Friday, December 30, 2011

Experiment in Free Part II

Well, I finally caved in to Amazon and added my novel No Cure for the Broken Hearted to Amazon Prime. This means that Prime members can borrow it, but it also means that I can make it free for Kindle for up to five days for everyone else, too. So I decided to make it free for the next three days. If anyone is interested in checking it out but hasn't picked up a copy yet, now's the time! Hopefully the exposure will give me a little sales boost when all is said and done. :-) It definitely helped last time around when Sweet Ophelia was free a few months back.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheating Old Man Winter

As I sit here in Denver, looking out the window of my sister's house at a snow-covered landscape, with un-plowed streets and neighbors digging out their walk, I'm looking forward to flying back home to California this afternoon, where the temperatures are forecast to be in the 70's (20's C) all week!

Whenever I travel and meet people from other parts of the world, they often have the idea that the weather in Southern California is always warm and sunny. They assume that the climate is tropical. The truth is that winter temperatures are usually between 40-65 degrees (highs around 16 C are typical). Not cold, by any stretch of the imagination, but not beach weather either. Nights can be downright chilly, dropping below freezing on occasion.

Every now and then, however, we get a week in the middle of winter where it really is beach weather. To me, these are the best days of the year. Even better than a warm day in summer. On these warm winter days, the sky is bright blue, the winds light, the crowds gone, and best of all, when you go to the beach on a warm winter day it just feels like you're getting away with something. Like you're playing hooky from school, or skipping out on work.

This year it seems like it has been particularly warm and dry all over the northern hemisphere. My friends in Estonia are enjoying temps in the high 30's (+4 C), as opposed to the usual double digits below zero. Likewise in Budapest it has been unseasonably warm. Here in Denver temps are expected to be in the 50's this week, as they are at Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada, where I worked as a snowboard instructor for six years. In fact, after last years record snow amounts, this year Mammoth is having an epic bad-start to the season, with almost no natural snow on the ground at all.

So it seems everyone is having a warmer than average winter this year. Perhaps we can put it down to global warming. If so, this is a troubling prospect indeed, but for the next seven days I'll do my best to enjoy it. A notebook, a pen, a towel, a surfboard and me, sitting on the beach and cheating Old Man Winter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Boy, I've been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to keeping up on my blog, but I just thought I'd take the opportunity to wish anyone who drops by a happy holiday season! I'm off to Colorado tomorrow myself to spend some time with my sisters and their families. With a foot of fresh snow in Denver over the last 24 hours, it looks like it will be a white Christmas! So merry Christmas and happy Chanukah, or whatever else anyone might be celebrating this time of year, have a great holiday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Amazon versus the World

There was an interesting development in ebook publishing this week as Amazon introduced a new program for members of Amazon Prime. Basically, it is somewhat like a Netflix subscription service for indie books, where readers can pay $79/year and then "borrow" books that are a part of the service (and stream movies as well).

For indie authors like myself, Amazon is now giving us the option of taking part in this scheme. Every time a book is borrowed, the author gets a part of the pool of money that has been set aside from reader fees. The amount of the payment for each "borrow" depends on the amount of money in the pool divided by the number of books borrowed during the month overall. The catch? We have to remove our books from all other resale channels. That means taking our books down from Barnes and Noble, Apple's ibookstore, the Sony bookstore, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. To me this is a troubling development indeed. Anything this anti-competitive can't be good in the long run for anybody but Amazon. The Netflix model is an interesting concept. It might even work for ebooks, but even Netflix doesn't demand complete fealty from movie producers.

As the ebook revolution marches on, I'm sure there will be continuous changes for quite some time as Amazon dukes it out with the rest of the world. They are already far and away the dominant player, but apparently that's not enough. As far as their new program goes, I'll sit back and watch it for a while to see how things work out. I'm definitely not diving right in. As a writer, I'd rather concern myself with simply making my next book the best it can be...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wish I was here...

Congratulations to Janice Horton, who is launching her latest her latest novel today, Reaching for the Stars! As a way to celebrate, she's organized a "Wish I was here" blog tour. In her book, celebrity chef Finn McDuff takes off for parts unknown to escape the craziness in his life. So the question from Janice is, where do I wish I could escape to? I've opted for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Why not? A little bit of sun, sand and sea. That sounds pretty good in the middle of December. Here is a photo of St. Thomas:

And anyone who would like to check out Reaching for the Stars, you can find it here:

Amazon UK
Amazon U.S.

Good luck to Janice!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Sara Wilcox, winner of a paperback copy of Sweet Ophelia! I'll try to get it in the mail in the next few days, Sara. And thanks to everyone else who entered the giveaway! :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making it in E-books

After a year selling my novels as e-books on Amazon and elsewhere, I’ve been doing some thinking on what it takes to really make it big in this endeavor. Actually, it didn’t take a whole lot of thinking, just a bit of observation. All one has to do is take a look at the writers who have thrived in this market and the pattern becomes clear enough.

Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, John Locke… They all write genre fiction of one type or another, and they are all very prolific, with numerous titles feeding off of each other. Locke has at least twelve novels out. Konrath ten or more. Hocking has around twelve as well. Both Hocking and Locke have sold more than a million copies of their books, and counting.

I could also compile a long list of lesser-known writers who are making a living with e-books and who also have these traits in common. A writer on the Kindle Boards forum posted just the other day that since she started putting her novels out six months ago, she’s already had 50,000 sales. She writes genre romance and has 15 titles up so far (including shorts).

Talking about sales figures at all is a little antithetical to the creative spirit of a writer, I have to admit, but it does deserve some consideration since I’m actually trying to make a living at it. What these trends I’ve mentioned tell me are that for me it is going to be quite difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.

Why? Because I’m just not the type or writer who can pound out the titles like the authors I’ve mentioned above. I take my time. I agonize over word choice. I go back and forth over paragraphs time and again, and when I am finished with a complete draft, I start from the beginning, over and over. Even now, I know that if I went over the books I already have out, I’d have plenty of changes to make.

I don’t have any qualms about my writing process. Sure, I wish I could motivate myself to work a little harder sometimes, but the truth is that I need to take my time. I can’t rush things. When I have problems sorting out a character, or a plotline, I often have to step aside and let my subconscious work it out. That’s just the way it is.

So no, I’ll probably never get rich selling e-books. I did manage to support myself with my writing this year for the first time in my life, but only by spending a good portion of the year in Budapest, where my expenses were less than $1,000 per month. With a third book due out in a few months and a fourth sometime later in 2012, hopefully I can keep it up, but after that I’m afraid my output is likely to slow. I’m running out of previously written works to revise and post.

This all leads me to the conclusion that perhaps the traditional publishing model might be the better option for me. Being involved in this e-book revolution has been a great experience for me in a lot of ways, but last week I went ahead and contacted editors at all of the “Big Six” publishers. Three of them wrote back right away requesting Sweet Ophelia.

Fingers crossed they’ll show some interest, but if not, I still won’t give up on writing as a career. I know it is possible for me to survive selling e-books, but perhaps I’ll have to learn to crank them out a little faster!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sweet Ophelia Paperback Giveaway

For those visitors from the U.S., I'm giving away one free paperback copy of Sweet Ophelia this week through Goodreads!  Anyone who wants to enter can do so here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sweet Ophelia by Kenneth Rosenberg

Sweet Ophelia

by Kenneth Rosenberg

Giveaway ends December 11, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

New Blog Title

Now that I've been at this "Indie" publishing for a year, I suppose it is time for a little introspection.  As such, I've decided a new blog title is in order!  So instead of "Kenneth Rosenberg's Blog" I'm going to try "A Writer's Life" for a while and see how that feels.  After all, the whole point of this blog is to trace my journey as writer trying to make it in this shifting publishing paradigm and traveling the world in search of inspiration.  Perhaps the new title is a bit more descriptive.  It is also the title of a memoir that I wrote several years ago, and as such I think I'll start posting some of the chapters here, from time to time.  Today, however, I need to get some work done!  I'm trying to finish a revision of my newest novel, Natalia, and I am finding it slow going.  So I'll sign off now for the day, shut off my Internet connection, and try to do some writing.  Wish me luck! ;-)