Ongoing Learning

I have been quiet for the past few weeks, other than my guest blogs, because I have been busy.

I just finished a six week workshop called Advanced Depth created by Dean Wesley Smith which continues on from where Writing With Depth workshop left off. Both workshops teach how to get the reader down into the story from the first sentence through to the end of each scene and keeps them reading until the end of the story.

I was totally amazed at how I learnt the different ways to keep the reader reading, and I can’t wait to put everything I learnt in both these workshops into practice in my next story, and every other story I create after that.

I still have more advanced learning to do sometime in the future, but for now, I just need to keep writing stories and publishing them using all the skills I have learnt so far

If you want, visit wmgpublishingonline and read about the different workshops that are available.

Also, during the past few weeks, I have been editing Sensing Danger II and III, and working on covers. I hope to have the covers completed in another week or two and the stories formatted and uploaded to the distributors.

Of course, creating covers is an ongoing process of learning, including different layouts, branding, colour meanings, suitable genre graphics, and many other details, but it is all fun, and I guess, the more I practice, hopefully, the better I will get.

I am planning on using Nick Stevenson’s marketing process on the Sensing Danger series to see if I can build my email list. I will be happy to discuss the results, if any, in a few months after publishing the series. I blogged about Nick Stevenson’s marketing strategy here.

Learning different marketing techniques is one area where I struggle, either because I don’t believe in pushing my stories forward or because I just don’t enjoy the marketing side of writing.

Also for the past two weeks I have been watching the Wimbledon Tennis coverage late at night. I am afraid I can’t stay awake all night like I used to, so I only got to watch 3-4 hours of tennis before I fell asleep. However, it was fun, and relaxing. I only have the men’s final to watch tonight, before I can return to a full 7-8 hours sleep each night.

I finished reading through the Forward Motion Two Year Novel Course. Most of the information covered in this course has already been covered by Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways course, but I was happy to read through Lazette Gifford’s take on the writing process. I guess if I only learnt one thing in the course it was worth it, however, I learnt more than one thing, so I was happy I took the course.

Forward Motion is a wonderful site to discuss anything to do with writing with other wonderfully helpful writers. So if you want to talk to other writers, visit Zette’s site, sign up for a free account, and look through any of the discussion threads for answers to any questions you have on writing, or editing, or publishing.

Another good reason to visit Forward Motion is their chat rooms. Even I find it easy to use (after the first few times) and I even participated in conversations with other writers. If you do visit the chat rooms, make sure you read the rules before you sign in.

I am still working through another course, How to Write A Series Extension by Holly Lisle, and putting all the processes into action in my Sensing Danger series. That course is ongoing, because Holly is writing each lesson as she works through her current series.

I finally found time to write the code to add the details of my Createspace reports into my Royalties database, and then update my ROI spreadsheet. All fun, and interesting to take note of which stories sell and which don’t sell many copies or even no sales. It is also interesting to visually see the graphs showing which months sales increase, and which months there are very few sales.

I also spent a few days getting my accounts in order ready so I can fill out my tax returns as soon as I get the forms. That is another job I really don’t like, but need to do, no matter what business I am in. 🙂

I did read about some changes to a few of the eBook distributor sites.

There is really nothing I can add to all the discussions on the changes at Amazon KDP Select, except to say publishing is a business, like any other. We all have to make decisions that are best for us, the authors and publishers. Learn each distributor’s rules then make choices.

If you want to publish exclusively with KDP Select then you can not publish on all the other sites. If you publish on all the different distributor sites, then you don’t use KDP Select, so the payout changes there won’t effect your sales.

If you write romance you may have noticed that Scribd cut their catalogue and you may have some of your stories removed. If you need advice on how to move forward if your romance stories were removed, visit Smashwords blog to learn what you can do to help your sales. Also read the comments for more information.

I read one comment about another site called Obooko which publishes free books. I need to look into how many readers participate in the site, and study their TOS for unexpected surprises, if any. But, I was thinking, if you do publish a series where the first book is permafree, then you could look at uploading to obooko. If readers find your free book on obooko, they can follow your back matter list of other books to the other distributors.

If you have tried okooko, please share your experience with me in the comments.

I did read that Barnes & Noble is planning on closing their Nook store in most international countries, including Australia, so after 8th August, 2015, the Nook store will only be available in the US and UK. You can check out the details here.

From what I can gather, as an Australian reader, I will not be able to purchase eBooks from B&N, but as an author, I think my eBooks will still be available for sale to US and UK readers, so I don’t see a problem with altering my Smashwords details to exclude B&N from the distributor list of my eBooks. As I learn more, I may change my mind about keeping my books available in B&N.

Do you agree with my summing up the B&N situation? Or do you see a problem with B&N for international authors in the future?

Have you been learning more techniques to improve your writing lately?

Have you been following the different distributor rules and regulation changes?

Also, please comment if I missed any news items regarding distributors over the past month or so.

Remember, keep writing and having fun.


2 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    Sometimes you just have to put your head down and push through to get things done. I’ve been doing that lately, too. Knowledge is never wasted and those courses can only help your writing.

    I find the furor over every change that Amazon makes kind of amusing. If authors only depend on one distributor for their books, these things are going to happen. It amazes me that with all the free marketing info online and the many different distribution channels, people still insist on putting all their stories in one place, then cry when the rules change. Duh, Amazon is a business and businesses are trying to make money, not hold author’s hands.

    I still go back and forth on whether or not to start out exclusive with Amazon simply to get exposure or to distribute wide and build up my base. Personally, I’m excited by all the opportunities.

    Good luck with your courses and writing!

    • D J Mills on

      Yes, but I do enjoy some tasks much more than others. So, I tell myself if I complete tax expenses/forms by a certain day, I can play with covers and images for a week or two. Bribery gets a lot done in my household! 🙂

      My sales continue (slowly) on KDP but I have no intention of removing my books from other distributors just so I can play in KDP Select. 🙂 However, placing the first of a new series in KDP Select so it can be loaned to Prime readers is a smart move. Then when the 3 months are up, place in all distributors, along with at least two more in same series, and watch the sales. 🙂 Just smart marketing. 🙂

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