Friday, June 24, 2016

How To Make All Your Books Free And Still Make Money (How Google Adsense Could Become More Profitable Than Amazon For Selling Books)

When I first self-published Pandora's Mistake on Amazon a few years ago and made it free, it was a totally different Amazon than when I self-published Bright's Passion and made it free a couple of months ago.

The first six months of Pandora's Mistake being free, I got over 10,000 downloads on it and I did ZERO advertisements for it. ZERO.
 
That number dwindled down a lot over the years. I thought it was because my book was old (nothing makes readers excited as much as a new release!) When I released Bright's Passion, I knew I wouldn't get 10,000 downloads, but I expected a lot more than I got. I don't think I've even gotten a 1,000 downloads at this point in total, even though it's also free.

I spent $800 advertising it on its release day. That $800 turned out to mean that I spent over a dollar for every book I convinced someone to download. These were books I was GIVING AWAY for FREE. And people are turning up their nose at it.
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Searching for people to give free books to on Amazon is almost as difficult as trying to find water in the desert.
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You may say that I just suck as a writer and that must be what is happening to me (and you're entitled to your opinion, I support you if you want to hate me or my writing), but I've learned a lot since I released Pandora's Mistake. I've changed my writing based on reviews. My story went through way too many critique partners and an editor. You may still think it sucks anyway, but those are the facts. I put in a lot of effort to try to make my new books better than my old books are.

It used to be hard to sell a book for $2.99 a few years ago. Now, it's just as hard to give away books for free. If authors are sitting down, telling each other that the writing on a FREE book isn't good enough or the cover isn't good enough when they are making NO PROFIT on this book for people to download, think about what that means for authors. We're in such a high state of competition right now that you have to have a nearly perfect product in order for people even to consider downloading it at no cost to them. That's intense.

People don't go to the grocery store and turn down free samples because someone's handing out string cheese and they'd prefer something more gourmet.

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Your Gourmet Cheese Sample Is Ready
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Then, on top of all of that, pirating is getting worse than ever. People are finding sites to download authors' books for free (if their books aren't already available for free.)

They don't even need pirate sites to do this. People are "purchasing" books on Amazon and then returning them the next day to get them for free. There have even been cases where readers have done this and sent the author a message about how they shouldn't be charging for their books at all. And then getting angry when the author is offended that the person doesn't want them to make a living.

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People Are Using Amazon Like It's A Library.
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The fact is that authors are no longer valued on Amazon by either customers or the company itself. Amazon makes it very difficult to get a hold of them about any issue. (As a customer, you can get them to call you in less than five minutes. As a seller, you e-mail them and wait a week.) They're constantly changing the rules. First, they pressured us to be exclusive through Kindle Unlimited (because Amazon is the only web-site where any books get sold and they'll limit your visibility if you don't go along with KU.) Then they kept changing the rules of Kindle Unlimited. We get paid less and less every month per page. They changed our page count to make it shorter, so we get less money even if people read the whole book.

I've felt so much pressure from all of that, that now you can get all four of the novels I've written for less than two dollars in total (two are free, the other two are $0.99) and just in case that's too expensive for anyone, I kept those two paid novels in Kindle Unlimited.

It's become a toxic relationship. We're all so desperate for Amazon to approve of us. They keep dangling the golden carrot (our dream to make a living as an author) in front of our faces. They make it next to impossible to catch it. But we keep trying and we keep dreaming. Because that's what authors are-professional dreamers.

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Mmm. Delicious dream carrots.
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And when we complain because we dropped thousands of dollars on our books between editing, professional book covers, and advertising, big name authors will tell us to stop complaining. If our books were any good, we would get paid or something like that. (Because the world is fair and we all always get everything that we deserve! *sarcasm*) And as I keep hearing over and over again,"No one owes you a living."

It has a speck of truth in it. No one owes us a living, it's true. But if you just keep accepting people treating you poorly and paying you very little...If you keep going back to it over and over again...If you do nothing to retaliate against any of it...Then people will take advantage of you forever. Because you accept nothing in return for your work and you're happy about it. No one owes me a living, so why even bother trying to convince them? ;) If they want to hurt us by giving us less profit, then we must deserve it, right? There is never any other motivation for them doing so?

It's just kind of how the world works. When you're not valued, then neither are your complaints. In fact, people will be irritated with you for even bothering to complain at all. People, if they read this, might be irritated with me as well for writing this. Because they don't want to hear stories about people struggling. They want to hear the stories about people making it and pretend the struggling never happens or that it's the fault of the people struggling. They might not want to buy my books because they only want to buy books from rich authors. But that's another topic altogether.

I'm still going to self-publish novels with Amazon. I like trying different things and not putting all my eggs in one basket, which means staying with Amazon in addition to other things. When most people say this about self-publishing, they mean that they don't want to be in Kindle Unlimited, but I think we need to go bigger than that. We need to not depend on Amazon at all.

Because, the fact is, Amazon bans authors sometimes from ever publishing with them again for life. You don't want that to happen to you and you to lose your dream because of it. You don't want anyone to have that much power over you.

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2016/06/think-you-couldnt-possibly-lose-your-amazon-publishing-account-think-again/

Think that Amazon doesn't ban authors for life from publishing with them? Read that link. You get no warning about it and you may never be able to get your account back again. They're also not going to give you a reason why they're doing it.

And these kinds of things have been happening for awhile. If you have links in the wrong parts of your books or content in your novels that Amazon finds objectionable, even though they give us no guidelines about what is objectionable or not, then you're screwed. Your book might get banned or your account might get banned. You've worked so hard and a blow like that is painful.

When people go back to a personal relationship over and over again where they're not appreciated, we call it being a doormat and say that maybe the relationship should end. But if people get in a business relationship where they're never paid or appreciated and expected to do a lot of work, people get told to suck it up. Just read the comments on that "The Passive Voice" article I linked to above for some examples.
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Protection From Toxic Relationships
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People make so many excuses for Amazon when there really is none. They just know they're the only place we can go to and that they don't need us, so they want us to suck it up.

So, between readers being unwilling to pay authors for their books and Amazon wanting to pay as little to authors for their books as possible, I've decided that I need to try new things in addition to the old. (I won't be taking my books down from Amazon any time soon.)

I already have been writing hubpages, but in addition to that, I'm also working on a web-site where I'm going to be posting "Choose Your Own Romance" stories and making them available for free. I make money online this way through advertising revenue. Hubpages has its own advertising revenue, but in both places, I also use Google Adsense, which is a very popular way people make money online through their web-site or through videos or articles.

It's a way of dealing with all these people who want free content from you, but also still making money from it. You get paid every time someone clicks on the advertisements on your site.

Now, you don't want a web-site so covered in advertisements that people can't load the page or even figure out where the content is among all the advertisements surrounding it. That will make people run for the hills.
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Advertisements Everywhere
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But a moderate amount of advertisements might help a lot of authors make more money from writing. Because you can give the books away from free and depend on the advertisers to pay you instead.

A lot of people have been doing this for awhile. Youtube is like the self-published version of television. Anyone can make an account and upload videos. They use google adsense to advertise and get money from views.

Television networks do this as well. They need commercials to make money on their television shows.

It's a good idea for authors to take advantage of this, too.

And I don't mean just by writing articles, although that's great, too! The web-site I've been working on lately is going to have full length novels on it for people to read.

And because "Choose Your Own" stories involve a lot of hyperlinks, I don't think it's a good idea to post them on Amazon, since they've been banning people for having things like table of contents (which is full of hyperlinks) in the wrong place.

 http://teleread.com/amazon-pulls-e-books-table-contents-placement/

Google Adsense has also made me see how Amazon and a lot of its rules and bannings are done just to make things difficult for people because they don't care.

I can't say for sure how great Google Adsense is. I may run into problems with them someday. I haven't been using them for long, but they are already a step above Amazon so far.

For instance, they have several pages explaining what content is restricted or not:

https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348688

Romance and erotica authors have been wanting Amazon to do a similar thing with them for a long time, too, since so many romance and erotica books get taken down without an explanation as to why, other than they broke the girls.

They don't have the ambiguous Amazon rules, where Amazon wants you to guess what content is banned or not because it's "about what you would imagine."

And it seems if you get in trouble for content, they will contact you personally through e-mail and tell you which pages are a problem, which is also refreshing.

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Checking E-mail

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Google makes a lot of its revenue on advertisements and it needs people to provide content for those advertisements, so I feel that the site will probably value me more than Amazon does because they need content providers to make a living.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this whole thing will blow-up in my face. Or maybe this is the direction books will go in the future.

Maybe we'll sell everything on our own web-sites instead of on Amazon.

I just want to say that you're not crazy if you're upset by the way Amazon is treating you sometimes. You're not being spoiled for trying to value yourself and find something better or wanting to do something to change things.

A lot of the same people who are stark defenders of Amazon now, were complaining about how little publishers paid authors in the past. They were saying how Amazon makes the midlist author make decent money now and how they're being treated better by Amazon than large publishers.

J.A. Konrath and some of his thoughts on midlist authors and making money on Amazon: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/10/kindle-numbers-traditional-publishing.html

But that's quickly not becoming the case anymore and there's nothing wrong with pointing that out and wanting to do something about it.

I just thought I'd share what I'm trying to do.

Those of us who started self-publishing years ago, know how different the market is now. My paychecks back then were three times the amount they are now and I'm selling the same amount of books on average. That's why we're disgruntled. That's why we're saying something.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Read My Stories On Wattpad

I've been a member on Wattpad for awhile. I've wanted to upload my stories that are available for free on Amazon over there, but I didn't get the chance to do so until now. If you'd rather read them on there, instead of Amazon, here's the link to my account:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/EBBlack

Feel free to leave comments on my stories if you'd like to as well.

Also, if you'd like me to follow you on Wattpad or check out one of your stories there, then please comment on this post and give me the link!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Why People Think Art Is A Hobby

If you tell people you're a writer, a lot of people will laugh and ask what your real job is. Part of the reason for this is because it is very difficult to make decent money writing. But the other part is because most people only create things for fun and aren't too serious about it. They might want to write a book someday, but all they've ever done is write a chapter or two when they are bored. Art for them is fun and should never be difficult.

I'm both a serious writer and a serious piano player. I didn't realize that there was any other kind of piano player until recently. I was purchasing piano books off of Amazon and I saw someone write that their husband loved a certain piano book because it was so easy to read and play that they could sit down and immediately play any song in the entire book. I frowned and decided that it was a bad idea to purchase that book.

Why?

Because I want to be challenged when I do art. When I reminisce about my favorite times of piano playing, it's when I agonized and worked for days to months trying to master a piece. It's when I stayed up late at night practicing. It's when I practiced for so many hours that my back was spasming from the pain of trying to have perfect posture.

It's not when I played a piece and mastered it in five minutes. That's boring. I don't feel accomplished. I want to struggle with a piece. Learn to feel it and all it's keys. I want it to move me and make me learn.

Writing is very similar to me. I struggle with words for hours at a time. I write and re-write and cross out entire sections. I bleed across the page. I get so tired of spelling and grammar that I write barely literate texts to my husband.

Because that's what feels good. That's what makes me feel accomplished as an artist. When you struggle for your art.

And the more you struggle, the more you are going to get criticism. People have critiqued my piano playing (not just negatively reviewed my books) a ton of times. There's always that stereotype in television and movies about the mean teacher (in the arts) who swears at the student and tells them they're terrible. That stereotype exists for a reason. Because the further along you get in the arts, the more of those type of people you are going to face.

It makes you harder inside because you learn how to tolerate those types of people and even gleam wisdom from their criticism. You learn to let it not crumble you.

You're destroyed by their words, but your strength rebuilds you. You kill yourself for your art and you're reborn through it.

So when someone says that art is just a hobby. When they don't think it can be taken seriously. Don't get angry, feel bad for them. Because they'll never know the pain or the struggle of fighting yourself and the world to create beauty that you never even knew you were capable of making until people pushed you. They'll be content with their mediocre hobby of art and never know that they could be capable of so much more.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Get All Four Of My Novels For Less Than $2 In Total

If you have kindle unlimited, you can read them all for free!

Pandora's Mistake and Bright's Passion are both available for free. Here are the links...

Pandora's Mistake:

http://www.amazon.com/Pandoras-Mistake-Fate-Eros-ebook/dp/B00BRQINMI/

Bright's Passion:

http://www.amazon.com/Brights-Passion-God-Light-1-ebook/dp/B01BU2N93Q/

Medusa's Desire and Night's Lust are both available for 99 cents apiece. Here are the links...

Medusa's Desire:

http://www.amazon.com/Medusas-Desire-Fate-Eros-ebook/dp/B00ABMAW5K/

Night's Lust:

http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Lust-God-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B01BUKOOT6/

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blog Tours

I should have linked to these earlier, but I have two blog tours going on right now. The first one, for Bright's Passion, started on March 20th, and the second one for Pandora's Mistake, started on April 20th. If you'd like to see any of the blogs I was hosting on, just click on either banner and follow the links for my book tour.

http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/th_gallery/deluxe-book-tour-brights-passion/

http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2016/04/now-on-tour-pandoras-mistake-by-eb-black.html

Monday, March 28, 2016

How Commercialism Is Destroying Fiction

This is not a blog post where I make fun of genre writers and praise literary fiction. I love genre fiction. I read romance and fantasy novels all the time. This is a blog post about how the publishing industry is slowly getting rid of legitimate authors (both in genre fiction and literary) and replacing them. We're not being replaced by machines or artificial intelligence. We're being replaced by people who don't care about words and never read any books. We are being replaced by people who couldn't care less about the publishing industry and don't know that the phrase isn't "could care less." We're being replaced by models, reality stars, and actors.

This truth first hit me when I realized how many of the Kardashians are NYT Bestsellers and how few of my author friends are. Khloe Kardashian is the most recent bestseller. I was at Barnes & Noble on saturday and saw how her book "Strong Looks Better Naked" had officially reached the NYT Bestseller list. They had a display for her and her book, proudly presenting these facts to everyone.

She is not the first Kardashian/Jenner to achieve this status. Her mother has done it, too, so has Kim Kardashian, although Kim's book is just a bunch of pictures of herself. Because celebrities don't even have to write any actual words anymore to have a bestselling book. Her younger sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner also have a book, a scifi novel, actually.

The reason this makes me angry is because it's ridiculous. I could never be a model or reality show star and I don't want to be. I won't be getting lip injections like Kylie Jenner has any time soon. I don't plan to do waist training like Kim Kardashian to see if I can make my butt look even larger in comparison to my stomach. I don't have make-up artists or stylists. The Kardashians do. They live, breathe, and survive on being beautiful.

Well, I live, breathe, and survive on words. Part of the reason I am even writing this blog post is because my kindle is out of battery, so I have to let it charge for awhile before I can goof off and read some romance novels later. I'll probably write a chapter or two of something later today and procrastinate for a little while on doing housework. Because I live off of words. Other people's words written into books and mine fashioned together into novels as well. But I don't expect to be treated like a model. I don't expect my picture to grace magazine covers. Because I don't focus on any of that stuff. My passion is for books.

So why are a bunch of reality stars all NYT Bestsellers?

Would you buy a tomato that Kim Kardashian personally planted and grew? Would you purchase only food cooked by Khloe Kardashian? When you buy tampons, do they need to have Kris Jenner's face on them? Do you choose your doctor based on only people Kourtney Kardashian recommends you see?

No. Because the Kardashians are reality stars and models. They don't know anything about medication, tampons, or food. They know how to look pretty and be on television. They can teach you how to pose for magazines. So why in the hell are all the bestselling novels written by people like them?

I know people get all uppity about genre fiction. They get upset about books like Twilight because they feel like the writing is beneath them and girly and blah, blah, blah. But at least Stephenie Meyer cares about words and fiction. At least you know she sat around, poring over exactly how to write each page, obsessing over every word and learning how to be better at grammar.

The Kardashians didn't do this. Publishing companies beg them to write books, not the other way around. I've seen them go to their big publishing houses on their reality show. They get red carpet treatment. Everyone kisses their butt and praises all their ideas.

To the Kardashians, writing a book is a quick burden that they shuffle off onto some ghost writer or editor and care very little for. It's like taking a breath. It's just another bottle of perfume to them or shade of lipstick that they have to approve and then they're done with it.

I'd take genre writers over that any day. Because they care. Because they try. Because they study so much and re-write over and over again.

But we live in a world where all that matters is what will sell. While I agree that we should write things that please readers, I am upset by the fact that we are all no longer taking quality of fiction into consideration at all. If you poop on a page and it sells, then that's the important thing, right? As long as it's in pretty enough packaging to appeal to everybody?

Imagine a world where everything was dictated by the same idea. Where people wouldn't ride an airplane unless they knew it was personally designed by Kim Kardashian. Her idea of a design would probably be a picture of a pink airplane with a smiley face on it. I'm not saying mine would be much better, but that's because I never went to school for that and I don't have a passion for it. Neither did she.

So why are we letting people who never read or write take over book sales? It's going to make literature in this culture crash and burn like Kim Kardashian's pink, smiley face airplane would crash and burn if it were to ever fly. I don't like it at all.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

RELEASE DAY: Bright's Passion and Night's Lust - GET A FREE COPY!!!

It's not too late to join me and my celebration on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1521847908111646/

It's been awhile since I've released a full novel, probably because I was preparing to release two novels instead of just one.


Get Bright's Passion for free on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brights-Passion-God-Light-1-ebook/dp/B01BU2N93Q/

Bright wishes he wasn't the god of the suns.

Every day is the same: he makes the suns rise and then they set. He looks down at humanity's corruption. He watches wars, people starving, and thieves stealing.

He can't help. Every time he tries, the humans take something from him. They've destroyed his family and he has no doubt that they'd like to destroy him, too.

Adonya is a raven-haired witch with powers that make her as close to a goddess as a human can be. He's wondered what it was like to be with a woman, but all the goddesses are dead.

He can feel it when he touches her—she's as dangerous as all the rest of the humans. Can the power of love join their races together? Or will one of them wind up dead in the end?

 Purchase for $2.99 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Lust-God-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B01BUKOOT6/

Adonya will never see the suns rise again. The suns bring beauty to the world, beauty that she craves. They also bring Bright, who she is desperate to see, but can't. Last time she allowed herself to be controlled by love, her mother died.

Terrifying things lurk in the dark like Night--the god who tried to kill her.

Adonya hates him, but he's become obsessed with her ever since he met her. He says there is something special about her, something that makes him desire to either sleep with her or kill her.

He shows her that the opposite of love is not hate. Her lack of indifference towards him shows that in a twisted way, she cares about him as well. Anger can intermingle with desire and create an explosion of passions unlike anything Adonya has experienced before.

Maybe a little fling won't hurt anything. After all, Adonya is used to playing with fire.

But what will happen when Bright finds out that she is sleeping with his brother?