Tag Archives: kindle

eBooks Know No Age

Just a few minutes ago I received an e-mail from one of my authors. She expressed her concern at the closing of her local Borders. Unless you live under a rock, you already know about Borders financial woes.

This author’s concern was for the seniors living in her area who will no longer have a place to gather for their book club. Money doesn’t seem to be the issue in this particular community as she mentions they have a bit of disposable income. They have been meeting at the Borders, talking books, and sipping warm beverages. Now there is concern as to where they can go. Does their book club have to end?

No, I say! This is the time to learn and educate more readers about eBooks. Kindles and Nooks are very senior friendly.

Advantages:

  • Font sizing options. This makes it easier for readers to decide what size letters they are reading.
  • Prices are coming down on devices and eBooks. Some of the devices are still over $200, but there are much more reasonable options in most models. In fact I saw the new Kobo Wireless eReader at Wal-mart for $99.00.
  • Devices are lightweight and easy to hold and manage.
  • Many of the same books are in eBook allowing them to continue to buy them, they will just have to find some special little. You can find eBooks at so many places it is nearly impossible to list them all.
  • Freedom from clutter. Many seniors living in assisted living or who have downsized have limited storage space. eBooks allow them to still purchase books from their favorite authors without stuffing one more paperback under the dining room table.
  • Flexibility. There are all manner of stories out there to read in various lengths. You can find everything from short stories to epic sagas. eBooks put them at your fingertips, literally, within minutes.

I could go on about the value of eBooks, but I hope that if you have already discovered the joys and wonders of eBooks, you will go out and tell your friends, your family, and your neighbors, no matter their age. Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to experience eBooks?

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Smart Marketing to Eliminate Missed Sales

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Okay, so I go to the grocery store today and I am in the checkout lane. Impulse buy Hell, you’ve all been there. So, I’m looking at magazines and something catches my eye, hmm, Ronald Reagan at 100. Hey wait one damn minute! Ronald Reagan isn’t 100, he’s DEAD!!!!! Okay, so you must be thinking, oh that pesky National Enquirer, no my friend, this is LIFE magazine. They have done an entire special edition on a man who has been dead for…well, a long time!!

LIFE, really??? You can’t find anything else to put on the newsstand than an entire magazine devoted to a dead man? This really pissed me off. In fact, so much so that two hours later, I am sitting at my desk still seething and blogging about it. What the heck does it matter to me? It really doesn’t, not like you would think. It did, however, get me to thinking about how authors and publishers market books.

As a publisher, I try to be careful in my keywords and search options when marketing our books. I want people to be able to find them when they are looking for them. For example. We just released OUTWITTED, book two in the Sadie Witt Mystery series, by Beth Solheim. So how do you think we should make this book searchable? It’s about a senior citizen, female, who can see and talk to the dead. So I use keywords like seniors, afterlife, senior citizens, female sleuths, women slueths. It is set at a resort in Minnesota that is owned by two sisters who have a dog (Belly Lugosi) that plays pretty prominently into the stories. So I also use words like Minnesota, MN, dogs, dog lovers, mystery, mysteries, sisters, family business. All of these words would (or should) increase the chance of readers finding this book if they are searching any of these terms. This can only increase our chance of being discovered.

What is happening thought is that authors and publishers seem to want to get the most exposure they can, so they put in these random words that have nothing to do with the book because those words might lead to very active searches. I went into Kindle when I got home to see what mysteries with women sleuths were out there. I found some. But I also found J.A. Konrath? Women sleuth? Really? How about hard-boiled thriller. In my opinion Jack Daniels is a detective/cop, not a sleuth. I also found several Harlen Coben (Myron Bolitar, not a woman sleuth), Stuart Woods (Stone Barrington, so not a woman sleuth), James Patterson (Alex Cross, not a woman sleuth), J.R. Rain (Jim Knighthorse, not a woman sleuth), and numerous others who are not even close to being books about women sleuths. The ONLY thing I can figure these books have in common with that phrase is that the books actually have women in them. Many of them are dead, but they are women nonetheless.

Why does this matter? Well, to me, as a reader, it matters because it wastes my time when I go searcing for something specific and I have to wade through a bunch of crap (not that these books are crap, some of them are quite good, but that is beside the point right now) that is irrelevant to my search. It pisses me off in a big way that of the top 100 selling books at Amazon.com in the women sleuth category, over half of them are incorrectly catagorized. Where the hell are the actual books featuring women sleuths? It really irritates me that Beth Solheim’s book about a frisky 60+ woman who talks to the dead is not in that list because it has been bumped down by thrillers, police procedurals, horror, and all manner of other genre books that do not feature women sleuths, or in many case living women.

Authors and publishers note: If you want people to find your books when they are looking for a specific genre, you might actually want to mention those genres and keywords in your search functions. What happens if you don’t? You run the risk of pissing off the readers who are looking for something else and then I promise you, we will remember your names and in my case and that of many of my friends who I have whined to about this, we will not buy your books or suggest them to others just because you wasted our time and pissed us off.

Use your power for good when setting up the parameters for how readers find your book. You also should consider that if readers are looking for something tame and easy to read without having nightmares for months after reading, by misleading them into assuming that you told the truth when you classified your book as a woman sleuth book, you will lose that reader the first time your serial killer cuts out someone’s tongue and hangs in on a chain around his neck. I’m just saying.

As for you, LIFE magazine. What the hell are you thinking? Probably most of the info you killed however many trees to publish in this special edition about Ronald Regan at 100 can be found on the Internet or already in the library where more trees did NOT need to die. Come on!!!

Amazon Bashing. Why people?

Okay, I have been seeing the link for the article “Books After Amazon” by Onnesha Roychoudhuri on the Boston Review site. It took me a couple of days to build up the curiosity to read yet another negative article about Amazon and Kindle. I was not disappointed.

As has become the norm, the articles goes on to quote numerous unhappy publishers, offer support for failing independent bookstores, and a wee bit of bashing on chain stores. Anyone who has read any of my previous posts on Amazon knows that I support them wholeheartedly. They also know why, which leads us to Indy bookstores. I love Indy bookstores, I used to own one (I know the battles they fight), but these small stores are not enough to keep a small publisher in business, nor do most of them even care enough about us to be respectful when we approach them. I have also been pretty clear in my opinion that chain stores are most inadequate in their customer service (as is the case with many Indy bookstores.)  What does that leave us? Amazon.com

After reading the article at the Boston Review, I tried to post my comments. I thought it odd that there were no previous comments, but I had no problem being the first. But  my question was soon answered. The text box welcomed you to offer your comments, but the faulty Submit button robbed you of however many minutes in your life it took you to write your thoughts. So below, I have posted what I wanted to say at the Boston Review site.

It always amazes me to read these articles quoting publishers. How are those publishers chosen? Why don’t these articles ever talk to publishers who are happy with their relationships with Amazon. Amazon has saved my business. When Indy stores refused to carry our books or treat our authors with any respect, Amazon was there for us. We don’t complain about the discounts. We don’t participate in their co-op things, and yet we have never been harassed or threatened. Just what does a publisher have to do to be noticed. 10 years in this business and not one single organization has ever asked our opinion on anything. Funny…only the unhappy ones get the press.

Karen Syed
Echelon Press
http://echelonpress.com

I would like to offer you a challenge. I have a book in print and in eBook format. I challenge you to go to your local bookstore and buy a copy. DARK SHINES MY L OVE by Alexis Hart. If you are able to find it on the shelf and purchase it at that time (meaning it was on a shelf in any store), I will send you ANY eBook in our (Echelon Press) catalog FREE once you prove to me you made the purchase. For those of you unable to find it on any shelf in America and would still like to read this remarkable book (okay, subtly isn’t my strong suit) you CAN purchase it IMMEDIATELY at Amazon.com.