinced yourself that you’re going to be rich, is to go into massive debt. Needing money is the best inspiration for writing. Going into massive debt is the easiest step in the self-pub process, options include: divorce, drug habit, gambling, and misfortune. I suggest mixing it up; a little of each is good – all things in moderation.

#4:  Pay the Children

If your children start fighting when you are trying to write. Pay them off. When my kids start hitting each other instead of disciplining them I pay them to stop. Trust me. Nothing works better. All kids have stuff they want to buy. So when they get uppity, slap a five in their greasy little hands and tell em to browse Lego.com. Works every time, and it preserves your vocal cords.

#5:  Obsess

F outlines and all the other conventions real authors use. Instead think about your book obsessively. Write your story in your head and then blast it into a word doc. I didn’t know I was an author until I pre-paid for some gas and then drove away without filling my tank – because I was thinking about my stupid book!

#6: Establish a Viral Alert System.

It’s important to know when your ebook goes viral, so you can buy a gold-plated toilet and begin shopping for a better spouse. I recommend getting a bell and then writing a computer program that links your bell to kdp.amazon.com. Further, I advise all serious authors to quit your “real” jobs, so you’re not performing some demeaning task on the day when your bell chimes ten times per minute to signal that you have officially written for bucks.

W4$

More 5-Star Reviews for The Walking Man

What an awesome story! I found it tough to put down and wished it was longer when it was over. There were real feelings in this story about relationships, guilt, anger, sadness, acceptance, love and commitment. I’ll be watching for this author to continue with future books. 5-Stars Miss Trixie

I don’t always download a book promoted to me in a Twitter direct message, but the price was right, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll put it on my Kindle. I am so glad I did! It was a wonderfully written, witty, and poignant tale of a quadriplegic and his adjustment to life as well as his quest for a cure and for love. The characters are rich and colorful; the story well-paced. Although the novella does not take long to finish, you may be sad when it’s over–it’s that good. I highly recommend “The Walking Man” to others. 5-Stars CRubin

This is a quirky read and it draws you in. It could have been a pity party anywhere along the way but it’s not. There is a real depth of character, complete with warts and blemishes, that makes this a real treasure. There is often an attempt to brush over our flaws, to airbrush out the things in our life that make us seem immature or petty; not so in this story. From an outraged, self-centered teenage (and not without reason) who is incapable of seeing beyond himself to a grown man who comes to understand his place in a larger world, the ride is well worth it. Every now and again, the person you were meant to be, really wins. This story proves it and with humor to boot!

The subject material, in lesser hands, could have been really depressing but not in this story. The writing is on point with the characters with no extraneous tangents to distract you.

No obvious typos or formatting issues which is always a big plus. Do yourself a favor and grab this one. You’ll see what the rave reviews are all about. 5-Stars Reader4Life

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