Sunday, March 19, 2017

TAKE THE LEAP: Dating in the Apocalypse: Alexandra: "The General'...

TAKE THE LEAP: Dating in the Apocalypse: Alexandra: "The General'...: The fourth installment of my series, Dating in the Apocalypse, is now available! Alexandra: "The General's Daughter&quot...

Dating in the Apocalypse: Alexandra: "The General's Daughter"



The fourth installment of my series, Dating in the Apocalypse, is now available!




Tom Collins, catastrophe’s Casanova, spills the beans during a military interrogation and reveals a connection to the infamous leader of the clans, the woman known only as “The Bitch.” Tom is rescued by Alexandra, the general’s daughter, but “Operation Bitch Slap” is already underway. Any female linked to Tom is now a target, and first on their list is Sarah. The only way Tom can save the woman of his dreams from the military’s most effective assassin is to figure out who The Bitch is before it’s too late.

A novelette.
Approx. word count: 16,000
Book 4 in the series.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

You think your dating life is tough...



The third book in my series, Dating in the Apocalypse: Bridgette: "The Narcissist", is now available! If you haven't read the first two in the series, don't despair, both are available FOR FREE on amazonkindle from November 19-23, 2016. Book one in the series, Sarah: "The One", received the "Five Star Seal" from Readers' Favorite, so I think you'll like it.





You think your dating life is tough; Tom Collins is looking for the love of his life in the middle of an apocalypse! If he can overcome murderous clans, a slave-based economy, and a meddlesome mother who designs deadly dresses for women, he might just find “the one.”

A novelette.
Approx. 18,000 words
Book one in the series.
FREE 11/19 - 11/23 




Tom Collins, the dooms day dater, just made a harrowing escape from the marauder-laden 33rd street mall, but now he has to go back to save Jenny. The attempt gets him into trouble with Midtown Clan’s leader, Murray, and Tom starts to realize that being Jenny’s savior isn’t easy. Later, Tom has to give tactical handgun training to a former cheerleading squad, hunt down a serial killer loose in his apartment building, and keep his eye on a Pomeranian named Peaches.

A novelette
Approx: 16,000 words
Book two in the series.
FREE 11/19 - 11/23




Tom Collins, the last day’s lothario, teams up with Bridgette from the popular ham radio show The Daily After. They find a note in Marty’s office that pinpoints the location of a secret military black market. To get the scoop on the story, they need to get to Fort Tilden, so Tom calls on the help of his old friend and cabdriver Eddie. Their surreptitious journey through the dystopian city is complicated by Bridgette’s narcissistic need for celebrity.

A novelette
Approx: 17,000 words
Book three in the series.
Only .99c

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Cover Design Aspect Ratio 8:5 or 1.6

When you’re uploading your cover on Amazon.kdp, you’ll notice they require that your cover’s ratio be 1.6.: 

"Dimensions

Requirements for the size of your cover art must have an ideal height/width ratio of at least 8:5 (1.6), meaning:

• A minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side 
• For best quality, your image should be 2500 pixels on the longest side 

Important: We cannot accept any images larger than 10,000 pixels on the longest side." 


Put more succinctly, it means that the height of the image is 1.6 times the width. For example, if the width is 1500 then the height must be 2400. (1500 x 1.6 = 2400.) The obvious reason for this requirement is that most computer screens, tablets, and smart phones have an aspect ratio of 16:10 A.K.A 8:5, which means that these screens have a width 1.6 times their height. Interestingly, the 2014 Kindle Fire Tablet screen size was 1280 x 800 (1.6), and the xtra large Kindle Fire was 2560 x 600 (1,6), but the 2015 large size was 1024 x 600 (1.7).

The way the guideline is worded, there doesn't seem to be much leeway, but I like to think that 1.6 is only a recommendation. A quick search on the web will show that 1.5 is preferred by many graphic artists and cover designers, myself included. Why? As much as I like the golden ratio (1.618), for a book cover I find it too narrow. Many Tradeback books are 1.5. 

The popular 6 x 9 size is 1.5.  

5 ½ x 8.25 is 1.5. 

On the other hand, Mass Market books, the ones you find in grocery stores, are 4.25 x 7, which comes to a ratio of 1.64. 

It’s really a matter of taste.

One important thing to consider: if your covers are all 1.5 or 1.6, regardless of their size, you won’t have a problem making them uniform when you re-size them. For instance, when you're uploading them onto your website, or when Amazon automatically re-sizes them on your author central page, if they're all the same ratio, they'll line up like tin soldiers. Notice that my covers on this blog's sidebar all appear uniform, despite the fact they're different sizes. 

Here's a side by side comparison. 1.6, 1.5, and 1.4 (1.37 to be exact). It's just my personal preference, but I like 1.5 best.






Remember the ratio!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BOOKBUB, BOX SETS, AND GETTING TO #1 ON AMAZON: A Q&A with Diana Urban and Christopher John Chater

   Diana Urban, Industry Marketing Manager at BookBub, did me the great honor of contacting me with these questions after I had a very successful promotion using BookBub. For her full article, please visit the BookBub Partners Blog at http://insights.bookbub.com/


Diana:      The Elizabeth Chater Regency Romance Collection #1 box set includes standalone books. What was your strategy behind bundling four standalones together?

  CJC:  I could go on for days answering this question, but there are three good reasons to put standalones into a box set.
   Number one, readers love bargains. 99¢ books are very popular, especially with Regency Romance titles. By pricing my standalone books at 99¢, I’ve been able to enjoy good sales and stay competitive. By putting those same books into box sets of four, and price it at $2.99, readers save one dollar, and (because of the 70/30 royalty split on Amazon), my profit for those same books increases (approximately) $1.00.  It’s a win-win.
   The second reason is that it creates “another book,” therefore I get more space on the digital shelf.
   The third reason is that it exposes readers to a book that might not be as popular as the other books by the same author. If a standalone isn’t selling very well, and that’s not a reflection of the book’s quality, then readers may be more willing to give it a try if it’s in a box set.

Diana:      How did you decide on the initial pricing of the box set?

   CJC: As the free market adage goes, “Price goes down, quality goes up.” When I started uploading my grandmother’s back list, I priced most of her standalone books at $2.99, with one book at 99¢. For a while this worked, but soon there were so many 99¢ books for sale that my higher-priced books weren’t selling. The 99¢ book was doing terrifically, getting into Amazon’s top 100 and staying there for months, yet the $2.99 books still weren’t selling. When I checked the top 100 lists on Amazon for Regency Romance and Historical Romance, many of the top sellers were priced at 99¢, so I changed nearly all Elizabeth Chater books to 99¢. The 99¢ price change caused my profits to far exceed what they had ever been when the same books had been priced at the $2.99.
   There are five Elizabeth Chater collection books for sale, and only one of them is $3.99, because it includes a much longer book that, as a standalone, is priced at 2.99. It doesn’t do half as well as the other collection books priced at $2.99, even though readers are still saving one dollar by buying this collection book. Pricing is tricky!

Diana:      When you bundled these books, did the box set cannibalize sales of the individual books included in the set? Or did it have the opposite effect?

 CJC:  Creating box sets did cannibalize sales of some of the standalone books, but in most cases overall profits were higher, and people were reading and being exposed to books that weren’t selling as well before. 


Diana:      What were the results of bundling these books into a box set (estimates or generalizations are totally fine if you don’t want to provide exact numbers)? Would you recommend this strategy for authors or book marketers? If so, what advice would you give them about creating box sets for standalones?

   CJC: Creating box sets of standalone titles is a great idea, but it should be taken on a case by case basis. Some authors and publishers can get away with selling box sets for a high price and can occasionally run sales of those box sets so they don’t always cannibalize sales of standalones. If standalones are selling well, then selling the box set cheaper than the individual books is only a good idea if the other standalones aren’t selling well. It’s all about experimentation and knowing what your readers want. There are many Regency Romance book bundles for sale right now that are only 99¢. They’re getting into Amazon’s top ten and staying there. The competition is fierce. It’s getting harder to sell a standalone back list title, even at 99¢.       
   As far as content goes, the books in my box sets are not only by the same author, but the books are all similar in genre, style, and theme. I’d caution publishers against creating a box set of books from different genres, or that involve radically different situations, for instance books that have graphic scenes, while the others books are more G-rated.

Diana:      How else have you promoted the box set besides running a deal on BookBub?

  CJC: Promotion is a dirty word for most authors. It’s the hardest part. When I started publishing back in the old days of 2011, all I had to do was run a sale and my rankings and sales would soar. I used to be able to do a free giveaway on Amazon and get thousands of downloads. These days it’s much harder to give away a book for free, much less run a sale without some strategic promotional planning. I’d advise using anything and everything to get the word out, but it has to be done “correctly.” Each promotional platform has its own etiquette that publishers should respect. On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, savvy authors use the 80/20 rule, meaning that 80 percent of your posts are not related to your books, while 20 percent are promotional. I, of course, feature the books on Elizabethchater.com, as well on my blogsite, and I’ve used paid promotional sites like BookGorilla. I’ve created a presence on unpaid sites like Librarything, Goodreads, and Shelfari—and a lot of other places I can’t even remember. Amassing emails is digital gold, and to do that I highly recommend using MailChimp. My motto is, “Try it all.”

Diana:      After your BookBub promotion for The Elizabeth Chater Regency Romance Collection #1 box set ended, did you see an increase in sales for any of your grandmother's other titles?

   CJC: The BookBub promotion greatly increased sales to all Elizabeth Chater books for the entire month (more than 30 titles), and the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) were fantastically high for the month. I’d like to point out that, because of the BookBub promotion, The Elizabeth Chater Regency Romance Collection #1 went to #1 for Historical Romance on Amazon, and garnered over one million pages read on KENP. Thank you BookBub!
   I’ve written more about my BookBub experience, including all the sales numbers, on my blog: www.christopherjohnchater.blogspot.com.


- END Q & A -

   For those of you new to publishing box sets, you'll have a decision to make regarding covers. Some retailers and distributors, like Smashwords, won't accept 3D covers. Personally I think 3D covers are more eye-catching and I've always used them on Amazon, but when I was going through Smashwords I had to create additional 2D covers. It's generally a good idea to have the same cover on all platforms, but I've never been good at following generalities. Also, I make my own covers, so I don't have to worry about the cost. Whether or not you chose to use only one cover, I'd still recommend having a 3D cover. They look great on blogs, websites, Facebook pages, ect.

    



   I also included the standalone covers to each book in the interior of the digital books. I thought that added a nice touch. It does increase the megabyte size of the book and therefore the digital shipping charge, but we're talking micro pennies at this point.  

   Another great reason to create a box set (or publish any book with a high page count) is because of the Amazon Kindle Unlimted program and the new payment structure. From what I can tell, the new system does seem to slightly favor longer books. I published my KENPC below and as you can see my KENP numbers are really more impressive that my sales figures. 


Those of you following Joe Konrath’s blog post asking for author rankings and Page Per Day numbers, here they are:

My BookBub promotional sale was from July 1, 2015 – July 7, 2015.
Author ranking reached a high on July 2, with #122
Author ranking for Historical Romance reached a high of #2
Author ranking on July 31 was 4,732
Total pages read (KENPC) for the month of July: 2,113,914. (1,092,778 from promotional book).
(On a side note, the promotion only marginally increased traffic to the author’s website.)

   As you can see from the graph below, on the first day, books sales were an incredible 2,412. The vast majority of the sales, probably 85% or more, came from the book being promoted. The book went into the top 100 for Historical Romance on the first day, and by the second day it was #1. It also went to #1 on Amazon.UK for Historical Romance. It went to a high of #30 for all Kindle Books. Elizabeth Chater’s author ranking went to a high of #2 for Historical Romance and a high of #122 for all authors. By the second or third day, the other four collection books went into the top 100 and enjoyed a brief stay there.

   The first day of the KENP program didn’t start off too promising with a modest 10,469 pages read, but things got much more interesting as the month went on. While sales dropped after the first day, pages read per day continued to go up. As you can see from the graph below, by day 3 KENPC had gone up to 47,552. KENPC reached a high on day 13 with 101,209 pages read. Total pages for the month were: 2,113,914; an average of 68,190 for July.

   My conclusion: Kindle Unlimited coupled with a Bookbub promotion make boxsets a great idea.









Thursday, August 20, 2015

OUT OF BODY IS NOW AVAILABLE



Harley Baker's obsession with the afterlife leads him to experiment with astral projection, but when he doesn't take the necessary precautions before an OBE, he comes back to find that a demon has taken over his body. While in spirit form, Harley watches the impostor romance the girl he's crushing on, ace his college exams, and impress his best friend with opportunities for wealth beyond his wildest dreams. Not only does Harley have to figure out how to get his body back before he's trapped in the astral plane forever, but he has to stop the demon from a plan that will veil the world in darkness and enslave the human race.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day - Free Book!

There's a strong father/son relationship in my novel, Aquarius Rising, so in honor of this Father's Day, I'm putting the Kindle version up for free from June 21 - June 25.







Out-of-work architect Nick Fellows never suspects a job interview will lead to a fight for his life. It begins when he receives an email he discovers is encoded with numerological numbers, sent to him from a mysterious company named Atlantis Revisited. Against his better judgment, he accepts an interview with them in a park in Manhattan. He's met by their strikingly beautiful recruiter, Lisa, who's only allowed to tell him that the company's primary focus is civilization building . . . and that their last architect was murdered. Immediately following the interview both of their lives are put in danger. But what could the company possibly be building, and who wants them dead because of it? The only thing Nick and Lisa know for sure is that they need to get to a place called Aquarius and Aquarius is rising.