How Amazon Prime is now taking book sales away from indie authors. Seriously.

I kbook iconnow we are not supposed to speak badly of those who help feed us, but I want to tell you about the newest ‘benefit’ for Amazon Prime members–all 54 million of them in the U.S. Now those members can read free books–any or all–from a Thousand Book reading list for Prime Members.

This is separate from Kindle Unlimited’s all-you-can-read program of books enrolled in KDP Select where authors are paid by the number of pages read.

These are a Thousand Books selected by Amazon for Prime members only.  A closer look at this list reveals that over 80%+ of the works of fiction are published by Amazon imprints, like Thomas and Mercer.  And most of them appear to be Book 1 of a trilogy.

Very clever marketing by Amazon.  You get Book 1 for free and buy the next two. Book promoters like Bookbub, Read Cheaply and Free Booksy have been facilitating this type of marketing for years.  But it is not so good for us indies and traditional or small publishers and those book promoters. Even Bookbub, which is arguably the most important of the discount/bargain book promoters, does not have a list of 54 million would-be book buyers.

There are also non-fiction offerings in the Thousand Books, including Lonely Planet guides to practically every country on the planet, plus a lot of books about crafts. So if you were thinking about leaving your day job to live off your earnings as a fiction writer, maybe you should wait a little bit and see how this all plays out.

As for me…I abandoned writing fiction some time ago and two of my non-fiction guides, on the right, continue to sell.  The ‘How Seniors Travel for Fun and Profit’ is, in fact, a best seller and has been for over six weeks now. But I think this turn of events will seriously impact the writing future of many indie authors.


L.A. Ladies now available for pre-order on Kindle and Nook

Tooting my own horn here!  My new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies‘ is now ready for pre-ordering on Kindle. You can find it here and read more about Robin, a ghost-blogger who is re-starting her life after the death of her husband. (And–Yes!–a collie is a character in the novel.)

The paperback edition will published on February 18th, too.

This romance-mystery is available for pre-order at other online bookstores, including Nook and Kobo. Coming soon on iTunes and Scribd.

L.A. Ladies ebook cover

The ebook cover of ‘L.A. Ladies’. It is now available for pre-order of Kindle

Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! I love the new review of New Vampire Online, an untraditional tale of entrepreunerial vampires

new vampire online cover

Cover for the nontraditional vampire tale, New Vampire Online

Reviews–I love them!  I want them.  And I just got one for my new novel, New Vampire Online that really made my day.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“Annie Carroll’s ‘New Vampire Online’ is fresh, immediately addictive, unique and such a delight to read—it starkly contrasts most of the vampire-based fare that crawls out of the Kindle woodwork.”

And the reviewer finishes with this:

“Let me suffice it to say that if you like vampire novels that actually offer a fun reading experience without getting too bleak—something that succeeds in being a page turner without taking itself too seriously, then get lost in an afternoon (or a whole day) reading ‘New Vampire Online.’ Fans of the genre will not be disappointed.”

New Vampire Online, and its predecessor, New Vampire in Town, have been challenging to promote because both books are unlike the currently conventional vampire stuff.  For example, my vampires don’t spends their days in stinky old coffins.  Why do that when an electronically secured basement bedroom with a king-size bed and 500 count sheets are available!  They deal with real life experiences in today’s world:  replacing worn-out RV tires, old boyfriends who stir up trouble, reputations in the world on online vampires, appearances on daytime talk shows–to name just a few.

New Vampire in Town, a novella, is available for a mere pittance on Kindle: .99!!  (And if you read it or New Vampire Online, please leave a review!)

And, finally, New Vampire Online is available on iTunes and on Nook.

How my vampire novella reached No. 3 on Amazon by selling just one more book! It amazed me!

new vampire in town cover

New Vampire in Town, a novel of contemporary vampires. Sometimes funny!

This is a true story and it happened four days ago.  My humorous vampire novella had been vanishing into Amazon’s sub-sub-basement.  In fact, there hadn’t been one sale of it in about six weeks.  Since I was writing every day on the next book in the series, New Vampire Online, I didn’t care very much.  Well, I cared enough to look at my sales on Zon once a week.  That’s when I noticed one sale.  Then, out of curiosity, I searched using the keywords ‘humorous vampire mystery’ in the Kindle store and there it was.  ‘New Vampire in Town was listed as Number Three!!  OMG!  I can now advertise this novella as a “Best-Seller on Amazon”!!

After my initial excitement passed I realized what being Number 3 really meant:  that the Kindle category of ‘humorous vampire mysteries’ has very very few sales and probably very very few readers. Oh sigh.

In David Gaughran’s very helpful book about marketing, Let’s Get Visible, he recommends seeking out smaller categories, niche markets, for books.  Which is precisely what I had done.  But he goes on to suggest that after a book has rise to the top of that category and begins to fall in ranking, switch to another category.   Maybe I should do that.  Or maybe I’ll stick to my plan of putting all my marketing support into the launch of the new full-length vampire novel I’ve almost completed.  And maybe some readers of the new novel will also buy the previous one.  That’s supposedly how things work.

Anyway, New Vampire Online, a humorous tale where vampires are the good guys–most of the time–and the female vampire is sometimes funny, will be published in January, 2014.

When a 3 star book review made me stand up and shout hurray!

new vampire in town cover

New Vampire in Town, a novel of contemporary vampires. Sometimes funny!

I don’t check the listings of my books on Barnes and Noble’s Nook very often.  Most of my sales are on Kindle.   A week ago, however, I checked B&N and found the first review there for my vampire novella, New Vampire in Town.  It had 3 stars.

Oh no, I thought, she must have hated it.  Do I want to look at what she said?  Not sure.  Be brave, I said to myself.  Read it.  So I did and I could hug whoever wrote the review.  She gave it three stars because it was short.  (The writer in me says–it’s a novella.  Novellas are short.)  And then the reviewer wrote :  “I’d like to read more by this author”   Nicer words this author has never read!  So “Thank you” to whoever wrote the review.  And hang in there.  I am about half way through a full length novel based on the vampires, Cate and Conrad, and their efforts to live normal lives in this world.  Cate gets into a web enterprise  and, of course, that gorgeous vampire Jack the Surfer is still around causing problems in the new book.

Funny follow-up.  I checked B&N to get the link, below, and discovered that Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot is listed right beside New Vampire in Town.  I love it!

Here is where to find New Vampire in Town:

On Kindle, go here

On Barnes & Noble’s Nook, go here

On ITunes, go here

A ta-da! moment: New Vampire in Town has stayed near the top of the Humorous Vampire category

new vampire in town coverIn a previous post I lamented that I had neglected to seek out reviews for New Vampire in Town.  But something must be working.  Maybe it is all the tweets.  Maybe it is all the ads on my many websites.  Whatever it is, New Vampire in Town has been as high as #2 and as low as #4 in the humorous vampire category on Kindle since it was release May 30th.  (I still would like reviews, however!)

In the tweets I’ve begun to compare Cate to that madcap Lucille Ball.  Lucy was smart, but ditsy and that is a good way to describe Cate, too.  Both of them come up with funny, odd solutions to problems.

And as my thank you to all of you who have bought the book here is some more music mentioned in it.  Conrad’s grandmother was Cuban and here is the music he remembers from visiting her in Cuba: La Familia Valera Miranda  Well, at least that is what Conrad tells Cate.  The truth and Conrad are not close friends!

8 days into my book launch for New Vampire and I did it wrong again!

julia.smWhen I published my first novel in January, I just uploaded the book to Kindle and told a bunch of friends about it.  My lovely daughter-in-law also helped by telling her friends.  I sold a few copies of this very sexy novel set in San Francisco during the summer of ’69.  Since then I’ve learned that tossing a digital manuscript with digital cover out into the universe of digital books is like shedding one tear into the Pacific Ocean.  It vanishes.  This is the link to the first novel, now retitled, Playing for Julia.

So I set out to learn what I should have done.

In the past several months I read everything I could about e-publishing in several LinkedIn Groups, joined a wonderful, supportive indie writers’ group on Facebook (it’s closed to new members now), read Anne Allen’s informative blog, and read David Gaughran’s very informative new book, “Let’s Get Visible”.

Then I made up a launch-a-book list for my humorous novella, New Vampire in Town, and followed it.  But I messed up one aspect: reviews.  I thought I had to have already published the ebook before I could get reviews.  As it turns out, I should have solicited reviewers well before the launch date. So if, by any chance, you read New Vampire in Town, please write a review!

new vampire in town cover

For whatever it is worth, this humorous tale of contemporary lives of thoroughly modern vampires is selling quite well.  Yesterday it reached No. 2 on the Kindle list of humorous vampire books.  And the introductory price is effective through this weekend.

Oh, It’s also available on Nook and Kobo and will be in the iBookstore sometime in the next couple of weeks.