Wednesday, June 25, 2014

European Sojourn Winding Down

As an itinerant writer, I've spent a big portion of the last five years in Europe.  I've lived in places where the atmosphere is thick with inspiration and the rents are cheap.  This means primarily Lisbon, Tallinn, and most of all Budapest.  Now I'm visiting friends in the south of France, which has been terrific.  I also caught up with some friends outside of Venice and spent some time there getting to know the place.

Overall, I've enjoyed my time in Europe, and I've also found it to be a great place to write, with fantastic cafes and libraries to work in.  I do tend to get a bit homesick at times, though, and I miss the outdoor lifestyle of my native California.  I miss the surfing and snorkeling, mountain biking, hiking and snowboarding.  I miss being able to throw a bunch of camping gear into my pickup truck and head off at a moment's notice on a wilderness adventure.

And so, this present sojourn is coming to a close.  In two more days I'll say au revoir to France, goodbye to Europe, and I'll head on back to sunny So Cal.  It's always sad to say goodbye to the many friends I've made over here, but home is calling my name!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hitting the Big Time!

When I was younger and just starting out as a writer, my dad and I used to joke around about when I finally hit the big time with a big advance or a movie sale that I'd pull up in front of my parents' house in a brand new red Ferrari.  Not that flashy cars are even my style, but somehow the joke stuck, so I couldn't resist taking this photo when I was out in front of the casino in Monte Carlo yesterday.

So here you go, dad!  Not that I've quite hit the big time yet, but maybe this is what it will look like when I do. :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going "Perma-free"

Since I started my self-publishing journey four years ago, sales tactics for self-published authors have constantly evolved.  Back in 2010, not many authors were selling their books for less than $2.99.  Some of us found traction selling ours at 99 cents.  My first book, No Cure for the Broken Hearted, really took off at that price, garnering 300 sales per day for months on end.  It was a good time.

Later, authors began giving away their books for free for limited time periods.  One could get a huge boost in visibility, and thus sales, coming off of a free run.  Amazon's algorithms favored this tactic by placing these books high on the "also bought" lists that customers see when they look at another book.

Eventually Amazon adjusted their algorithms and this benefit evaporated.  These days, one of the tactics self-published authors use is to go permanently free with one of their books, on the hope that if a reader likes it, they might buy other books by the same author.

To give my own sales a boost, I decided to go "perma-free" with No Cure starting last week.  The first week was interesting.  Downloads took off out of the gate, with nearly 500 the first day.  Then they dropped, and dropped and dropped again.  Here's what the sales chart looks like:

By the seventh day, I only had 10 downloads in 24-hours.  Not so stellar.  Oddly, I didn't announce or promote the book being free until the second day, where I posted it in a few places on Facebook and Twitter.  I'm not sure why it took off like that all at once in the beginning.  What I do know is that when I gave this book away for a week several years ago, I had 45,000 total downloads.  That time I was picked up for a mention by a prominent promotional website.

In any case, I'm planning to leave this one free for the time being.  I'll try promoting it here and there, and hopefully pick up a few readers along the way.  For anyone who wants to read the book but hasn't yet, feel free! :-)