GeoRiot is a free tool that may be useful to those of you who are marketing Amazon Kindle e-books.
I’m going to explain it simply because not everyone will be familiar with the basic concepts.
Amazon stores are country specific i.e. those of us living in Britain shop through Amazon.co.uk, those in the US buy through Amazon.com and there are also geographic specific sites for France, India, Germany and many more.
Most e-book marketing is global via the internet, using blog posts, Facebook, newsletters, paid-for adverts etc. Authors using these methods will endeavour to provide readers with a direct link to the Amazon page for the e-book being promoted.
However, unless the author provides the individual link for each geographical Amazon site, there will be users somewhere in the world who don’t reach their ‘home’ Amazon site and, if they want to buy the book, will have to navigate there by themselves. Many of them won’t bother. When the link provided doesn’t take them where they want to go, they’ll click on to something else instead.
But it looks clumsy and messy to list around a dozen Amazon links every time you mention your book on the web.
GeoRiot creates a single web address for an Amazon product. This address will always take the user directly to his ‘home’ Amazon site. If the link is clicked in the UK then it will route the user to Amazon.co.uk, if the link is clicked in the US then it will route the user to Amazon.com and so on.
Here’s an example. When advertising Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners I could list each geographical link:
For buyers in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
For buyers in the US: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
For buyers in Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
Or I can use just one global link provided by GeoRiot: http://georiot.co/40oj
I think it looks much more professional to provide a single link.
GeoRiot provide this service for free unless you are an Amazon affiliate and then they take a small percentage of your affiliate earnings. For more details on how this payment system works see the GeoRiot website and Nick Daws’ comprehensive blog post where he goes into this and the mechanics of GeoRiot in much more detail than I have.
That’s it – I hope I haven’t blinded any of you with science!
Last Saturday I had a great time (and learned a lot) at a workshop organised by the Birmingham Chapter of the
Sue Moorcroft came to talk to us about writing romantic novels. She gave us much good advice such as:
- Know the publisher/market you are aiming for before beginning the book and she told us that Harper Impulse are currently open to submissions.
- Have a one sentence synopsis to describe the book and also know what tone you are writing in i.e. light and frothy, grittty, tearjerker etc.
- When planning the story, avoid listing the scenes/ideas down the page. Instead use a spider diagram so that your brain is not chanelled into what happens when too soon – instead your mind can jump about and pick the most appropriate scene.
- What should you do when a story runs out of steam or you have a ‘saggy’ middle? Introduce something dramatic such as the revelation of a secret, a new character (maybe an ex-boyfriend or an illigitimate baby), a skeleton in the cupboard or anything else that will add drama to the situation.
- Keep the hero and heroine apart by giving them conflicting goals.
- The traits required of heros and heroines – they should both be decent, honest people but should have some flaws and vulnerability like the rest of us.
- A prologue (where the book lends itself to it) gives the author two chances to hook the reader (once in the prologue and once in chapter one)
- Chapter One should move the story forward. Do not clutter it with back story or scene setting.
- An epilogue can be used to prolong the reader’s feeling of happy satisfaction at the end of a book. It may be a wedding, new baby or other tieing up of loose ends.
- When writing, remember Act, React and Interact. This will make it easier to Show rather than Tell. For example the characters should react to their environment – such as squinting at the sun – rather than the author describing the sunny day.
We had a lovely buffet lunch and the whole day ran smoothly. Special mention should go to Marilyn Rodwell for her organisational skills and her doughnuts which gave us all a sugar kick first thing in the morning!
And if you’d like more of Sue’s invaluable advice take a look at her book Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction - available in paperback or as an e-book.
This collection is my Kindle ‘best seller’ and hasn’t been enrolled in KDP Select for a long time meaning I’m free to publish it elsewhere.
So, how did I find the Kobo publishing process?
The hardest part was creating a Kobo login ID to allow me to start the process.
If the email address entered into Kobo is registered to a Facebook account then Kobo requires you to login with your Facebook credentials. I didn’t want to do this and went round in circles until I discovered that the only way to keep my Kobo and Facebook accounts separate was to login to Kobo initially with my Facebook account and then, within the Kobo ‘My Account’ page, un-link Facebook from my Kobo account.
Complicated or what?!
Kobo accepts manuscripts in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word .doc and .docx, and then converts them to .epub. Initially I uploaded my manuscript as .docx but when I checked the finished product using the Kobo previewer (which isn’t as good as the Kindle one) the line spacing seemed very wide.
So, I downloaded the free conversion software Calibre and converted my .docx file to e.pub. Then I uploaded the .epub file to Kobo and the result looked much better.
This all sounds very complicated and technical – but it’s not! There is a guide available on the Kobo website full of tips about how to format your Word document to ensure the best results. I used the same manuscript that I’d formatted for Kindle according to the instructions in Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide and, once I’d discovered Calibre, had no further problems.
Having said that, if anyone downloads the Kobo version and finds the formatting isn’t up to scratch – please let me know!
Next, I have to work out how everything works on the Kobo site …
Ian Skillicorn from Corazon Books has been in touch to tell me about two free to enter competitions that he’s involved with:
Historic House Short Story Competition
This competition is being run by Corazon Books and the Historic Houses Association to celebrate the publication of The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine Gaskin. This modern classic by the bestselling “Queen of Storytellers” has recently been reissued by Corazon Books in ebook format, in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The Property of a Gentleman is a tale of intrigue, mystery and romance, set in a fictional earl’s ancestral home, in the dramatic landscape of England’s Lake District.
Entrants to the competition must submit a short story of between 1,500 to 2,500 words. The story must take place in, or be inspired by, a historic house (real or fictional). The submissions deadline is Friday 26th September 2014 and the winner will be announced on Monday 17th November 2014.
The winning writer and a guest will be treated to a private tour and afternoon tea with the owners of Levens Hall in Cumbria. The winner will also receive a cash prize of £150, and a double Friends membership for the Historic Houses Association. Two runners up will each receive a double Friends membership to the Historic Houses Association. Corazon Books also plans to publish an e-book anthology of the best entries, with each writer receiving royalties for their published story.
Full details of the competition can be found here.
The Write Time competition
“The Write Time” competition offers the winner a two-year digital publishing contract, with full editorial and marketing support, and a generous royalty on all sales.
The organisers are looking for compelling fiction for adults from a previously unpublished author. For the purposes of the competition, “previously unpublished” is defined as a writer who has never had a publishing contract for a short story collection, novella or full-length novel, which offered royalties and did not require any payment from the writer. So, even if you have self-published your writing, you are still eligible to enter.
Work can be submitted in the genres of family saga, historical, medical, mystery and suspense, and romance (contemporary or historical).
For the first round of the competition, entrants should send a 200-500 word synopsis and the first three chapters of their novel/novella before 16th June 2014. Entrants who pass this first round of submissions will be asked to send the complete novel in September this year. The winner will be announced in November.
Entry to the competition is free, but writers must include an entry code which they can find (along with all the other details about the competition) on the Mature Times website.
This week I’ve got a couple of writing-related things that might interest you.
Firstly, eBookSoda is an e-book promotion newsletter sent daily, and free of charge, to readers’ inboxes. Until March 26th 2014 it is FREE to advertise your e-book in the newsletter. After this date there will be a $5 cost to have an e-book mentioned in the newsletter.
So why not get your skates on and click here to get a bit of free publicity for your book? The book doesn’t have to be on a discounted or free special offer (although many of them are) – it must just be $4.99 or less and have at least eight reviews with an average star rating of 3.5.
Alternatively, if you simply want to hear about the e-books available (many of which are on special offer) sign up for the eBookSoda free newsletter.
Secondly, crime novelist Judith Cutler has brought the AsparaWriting Festival to my attention. It is specifically designed for aspiring writers. During the event you can learn from the professionals about writing crime, history, comic or straight fiction and poetry. There are events scheduled from 23rd April 2014 to 21st June 2014 in the Evesham area.
There’s also a short story competition with a £100 first prize and a trophy. The story should be no more than 6,000 words (3,000 for junior entries), written in English, set in the Vale of Evesham or the Cotswolds, should fit into the crime genre and include asparagus. But you’ll have to start writing now – the closing date is March 29th 2014.