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Burgling the DragonJust a quick note to let you know that Burgling the Dragon is now live on Amazon for immediate download!  You can also borrow the title for free if you're enrolled in Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime (and I strongly encourage borrows --- they're great for both writers and readers).  You've also still got a few hours left to win a free paperback copy, so go spread the word!

Here are some early reviews:

"...A delightful, well-written book that even though written for young people (per the author) can be enjoyed by all ages.  It is a magical tale of trust and loyalty and what it means to be family." --- Sharon McConathy

"Wish this book had been around when I was a kid.  I can't wait till I see him to read it to my great grandson.  The story is unique, full of surprises, and consistently entertaining.  Books such as this one created in me a love of reading which has never left.  Highly addictive." --- Errol Hess

Your buys and borrows (and reviews!) during launch week make a huge difference in the life of a book, so thanks in advance for all your help!  And I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.

Posted Mon Sep 22 17:31:58 2014 Tags:

Despite the Gentleman's RichesComing soon...

Despite the Gentleman's Riches --- A Sweet Billionaire Romance

This book started out with a story my husband brought home from the grocery store and has turned into a tribute to his favorite saying: "Sex, food, and money make or break a relationship."  If you were intrigued by Lena's brother in Flight of the Billionaire's Sister, now's your chance to follow along as Jack finds his perfect mate.

This warmly sensual romance ends with a happily ever after and is on sale during the preorder period for only 99 cents!  I've set the launch date to December 19 because Amazon gets very, very cranky if you don't meet your preorder deadline, and I didn't want to have to stress about it.  But my unofficial goal is to have the finished ebook in readers' hands by Halloween (or mid-November at the latest).  I hope you'll consider checking it out!

Posted Sat Sep 20 12:39:05 2014 Tags:

Burgling the DragonLots of excitement has been going on behind the scenes while Aimee plugs away at her upcoming billionaire romance (title, cover and preview page to be announced soon). 

In addition to
the news Aimee mentioned in her last post, Burgling the Dragon will soon be available on paper, and one lucky reader will be taking home a signed copy! 

Use the widget below to enter, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted Mon Sep 15 12:02:50 2014 Tags:
Aimee A new cover

New coverThree tidbits of fun news this week.  First, the short story collection I put out last winter has a new cover.  Isn't it pretty?  I think this image by Nizhava1956 has just the right tinge of everyday magic to bring the stories inside alive.

And, to celebrate, I've made the ebook free today!  So go download your copy and enjoy.

While you're over on Amazon, now's a great time to buy or borrow your copy of Flight of the Billionaire's Sister, which is out of the preorder period and ready to read.  I hope you enjoy what one reviewer called "strong intelligent young female characters."

And now that Lena has told her story, she's finally letting me get back to the meat of the sequel novel.  The keyboards are clacking here and I expect to have a rough draft done next month.  Yay!  Thanks for all of your encouragement, which keeps me writing.

Posted Mon Sep 15 11:19:11 2014 Tags:

Burgling the Dragon"So," my father asked me when I sent him my last manuscript to look over, "whatever happened to all of those novels you wrote back before you started putting books up on Amazon?"

What happened to them?  They migrated from computer to computer as I upgraded my workspace, and are currently sitting on my hard drive.  One of Shiftless's reviewers wrote something along the lines of, "This is awfully good for a first novel," but what they didn't realize is that Shiftless is approximately my sixth finished novel, not my first.

After a few more pokes from my father, I looked back at the previous stories I'd written and saw that, yes, many of them were terrible.  However, the fourth novel was actually quite fun (especially since I'd written the book so long ago that I didn't recall what was going to happen next as I reread).  Start with two strong heroines, both of whom are deeply flawed (of course) but who grow over the course of their adventures.  Add in an accidental curse, a reluctant knight, and a lot of mud, and you've got a swords-and-sorcery fantastical adventure that will appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

I polished Burgling the Dragon until the writing meets my current standards (then sent it off to the copy editor to clean up anything I missed), and the book is now available for preorder on Amazon!  I'll tell you up front that there is no love story involved --- I considered adding one in, but decided to stick to the middle-readers (with adult appeal) age bracket of the novel as originally written.  So, if you feel like a book is empty without a bit of sparkin', you might want to give this one a miss.

If I haven't scared you away yet, now's your chance to snap up Burgling the Dragon at the preorder price of 99 cents!  Once the book goes live, I plan to raise the price tag, so best splurge a buck now while it's cheap.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll enjoy meeting Nat and Thorn!

Posted Tue Sep 2 19:43:43 2014 Tags:

Flight of the Billionaire's SisterI know I promised my loyal fans a sequel to Shiftless this summer if they were kind enough to write reviews.  And you were very kind!  So where's the sequel?

Well, Trouble turned out to live up to her name.  I was getting bogged down in my second werewolf novel when my husband came home from the grocery store with a story that just itched to be turned into a billionaire romance.  (Crazy subgenre name, I know.)  And then, as I wrote the beginning of the billionaire romance, one of the secondary characters asked for a short story of her own.  She was adamant.  I couldn't turn her down.

Flight of the Billionaire's Sister is a short (roughly twenty book-pages) jaunt in the life of a teenager who finds Swiss boarding school less enticing than she'd thought.  There are mean girls, sweet boys, and an uplifting young-adult/chick-lit-style journey.  If you're intrigued, you can preorder the story now for 99 cents, you can wait until September 12 when the book will be available for free borrowing if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, or you can email me now for a free copy.  That's right --- I'll send a free pdf copy to the first five readers who contact me and promise to get the story read in time to write a review on Amazon on launch day.

In the meantime, I have another exciting announcement coming up in a month or so.  Amazon helped me team up with a very excellent narrator who is currently turning Shiftless into an audio book.  She has already finished the first chapter and it's outstanding so far.  Stay tuned for more details!

Posted Fri Aug 29 14:40:58 2014 Tags:
Kindle Unlimited

When Kindle Unlimited was unveiled a month ago, indie authors were all abuzz.  Some authors thought KU was the end of life as we knew it, while other authors thought that KU was going to make them a mint of cash.  Who was right?

Borrow estimate

Hypothesis 1: Amazon will let the amount of income per borrow decline now that they're paying authors for a lot more borrows as a result of the Kindle Unlimited program.  Specifically, I crunched some numbers at the beginning of August and figured that, if my borrows make up a similar proportion of the overall pool in July as in June, authors would be bringing in $1.03 per borrow in July rather than about $2 per borrow in June.

Conclusion 1: This would have been the case had Amazon not drastically increased the fund they allot to paying authors whose books are borrowed.  They first brought the pool up to $2 million when announcing Kindle Unlimited in July, then retroactively increasing the pool by another $785,000 this month.  The upshot is that authors who weren't afraid to leave their books in the lending library did see a slight decline in income per borrow (down to $1.80), but they also saw overall income increases due to the much larger than usual number of borrows.  For example, Wetknee books were borrowed 400 times in July, an increase of 236%.

Kindle Unlimited sales

Hypothesis 2: Borrows will parasitize paid sales, so even if borrow income is high as a result of Kindle Unlimited, overall author earnings will stay steady or decline.

Conclusion 2: The number of Wetknee Books sold (as opposed to borrowed) declined by 13% between June and July.  However, with the increased borrow income, overall revenue increased by 20%.  This increase in revenue is due partially to our low book prices, though, which means that borrows actually pay out more money than sales for most of our titles.  I'd be curious to hear from other authors with higher-priced books to see if their overall income increased, declined, or stayed the same as a result of Kindle Unlimited.

Caveats: Amazon released a statement today saying that they reported and paid authors based on number of borrowed books opened in July, rather than number of borrowed books read to 10%.  So, the results when Amazon sticks to their actual rules may be quite different for August than they were during this initial month.  In addition, who's to say how many readers will pay for their subscription to continue now that the free trial period is over?

Overall, I suspect that participating in KDP will continue to be in an author's best interest now that Kindle Unlimited has been unveiled, despite the requirement of remaining exclusive to Amazon.  Yes, 35% of ebooks are currently sold on platforms other than Amazon, but KDP authors continue to get enough perks that increased Amazon sales make up for that lost revenue.  And participating in the KU library appears to be a perk, not a bug, perhaps enough to make me reenroll books in the program that I had taken out due to lack of impact from free book promotions.

Posted Thu Aug 14 22:41:48 2014 Tags:

The Chocolate Touch by FlorandI subscribed to the free trial of Kindle Unlimited this month, and as I result I got to enjoy a lot of books I would have otherwise been forced to pay for.  Here are my top picks from the 600,000 books currently available for "free" reads as part of that program.

A slew of books by Laura Florand
--- I'm not going to list them all, but Florand has five titles enrolled in KU (plus one that's perma-free) and all are excellent.  Gourmet chocolate, French culture, and true romance make each of these books a pure delight.

A slew of books by Bev Pettersen --- I've glowed about this author's horse-related romantic suspense before, so I'll just add that seven of her books are enrolled in KU and I enjoyed all of them. 

Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale --- This book is supposedly a regency romance, but it feels much deeper than average (while still being a fun, engrossing read).  The hedgehog is a perfect touch.

It's in His Kiss by Katie and Bria Quinn --- This is a funny and delightful short story that will hit the spot for all readers who spend too much time with their nose in a book and too little time in the real world.

The Governess Affair by Courney Milan --- This regency romance is perma-free but, unfortunately, the sequels have to be paid for.

Lord and Lady Spy by Shannon Galen --- This fun romp reads like Gallagher Girls for grownups (if they went back in time two hundred years).

Finding Infinity by Susan Kiernan-Lewis --- This piece of chick-lit is all about how hard it is for an outsider to move into a small town, with a side of romance and cupcakes.

So what do I think of KU three weeks later?  From a writer's perspective, I suspect my income will initially go up (although I also suspect that authors will get paid around $1 per borrow instead of the previous $2 per borrow --- more on that in about a week once sales data is available).  However, as a reader, I find it too hard to hunt down quality books using the program, so I'll be canceling my subscription before the free trial ends.  Having read all of the enrolled books by indie authors I've loved in the past, it's time to go back to the free lists to hunt more authors who can feed my voracious appetite.

Posted Sun Aug 10 23:24:23 2014 Tags:

Hatchette vs. AmazonMany of you are probably blissfully ignorant of the drama that's been ripping through the literary world over the last few months.  If you have heard about the dispute, chances are you've read a story like this New York Times article that is strongly slanted toward the big publishing houses and best-selling authors.  Many readers make the assumption that what's good for Stephen King is good for all readers and writers...but that assumption is wrong.

The top 1% of writers are indeed aided by Hachette's practices to collude with retailers to force ebook prices to stay high.  However, the other 99% of authors who lack the clout to have their print books shown in supermarket aisles have been aware for years that we not only sell more books, we also make more money, if ebook prices are low.

From a publisher's standpoint, it makes sense to charge more for ebooks since that practice makes print books seem more valuable as well.  In our modern climate, the only real value a publisher brings to the table is to print books at a low cost and to distribute them widely --- every other service provided by publishers can be outsourced by authors at a flat fee rather than by giving away a cut of the royalties.  So, even though authors, Amazon, and even publishers make less money on digital sales when ebook prices are high, publishers are intent on maintaining those high prices to support their waning paper market and to protect the status quo.

Let's be fair --- Amazon is also looking out for their bottom line.  The huge online retailer wants ebook prices to be held below $9.99 because Anazon makes more money that way.  But the truth is that the reader also spends less money when ebook prices are lower and 99% of authors also make more money.  Only the publisher loses out by becoming less essential as the middleman between these two core groups.

The reason I'm writing this post is because a few big-name authors have banded together to put up $104,000 to buy an ad in the New York Times.  Predictably, the mainstream press is also parroting the point of view of the top 1%.  Meanwhile, the other side of the argument hasn't been represented in the media. 

Amazon has put together a succinct and thoughtful analysis of the situation here and is asking readers and writers to email Hatchette to state our disapproval.  And now I'm asking you to join in the email surge.  Because, in this case, what's good for Amazon is good for readers and for 99% of writers, so we need to make our stance known.  Perhaps if so many emails hit Hatchette's inbox that their server crashes, that news might be reported by the mainstream press?

Posted Sat Aug 9 12:05:57 2014 Tags:
KDP pricing support

Indie authors will be interested in Amazon's new feature, KDP Pricing Support, which helps authors choose the most lucrative price point for their ebook.  Amazon bases their recommendation on each book's category, customer reviews, ratings, past sales, best-seller rank and page count, using past data to estimate how many books you'd sell if you raised or lowered your book's price.  They don't seem to factor in delivery costs, though, so if your books are picture-heavy like mine, you'll need to do a bit of extra math to see if Amazon's suggestions hold water.

To see what Amazon thinks the best price for your book would be, go into your Bookshelf on KDP, click on "Edit rights, royalty, and pricing," then click "view service" under the Step 8 KDP Pricing Support (Beta) section.  You'll get a graph like the one shown at the top of this post, with Amazon's estimate for your earnings and the number of books sold at various price points.

In the past, my strategy with ebooks has been to price very low so that more readers can access my books, driving the titles up the best-seller lists and garnering lots of new readers.  So it's no surprise that Amazon thinks I should charge more, figuring that the increase in revenue per book will overcome the lower number of books sold.

Although I'm a bit dubious, I tentatively chose to take their advice for our most popular titles, raising the price of every book significantly.  I'll be keeping a close eye on my sales, though, and will lower prices as necessary if I feel like I'm losing momentum (or getting bad reviews) by pricing books at a higher point.  I'll also try to remember to post an update in a month or so analyzing how the higher prices affected ebook sales and revenue so you know whether to follow suit.  Feel free to chime in with a comment if you've also tried Amazon's new feature and loved it or hated it.

Posted Fri Aug 1 19:31:19 2014 Tags:

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