Tuesday, December 29, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 194 -- Random Stuff Week

Random Stuff Week -- 

37 Book Every Creative Person Should Be Reading

Every time I'm in a creative lull I read something to give me energy. So this list appealed to me from Book #1 (click above). 

I checked the list and I'd read a few of the books already, but there were a few I've been wanting to try so I gave #9 a shot. 

Ummm...let's put it this way: not for me. But it may be for you. 

Here's my Amazon Review. I typically DO NOT leave reviews for books unless I can give them a 4 or 5. I would've given this one a 2 star but I gave it a three because I don't like giving 1 or 2 stars. For those who like a lot of metaphors and poetic prose it may be for you. When it comes to books on writing or craft, I like my books accessible and practical. 


I don't like giving 1 or 2 star reviews on other author's books. I usually only review when I can give at least 4 or 5 stars and keep my negative comments to myself. I'm giving this three stars and under any other circumstances I wouldn't have left a review at all. But I'm writing this because I want to save someone from buying a book that won't appeal to them. Put simply (as no single sentence in this book was), this book is a reflective look at the writing process and largely meant for literary snobs. The writer almost says as much in her overt diss to commercial Writers in chapter 1. If you're looking for a Stephen King "On Writing" experience--THIS. IS. NOT. FOR. YOU.

If you're looking for a more conversational exploration of the day-to-day ins and outs and struggles involved the writing process and insights--THIS. IS. NOT. FOR. YOU.

I read a lot of books on the craft of writing, especially when I'm getting energized to write my next book. This book is as pretentious as they come. It does provide some insights (if not profound) but they are buried in purple prose and metaphors. The author suggests it should take two to five years to write a book. It would take me at least five years to take such simple observations about the writing life and convolute them to the point that they are barely discernible. From metaphors on inch worms, hummingbirds, starfish with broken rays, log cabins, Zulu warriors, sparrows, and cows, it felt more like a Discovery Channel-inspired dissertation than a book intended to enlighten inspiring writers on the writer's life.

If you like this kind of thing, and many do judging from the reviews, then go for it. As a writer of commercial fiction, it wasn't for me in more ways than one. It's probably the only book on writing that I will struggle to finish, if I finish at all.

The best thing about this book is it made me want to stop reading and go finish my friggin' book. Off I go to write...

As I go through the others on the list, I'll let you know how the are. Likewise, if you've read any you don't feel are worth the read -- Please Share!!

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon -- Day 193 - Random Stuff Week


Getting caught up on my life, the blog, and writing my next novella. Every day I try to get in at least 2,000 words. Actually, Scrivener sets my daily word count based on the book's total word count and my deadline. But I try to set reasonable expectations and deadlines. 2,000 seems to be my limit for writing prose that's coherent and usable. 

From Writer's Write, another gem. These are the words counts from some of the best...

Monday, December 28, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 192 -- Random Stuff Week

Random Stuff Week -- 8 Writing Tips from Kurt Vonnegut

After I finished watching the Kurt Vonnegut video there was a link to these writing tips. When I first started writing I had to reverse engineer these elements into my stories because I didn't really learn story writing through a formal education. I've been picking things up through a lot of reading over the years. But THIS...this sums up everything I'd tell writers if I were teaching a class. 

Awesome, right? 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 191 -- Random Stuff Week

RANDOM STUFF WEEK -- The Shape of Stories

So, I've decided to get completely off schedule and just post random stuff until I get caught up with my blogs. I'm starting with today's post. 

While scanning my timeline this morning, I ran across this video from Kurt Vonnegut. I've never read his work but after seeing this, I will one click one of his books and start something this week. Of courses he's one of the most lauded authors of our time, and of course I'd heard of him, but because so many literary snobs loved him, I assumed I wouldn't. 

I was wrong. 

This video is awesome. Love his sense of humor and I love how he simplifies story structure. Well worth your four minutes. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 190 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top Publishing Articles

Indie to Traditional: A Conversation with Kate Moratti

One author's experience in going from indie to traditional. Some interesting insights. 

Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Make Good Art

You'd think this would be common sense, but perhaps sometimes it needs to be stated...and restated. 

Want to Succeed in Self Publishing? Take the Emotion Out of the Equation

An excellent piece of advice. Leave the emotion on the pages of your book. Once it's written, it's business. Worth the read...and restatement. 

Ebook Sales Plateau while Print Books Hold the Place of Readers' Hearts

This article questions whether ebook sales have suffered because of high prices set by publishers. My answer to that: Uh...Duh! Of course. It's all part of the plan to keep print alive and their stronghold on the market. Is it right or wrong? I can't say. But it's definitely their business. 

Reject authors Constructively or Risk Alienating Them

Interesting article. I've gotten my share of rude rejections, mostly from literary agents. And I REMEMBER them. I'm sure a lot of authors do. Probably most. But most of the successful bestselling indie authors speak of rude rejections from publishers and agents. It's a shame to burn a bridge when you might one day in the future might like to cross it again. I hope the industry in general takes heed (they won't but we can always hope).

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 189 -- Funny Friday

Funny Friday to Fiction Friday

As promised, Fiction Fridays will return...and starting in January. Thanks to some of my fellow authors in Sisters In Crime, I will have some great authors to feature on Friday in the new year. 

Until then, I will be featuring funnies...Enjoy!! (These are cute...)

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 188 -- Craft Talk Thursday

Craft Talk Thursday -- 10 Tips to Writing Great Fiction

Is there a formula to writing great fiction? 

Yes and no. There are some story elements that make for great fiction (this is not new or news) and if you can execute them well within a great story, then you have a chance to write a great book. 

I found this video during my hunting for stuff on craft and I thought the advice was pretty solid. It's short and sweet so check out the whole thing.

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 187 -- What's New Wednesday - ilys

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a writing book came from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Write shitty first drafts.

They best way to finish a book...is to actually finish the book BEFORE you start with the editing. Just allow your mind to be creative. 

Today's tool was designed to allow you to do that. it's call ilys. 

It's the craziest writing tool I've ever seen and I'm not sure I could really do it but you might be able to so I'm sharing. 

How does it work? You can only see one letter at a time. You cannot edit until you reach your word count. 

Check out this video...

I'm going to try it for one chapter and let you know how it goes...

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon - Day 186 -- Ad Talk Tuesday

Playing catch up over the next few days now that the holidays are over, I'm on a break from work, AND I actually have started my 10th book so I don't feel guilty for blogging with no word count.

Today, I want to talk to you again about...

Box Sets 

If you ever get the opportunity, participate in one.

Not for the money, but it's more about the opportunity it offers to expose a larger audience to your work and possibly hit one of the bestseller lists (rare but it does happen).

I am part of a box set with 14 other authors, some bestselling authors, that will be released for Valentine's day. By leveraging economies of scale, of sorts, engaging 14 people in the marketing effort for one book, sharing ideas and advertising tactics, we are really able to accomplish much more together than we could on our own. I've been so excited about the process that I've signed up for a second. I'm lucky enough to be in a group in which everyone is participating to different degrees. But  I have to tell you, I really love this concept, not only for the opportunity to get greater exposure to a wider audience, but I'm really getting to see the business side and how bestselling authors become successful.

Here's a few lessons learned from the bestselling authors that you might apply to your own work.

1. Indie Writes (www.indiewrites.com)

I've never used them before but this service formats your books and posts them on all sites. If you're working on a collaborative indie effort with another author, they will also take care of splitting up the royalties and making payments. They work with a lot of indie authors (best selling ones at that). If you need to find a company to do your back office work, they are a good place to go.

2. Facebook Advertising

Authors are using Facebook advertising more than I ever really knew and it can be very successful. You really have to budget for these activities and plan or it can be a money drain. But if you tests different ads and find a formula that works, it can be very successful. You can use it to do everything from building your newsletter list to actually selling books. Author Mark Dawson offers great advice on how to do this. Check out his website and take heed.

3. Outside Advertising

More authors use sites like Kindle Nation Daily, Bookbub, etc., than I ever knew. It is a regular part of the marketing plan for many successful authors but, as always, you've got to kick out the cash. Being a bestselling author costs money. That is the lesson I've learned from this experience. It's starts with a great product, obviously. But it ends with an excellent marketing plan and having the cash to put behind it.

4. Blog tours and book blasts

There are so many blog tour companies out there. Many of them are SUPER inexpensive. With some of the cheaper services you run the risk of not having reliable sites but, for the price, it's crazy not to use them. I will offer a list of sites at some point in the future when I can pull all the information together.

5. Newsletters and Street Teams

Most of the bestselling authors have huge newsletter lists and street teams, a group of devoted readers who will provide early reviews of your books. Those early reviews (which you hope are good ones) will lead to better visibility in Amazon and other sites, as well as, bigger sales numbers. This is so critical. I knew these things were necessary...but I'd never really seen this machine in action as I have on this box set.

So, as you go about designing marketing plans for your books, these are things to keep in mind if you want to reach that bestseller status.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 185 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday -- Scott Nicholson

I remember Scott's name from when I first started self-publishing in 2009. He was one of the leaders of the pack back then, freely offering advice on how to succeed publishing. His story was much like mine--lots of rejections before finding success. The difference between us and so many authors who started publishing at that time but fell off the radar is that we didn't quit. I still haven't quit even though I think about it at least once day. 

He reminded me of myself because he was so free with information about self publishing and marketing at a time when people hoarded information as if that would somehow "protect" their success, and I think that has helped to increase his blessings. He has an inspirational story. Check it out. 

Scott Nicholson's Story

Monday, December 21, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 184 -- Anything Sunday

I'm SO behind on my blogs. 

I've had a hellish few weeks at the 9 to 5 with writing last minute proposal responses. Then trying to get some home repairs done, marketing the new box set, getting my house clean so I can focus on writing during the holidays without interruption, and just a host of other things going on--all at once. I'm a bit overwhelmed but I plan to catch up with my life over the next ten days. 

I'll be blogging two or three blogs a day until I catch up. So fret not. Some great information is coming. 

Stay tuned...

In the meantime, I've got some news about the J.J. McCall series. But I can't tell you because I'm only sharing with people on my newsletter list. If you want to hear the news...and it is pretty big...then you have to subscribe. Otherwise you won't find out until sometime next year. May or June, perhaps. :) 

The newsletter goes out next Monday so there's still time to sign up. Just click that blue tab on the left. 

I'm going to bed now but I'll be back tomorrow with more literary news and crap. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 183 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top 5 Publishing Links

Nurturing the Relationship between the Digital World and Print Publishing

Good article. Instead of pitting print vs digital...how can we make them work together. Check this out. 

How to Write Your First Book and Get it Published

If I wrote this article it would be pretty short. Sit your ass in a chair. Write. Do it every day until you're finished...but there's a little more to it. Check this out to find out what. 

Is Your Publishing Toolkit As Strong As it Can Be? 

You should know this stuff...but if you don't, here's a good place to read it. 

Is Amazon the Lion that Will Eat You? 

This is a must read. Not for the anti-Amazon part of it, but because it has really good suggestions for expanding in and beyond Amazon. I'm look at ways to do that myself in the coming year. I've got a few ideas. We'll see if they work. 

Self-Publishing Stars of 2015

A list of Publisher's Weekly self-published favorites. Just sit on that for a moment. The indie author industry has certainly evolved...

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 182 -- Friday Funny

Can you believe I'm almost half way done with this challenge?

I bet you thought I was going to quit, didn't you? Ha! That'll show you.

I'm no quitter.

However, I'm never doing this shit again. #ExcuseMyFrench

Here's your Friday funny...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 181 -- New Website!

 Craft Talk Thursday -- New Website


I love you guys to death, but I'm keeping it short today because I'm tired as tired can be!

I've gone through gone through what would take most people a week to do in two days because...well, I have absolutely no idea. You ever feel like you were preparing for something but you didn't know why or what it was? Well, that's what I felt like. Something just told me to get this stuff updated. I think it's mostly because I have a vacation coming up in another week and a half and I wanted all of this marketing stuff off my brain so that I could really sit down and write during my 10 days home. I'm trying to knock out at least one of these novellas so that next year can be the year of J.J.

So in two days time I've done the following:

  • Learned to set up a wordpress site using the premium templates, created the website graphics, setup the design and book covers, and set up a page to capture newsletter subscribers. 
    • Whyy? Because I realized this site was better meant to be just a blog. I kept trying to make it into a website and it just wasn't working. So, I've removed a lot of clutter and I will use this for blogging. 
  • Learned how to use ContactUS and MailChimp to set up contact/newsletter forms, autoresponders, etc. 
  • Learned how to set up Facebook Ads to draw people to my website (if you're on Facebook and see the ad be sure to click it. 
I'm thinking about giving a seminar to pay this experience forward. As behind as I think I am, there are so many authors who need to learn this stuff. When I think about what I didn't know at the beginning of my career, I cringe. Having all of this knowledge back then would've put me so much further ahead.

But you don't know until you know....

Later, gators! I'm going to bed. I'll be back tomorrow with a Friday Funny...and it's funny.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 180 -- Newsletters Part Deux

What's New Wednesday -- Newsletters Part Deux

New Website Coming!

I have been a busy beaver today. I created a new home for J.J. Well, it's a part time home, but a home nonetheless. As I rebranded my books I thought I should find some fancy new digs to market them in. It's like buying a new Donna Karan suit and wearing 10-year-old Chuck Taylor's with them.

For those of you who collectively gasped at the thought of not reading my inspiring posts here anymore, don't be alarmed. I will still be finishing out my blogathon AND this website is connected to the new one so they are linked. But I'm going to get rid of a log of garbage on this one and send folks to my other to do their potential shopping.

This effort is all a part of this new strategy to set up my webpages and social networks so that they market for me, even when I can't. And after working on it for about 5 hours today, I've come to the conclusion that it's pweeeeetty.

It's not totally done yet but you can get a sneak peek here. 


 Anyway -- a fan of the J.J. McCall series, a reader of my blog posts, and a fellow author asked me (not in a comment on the blog for some reason), how can authors go about getting people to sign up for their newsletters.

First, let me start off by saying this -- if you want to KEEP people on your list, DO NOT SPAM. One news letter every couple of months or when you have news is more than enough. If you send out automated newsletters every other day or week, people are going to unsubscribe...quickly. So, that's the first thing.

Secondly, here are my Top 3 tips to build up your list. And this is me talking in hindsight because I have avoided this for years. Because I hate getting email and I hate sending it to other people. But once in a while is okay.

1. Book Signings 

I believe, the number one objective at book signings should NOT be to sell books, rather it should be to try and build your email list. Sounds counter-intuitive but it's true. Sometimes we get so caught up in making one sale, we lose 10 that we could've had in the future if we had just put out a notebook so we could capture email addresses. And you can get email addresses from people who may not even buy your book that day. But if they get a newsletter they might buy future releases. View book signings as marketing opportunities.

2. Virtual Book Tours and Rafflecopters

Set up a book tour with one of the many virtual book tour companies out there (I use Goddessfish) and do a Rafflecopter giveaway. It's a neat little widget. You give away a prize (I usually give away a Kindle and a gift card to buy books) and people provide you with their email addresses to enter, which you can then use to build your email list. I've done this for years. There are a lot of people out there who make a career out of entering these contests, but on the whole, you are sure to find readers who are interested in your books and who won't mind 4 or 5 emails PER YEAR.

3. Set up methods to capture newsletter subscribers on your website and blog. 

I have been blogging for years on various platforms and never once had a newsletter sign up until maybe two years ago. I've steadily captured new readers on the other (romance) site and not on this one. So that's what I've been focusing on these past few days. If someone actually wants to sign up so they can keep up with what you're doing, then make it easy for them to do so. Make sure you have social networks readily available and have a newsletter with good content, that doesn't focus on me me me.

I'm going to be trying some other methods, too. But I don't want to share too much until I find out whether they actually work. So there will probably be a Part III to this in the future.

Hope that helps.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sdskye1 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 179 -- Biz Talk Tuesday -- Newsletter

Biz Talk Tuesday -- Newsletters

It was my intent when I started this blogathon to really use Tuesday to talk about marketing, new tools, etc. But I'm realizing that I really need to expand the topic because tools aren't coming out as fast as I'm writing blogs. So, I've decided to make Tuesdays, Biz Talk Tuesday. 

Now that we've established that this is no longer marketing day...

Let's talk marketing! 

I don't know about you, but every time I finish a heavy effort on a book, it takes my brain a while to readjust so I can write again. When I can't write without a major struggle, I focus on reading and marketing until being away from the keyboard angers me...and then I'll be able to write through an entire book. Usually only lasts a week or so, but it's my process, so I'm just going to rock with it. 

Anyway, so I'm on a quest to learn how to market better, especially because the leaders in this romance box set I'm in seem to have it down to a science. 

Newsletters and Mailing Lists

I've come to see the importance of developing mailing lists, not so you can spam people with 1,000 ads of your books each week -- that's NO-NO. Rather, so that you have a group of interested readers that you can ask to be your early reviewers when you have a new book coming out, people who you hope will champion your work so you hit those coveted Amazon algorithms that get you more visibility and help you sell more books. For me, it's also a way to do giveaways and contests. Even as we speak, I'm going to start giving away my paperback stock of J.J. books because I'm not going to be touring next year with all the writing I have to do. The first people to get a shot at those books will come from my mailing lists.

A Change in M.O.

Anyway,  you will see a little more newsletter signage around the blog. A blue tab on the left. Also, I'm giving away a free chapter part of it is from an earlier version of the first book (The Seven Year Itch) that got edited out. But another part of the story has never been seen or read before and talks about J.J.'s childhood, college years, and how she dealt with her "gift." 

I used it as an incentive to sign up on my newsletter list.

Also, from this point forward, all news about the J.J. McCall series--release dates for the upcoming series, giveaways, FREE book, advanced copies--will go to the newsletter FIRST, blog last (probably several weeks apart--there has to be something in it for the subscribers, right?)

If I have one piece of advice for writers from everything I've learned this year--start your mailing list early. And readers--don't be afraid. You can always unsubscribe. 

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sdskye1 


Monday, December 7, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 178 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday -- Deborah Blandon 

The inspirational author of the day is USA Today and New York Times bestselling romance author Deborah Blandon. 

I loved her story because she had been rejected by Harlequin and decided to publish her own works. But she used a business style that I just resisted until recently...and it's a method that I've since warmed up to. 

Serial Novels

Deborah's road to success, in addition to writing great stories, is how she releases them. She writes multiple novellas, all ending with major cliffhangers, and then she releases the next piece in the series within two weeks. After all of the serial novels have been released, she combines them into a "box set" and releases them together, essentially turning three small books into one big book and getting four releases out of three. 

It's the cliffhangers that keep her readers coming back for more. 

To read more about her work and success, check out her Publisher's Weekly article here.

Even before I read this article, I had embarked on this mission with my latest romance which will be in the box set that I'm participating in, but the decision didn't come easily. I do not typically write short fiction. With the exception of my YA romances, no book I've ever written was less than 80K words. So, writing a novella has been a new challenge but early reviews say I kinda nailed it .

So now I'm writing three novellas, releasing them close together, and I'll be combining them into one set. 

This article was affirmation that my plan was the right one...we'll see how it goes. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 177 -- Fighting Writer's Resistance

Boy am I deep in it.

Writer's resistance.

I want to start my next book, but feel mentally as if I CAN'T start. Mind you, this is NOT an unwillingness to start, rather it is a resistance to starting.

It's not a lack of ideas. I have a multitude of those. It's not desire. I really want to finish my next book. It is sitting at the keyboard or picking up a pen and having my rain almost fight against me getting words on the page. Part of my brain says "No!" when everything else inside me says "Yes! Yes! Yes!"


Part of me knows this is part of my "process" after finishing a book; my novella is barely cold. But it's been a week. And I really need to start my next book. I'm on a timeline. I'm not one of those writers who fears criticism--I'm SO past that it's not even funny.  Criticism won't stop me from writing my next book. After 9 books--which isn't 30 books, but it's 9 books--I kinda of get the feeling that I can do this thing--I can write and publish a book. No worries there.

I think my paralysis stems from the fact that I have a ton of great ideas and obligations and I want to write everything at once. I want to satisfy the audiences for both of the authors that I put into the world and can't do that at once. So, instead, I do nothing. Which is worse than doing the wrong thing because there's no progress.

You get where I'm going here? No progress is worse than the progress that you "think" is taking you in the wrong direction. I just had this epiphany so be sure to soak up my genius.

So what do you do when you're fighting your own brain to do what you want it to do? If you're like me, you wake up in the middle of the night and write blogs about "writer's resistance." Or you find a few articles about the issue and read them--other people have had the same problem. They understand.

How to Overcome Writer's Resistance in 15 Minutes 

Bane of Your Resistance: Around the Writer's Block

Writability: Why Writing Through Resistance is Essential

The last article had me at the title. The only true way to get past resistance is to write through it. How you do that is up to you. For me, I remembered a piece of advice from Anne Rice -- excite yourself. If you're not excited about writing a book, who's going to be excited about reading it? Think of a way to write the story or recast the story in a way that you bring yourself excitement and you won't have any trouble keeping yourself at the keyboard. 

I just had a great idea. 

Off to write! (After my next blog)

What are you still doing here? Scoot!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 176 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top Publishing Links

Traditional Publishing is No Longer Fair or Sustainable

This is an older article I saw getting passed around on FaceBook today, but it's still relevant. This is based on the UK market but it's interesting that many similar articles have been written about the US this year. Definitely an interesting read. 

The Keys to Publishing Success are in Your Hands

In case you needed to remember that getting your books published these days is a CHOICE not a WISH, then this article is for you. 

It's always interesting to see Big 5 CEO insights on the market and these are...insights. Read them. See what you think. I'll reserve comment. :) 

Oprah is Publishing Her Memoir

I can't wait until this comes out. On top of that, she gets her own imprint for nonfiction books--and an 8-figure book deal. Yes, 8...as in E-I-G-H-T. 

Future of Book Publishing is Mobile

Not all of the future but certainly some of it. Interesting read, nonetheless. Check it out. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 175 -- Funny Friday

Funny Friday

So, over the Christmas break I'm going to take one day and work on getting authors to feature for Fiction Friday blogs. I just don't have the mental space or energy to do that with so much going on, but I'll be off for ten days straight so I will be ready then. 

Until then, Fiction Fridays will be Funny Fridays where I share something about writing (or reading) that makes me laugh. This is this week's Friday funny. And it's only funny because it's (mostly) true. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 174 -- Thriller Writers Panel

Craft Talk Thursday -- Thriller Writers Panel

So, I'll have to admit that sometimes I'm biased against writers...as a writer. I really can't stand listening to authors pontificate about "their art." Ugh. Some can be rather pretentious. I'm not that kind of author. I keep it real...and keep it real honest about the craft and the business. I've wanted to watch this but was afraid to because I thought it was going to be a pontification panel. Turned out to be pretty interesting and informative. Highly suggest watching this in it's entirety if you like anything about thrillers. It's David Baldacci, Lisa Gardner, Steve Berry, and Nelson DeMille. 


S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 173-- Typewriter Keyboard

What's New Wednesday -- Gifts for Writers 

A few weeks ago, I bought a new mechanical DasKeyboard because I wanted to hear the clicky sound when I typed...and quite frankly I wanted something of a higher quality. I've replaced two keyboards in two years. I'm heard the mechanical keyboards last 4 years. 

Now, if I had THAT kind of a budget...this is what I would've bought. A USB Typewriter Keyboard. 

For the low, low price of $799.99, you could buy a handy dandy USB typewriter keyboard that hooks to your computer. OMG. How I would totally love to work on this. I would feel just like Hemingway...without the alcoholism and a portion of the talent. But one hell of a work ethic.  

If anyone wins the lottery and is looking to unload $799.99, I will name a character after you if you purchase this for me. 

Please and thank you. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon -- Day 172 -- Lessons Learned

Ad Talk Tuesday -- Lessons Learned from Opting Out of KDP Select

Over the past few months, I've rebranded my books and covers and removed them from KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited and put them on other platforms.

Since a drop in sales actually presented the opportunity to get the books out there on all platforms, I decided to go for it. Nothing to lose at this time.  I've posted several lessons learned, but as time passes on I learn more. So, I decided to post a few more lessons learned from this week. 

Here are few things to make note of in your publishing journey.

1. Books, even indie published books are much more easily discovered on Amazon than Apple iBooks and B&N. I'd discoverability on Kobo is worse than Amazon but better than Apple and B&N. Granted I'm only one month in, but I do notice there is a faster discoverability curve on Amazon. The point here is, if you decide to put your books on all platforms, you'll need to market more heavily for those platforms in order to kick off sales. 

2. Getting your book onto iBooks is a challenge, but I finally got there. One thing you should know about the store is this: You really need a Doing Business As (issued by the state) in order to publish there or they will use your true name/legal name as your "Seller Name." For me, that was a problem, especially with my background. You don't need a DBA for tax purposes unless you're operating as an LLC or Corporation. But I decided it's probably something I should've done ages ago anyway and definitely needed to take care of it now. 

How do you go about that?
  • Apply for a Trade Name with your state. For my state, the process is online and you can pay to expedite the request. I got the necessary documentation the same day. 
  • Go to iTunesConnect, click "Contact Us," Contracts and Legal, and then select that you want to use your DBA name as your seller name. It will give you a couple of fields to fill out and then attach your state-issued certificate. 
  • Apple iBooks took care of that within 24 hours. So now all is right with the world. 
3. In terms of rebranding, I've found the effect is like publishing all new books, except that you actually have some reviews to start from. Sales bottomed out two months after the rebranding was complete, but they are slowly creeping back up to normal levels. I also think that is helped by the fact that new readers now buy the book instead of borrowing it from Kindle Unlimited. So, there's been a little uptick. Again, this is all a long term plan for me so I'm going with it at least for the next two years. I think it takes that long as a relatively "unknown indie" to figure out if things are trending in the right direction. I'll probably do a "state of sales" report every six to eight months to let you guys know how it's working.