Friday, December 3, 2021

How Much Should You Spend: Remembering The Vegas Rule


One thing I've learned is if you're an author and you just add expenses as you go, you end up spending a lot more than you planned. Eight years into this gig, I'm a lot better at planning ahead. If I'm not releasing a new title, if I'm just promoting the books I already have, this is what my budget currently looks like. As you can see, it still adds up, but it actually only ends up being $22.75 per month. Per the Vegas Rule, this is spending what I can afford to lose: about the price of a pizza. Keeping costs low means that even if I don't sell any books at all, I'm OK. If I do sell some, it's a bonus.

Every author will have a different budget. As you can see above, there's a cost for a year's worth of my website, a cost to keep the domain name (www.amieryan.com), about 80 for advertising (although I do try to get freebies online whenever I can--the image above was created, totally free, with a site called Canva), the cost to keep Starfish on the TaleFlick site for another year in the hopes it will get optioned again, and the cost of entering one writing contest, just for fun.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Should you try to get your book into libraries?


Should you try to get your book into libraries? This is a good question. After my book Starfish got into the Seattle Public Library system, I kind of forgot to try to take it to any other library system until my friend and bookcover artist (The John to my Paul) Dane Egenes asked me if I'd ever thought about getting it into the King County Library System. That's what motivated me to contact them and suggest it.

Before I wrote any books I just assumed all the U.S. libraries were somehow connected--that if a book went into one, it went into all of them. It turns out that within each state there are several different library systems, each with their own criteria for accepting books into their catalog. King County, for instance, has an eight point criteria, including that the book be "edgy." 

Whether or not TO do it is a good question. It does make the book available to anyone, without cost, so that's a plus. Some people think it means if a person can check out an author's book at the library it will lead them to seek out other books they've written, but I don't know if that's really true.

Moneywise, it doesn't really make anything for the author. At the time the book is accepted, the library system will purchase a certain number of copies (usually with a discounted rate), so the author receives the royalties for those copies at the time of sale, although a discounted rate means a discounted royalty. For me this is about $2 instead of $3. After that the author receives no royalties from this library book no matter how many times it's checked out.

Anyway, after KCLS accepted Starfish, I thought I should do an experiment and try out 14 public libraries across the U.S. One of the frustrating parts is that even if a library accepts your book into their catalog, they don't necessarily notify you. Of course, if they don't want the book, they really have no reason to notify you. So either way, you just sit there, going: I wonder what's going on. With KCLS they didn't notify me and then I went onto their site and searched the catalog, and there Starfish was, in three branches, so that's how I found out.

Some will only accept book suggestions if they come from one of their library's cardholders, and you have to be a resident of the city to get a library card. 

Some want you to send a copy of the book. Some specify not to send a book. All of them want to see something in the news about the book. This is where Starfish had the edge over my other books, because it had been optioned and there was a press release. It helps if you've had the book reviewed by Publisher's Weekly or Kirkus Reviews, but I have reservations about doing this.

For one thing, it's really expensive, at least, it seems expensive to me. A Kirkus review is $425 and a Publisher's Weekly review is $399. And that doesn't mean it will be a positive review. You can plunk down $425 and then read a negative review which will be of no help to you whatsoever. The idea of paying this amount really violates my Vegas Rule (only spend what you can afford to lose), but it also bothers me to think of spending this on one of my books and not all of them. It feels like having five kids and deciding only one of them can go to college.

You may be thinking: what about Amazon reviews? Some libraries will consider those but one I submitted to said right on their website: "We don't consider Amazon reviews to be reviews."

I don't have a PW or Kirkus review, but I do have the TaleFlick book assessment, which I've sent instead. That, the press release, a book description, an author bio, the genre, the recommended age reader, the nuts and bolts info: page count, book size, ISBN#, publishing date, the verification it's available with expanded distribution via Ingramspark. Some libraries have you send this and also fill out THEIR form which asks you to list the same information, much like applying for a job with a resume but you still have to fill out the employer's application, to show you aren't a moron and can follow directions without a bunch of attitude. Almost all the library systems say it can take up to six months before they make their decision, so for an impatient person like me, this sounds like a long time.

Anyway, so far (three days in) there are three libraries who require I send them a review copy, so I'm setting those libraries aside for a minute because I'm not sure I want to work that hard. I still might end up doing so, but I'm holding tight to see if I can get a bite without having to send copies. I'm limiting the experiment to 14 for now because if I add any more, I'll be checking my email 100 times a day.

All of you readers can help in this Starfish effort, if you feel like doing a good deed. If you own a library card, you can request your library carry Starfish On Thursday by Amie Ryan. You can either do this right at the checkout desk or you can go to the library's website and click on the tab REQUEST A BOOK and do it there. Can't find that ? Click on the CONTACT US tab and request it there. I would be grateful to any of you who feel inclined to do this, in whichever state you are in. If you live outside the United States, you can still request your local library carry this book, wherever you are. I thank you in advancešŸ˜Š



To learn more about my books, please visit www.amieryan.com

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy News




I just learned the King County Library System has added my book Starfish On Thursday to their shelves in three branches: Bellevue, Redmond, and Issaquah. What a great surprise!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Meet author Joe O'Neill


Joe O’Neill was inspired to write the Red Hand Adventures while on safari in Sri Lanka. As he was driving along in an old jeep, under the full moon casting silhouettes of wild elephants against the jungle wall, the image of a rebel orphan in old Morocco popped into his head. While he wishes he could take credit for the idea, it was a story that was already out there, waiting to be told. Joe is the CEO and founder of Waquis Global Services. He is also the founder and owner of an independent middle school focused on a next generation approach to education that connects students to their community and then to the world. Joe loves soccer and is a fanatical supporter of Liverpool FC and his local team, the Portland Timbers. He lives in the Columbia Gorge in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, daughter, dog, and 3 cats. There are 5 books in the Red Hand Adventure series, available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Joe-ONeill/e/B00C5QW6LS/ 




SUPER FUN AUTHOR Q AND A:


Q: The first book features 4 main characters. Do these 4 appear in all of the books in the series?

A: Yes, the books feature all four characters, but they end up having very different storylines. They grow with the books and, I hope, each character matures with their experiences.


Q: What is the recommended age range for each of the books and why?

A: Well, most kids aged 10 - 12 love the books. But, we’re finding that a lot of adults read the books as well (which is what I’d hoped for). Many booksellers and librarians have found that, as kids kind of get tired of books about wizards, dragons, and wimpy kids, they want to move onto to something a bit more mature before the YA market (which is inundated with books about romance, high school misery, zombies, and vampires) and there just isn’t a lot out there. These books are good old-fashioned adventures and that resonates with a lot of kids, parents, teachers, and librarians. It’s interesting because a few parents are a bit concerned with the level of violence but we’ve never had any complaints from the kids. A lot of what happens in the first book (about slavery and camel racing) is completely true and still takes place in this day and age. I wanted kids to understand there is still tremendous inequality in the world and the reality is far, far more violent and brutal than what is described in the books. 

Q: Which parts of the books were the most fun to write?

A: Great question. I really loved developing Sanaa because she’s so capable and fearless. I love it when then boys have certain escapades because I get to inject some humor into those chapters. Overall, I just love writing these books and introducing new characters. I’m halfway through the sixth book and I thought that’s where the series might stop, but I’m already gathering ideas for a completely new storyline. For me, researching historical events has been very rewarding. I’m learning about passages of histories that I never studied in school and that has been very rewarding. 

Readers can visit https://www.redhandadventures.com/ to learn more about the author and his books. By signing up on the site with an email, readers can access a  fun activity page which features, in addition to crosswords and search a word puzzles, neat cryptogram puzzles and downloadable extras.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Help me decide!

A few months ago, TaleFlick began accepting short stories and articles into their catalogue and last month an article was optioned for use as a feature film. They've already assigned a screenwriter and secured an actor for one of the leading roles. This made me think about submitting one of my stories, and I've narrowed it down to two: The Good School or Michael And The Monster. Which one do you think I should choose?






Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Kindle Vella


I wanted to tell you about a brand new thing Amazon will be trying out in the next couple of months. It's called Kindle Vella and it will be a way readers can enjoy stories published in installments, just like Samuel Clemens used to do it. 

The way it will work for you, the reader, is this: to try it out, you'll go to either Kindle or amazon.com and then you'll decide which one of 15 different story types you'd like to try: thriller, scifi, etc. Then you'll be given a bunch of options of stories to try out. The cover page will include a description of the plot and then you'll be able to read several installments of that story for free. Each installment will be between 600-5000 words. After you've read the free installments, you'll have the option of continuing to read more installments of the story by purchasing tokens. The pricing of the tokens will end up being about one dollar for each installment after the freebies.

Amazon is trying this out with America based KDP authors first, and later will expand this to include other Amazon channels worldwide.

Do you think you would like reading a book this way? Each of us KDP authors received an invitation to participate and I'm thinking I might do it. Here's a link to tell you more about the Kindle Vella program: https://kindlepreneur.com/kindle-vella/ I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this. It sounds like authors still have a lot of questions about it but no one wants to miss out, just in case it might turn out to be a big thing.