Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eileann swallows a surge of fear in Ch 14/sc 1 of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay c2016 by Kim Headlee.
Though it doesn't feel like it in some respects, summer is indeed winding down. 

My daughter and thousands of other students her age have returned to college. My husband has returned to his high school math classroom.

For eight blessed hours a day, I have the house to myself once again.

(Cue the manic squealing. :D)

Okay, let's be clear: even when it's just me, I share the house with seven cats, one of whom snores. He's snoring right now, as a matter of fact. But that distraction doesn't hold a candle to the myriad demands of family.

With everyone else out of my hair, I can get back into a better writing schedule. The cats will just have to cope as best they can. Somehow I don't think that will be an issue for them.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....



Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b | Sc 3c |
Chapter 11: Sc 1aSc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 12: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4a | Sc 4b | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 13: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 2c | Sc 2d | Sc 2e | Sc 2f |

Raging Sea Chapter 14, Scene 1a
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

EILEANN clutched the basket of smoked salmon as she angled across the compound toward the wisewomen’s isolated broch, making sure that no one paid her heed. And why should they, she assured herself. She often brought gifts to the clan’s purveyors of womanly wisdom.

This time the salmon would represent not charity but payment.

Eileann reached the broch’s outer door, tugged it open, and slipped inside, thankful that her mission hadn’t been questioned. She did not wish to raise the clan’s hopes only to dash them if the confirmation she sought proved to be naught but a vagary of nature.

Waiting to greet her, holding a taper to ward off the gloom, stood the trio’s most recent inductee, a young woman now known as Fioruisge, “Spring Water.”

“Ah, Fioruisge, well met.” Eileann knew her birth name, of course, but out of respect for the wisewomen’s traditions, she kept it to herself.

The woman dipped a nod. “We were expecting you, my lady.” She turned to lead the way down the corridor to the inner chamber.

Expecting me?
 

Eileann swallowed a surge of fear and followed her guide.



***

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Business of Writing: Copyrighting Your Book #MFRWOrg #ASMSG


Photo © Scanrail | Dreamstime.com - Copyright symbol on computer keyboard
Here I am, getting ready to release my book The Business of Writing, and I've neglected to discuss book copyrighting.

So sue me. :D

The Basics.

You do not have to register your book's copyright. From the moment it exists in tangible or digital form, your work is automatically protected under US copyright law. Simply affix a notice in the frontmatter using this format:

Copyright ©20xx by Your Name

If you don't have access to the © symbol, it's acceptable to substitute the text equivalent: (c)

That's all there is to it.

Under Title 17 of the US Code (Copyright Law of the United States), an author's work "endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the author's death." There are exceptions for works of various types that were created before certain dates, but the lifetime plus seventy years duration is the general rule.

The full contents of Title 17 may be viewed via this web page: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/. For your convenience, it's organized by chapter, and you have the opportunity to download Title 17 in its entirety as a PDF file. Each chapter may be viewed either as HTML or as a PDF file.


The Next Level.

Although all created works enjoy automatic copyright protection, registering the copyright is a means of formally establishing the date of creation, which then becomes crucial in winning a plagiarism lawsuit. All traditional publishers and most small presses execute this option for every book they publish.

If your book is ready to be released into retail channels, or it already has been, and you wish to secure the next level of protection for your book, registering the copyright may be accomplished via the following steps:
  1. Visit the electronic Copyright Office (eCO; http://www.copyright.gov/eco/), affiliated with the Library of Congress, and establish an account.
  2. On the left-hand menu, under the category "Copyright Registration," in most cases you will select "Register a New Claim." A "claim" in this context means that you as author or publisher are claiming that the copyright of the work should be registered to you (or the author you represent). It has nothing to do with claiming copyright infringement.
  3. Follow the prompts to describe your work. The help files are quite extensive and will open in a new tab for your continued reference. In addition, the eCO home page contains links to tutorials and other tools.
  4. Pay the appropriate processing fee ($35 or $55 per title for online registration, regardless of whether you are required to mail physical copies of the book or are entitled to upload the digital version). Payment is accomplished via pay.gov, the payment site operated by the US Treasury Department, and you may choose to pay via electronic funds transfer from your bank account or via credit card. You must scroll down the page until you get to the credit card payment option. For more information, refer to Circular 4, Copyright Office Fees.
  5. Submit the required number of copies of your work. If it is only published electronically, you may upload a qualifying electronic file. However, if your book exists in print as well as e-book editions, and it is already published, then you must mail two copies of the "best edition" within 30 days to the Library of Congress at the address they provide during that phase of the registration process.

Once your books have been received and processed, the Copyright Office will mail you a certificate of registration.

The eCO web site is a bit cumbersome, but it's possible to create templates if you expect to be registering several titles containing much of the same data, such as author name and contact information.

Good luck with this and all aspects of your publishing endeavors!

***

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— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow<

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Please enter often, and good luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Arthur calls for the vote in Ch 13/sc 2f of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Pendragon Cove Press logo
c2014 by Natasha Brown.
In standard retellings of the Arthurian legends—versions wherein Arthur is depicted as having more than one half sister—he is at odds with all of them.

This can lead to undesirable redundancy, however.

Some authors address this issue by condensing the number of sisters down to one, usually the most famous of the lot, Morgan le Fay. The oldest versions, however, show Arthur as having three sisters. This is more than likely a nod to the ancient Celtic storytelling practice of triads; in other words, giving the hero three of something as homage to the triple goddess or, in Christianized versions, the Triune God.

I hark to the concept of triads in The Dragon's Dove Chronicles (Dawnflight, Morning's Journey, Raging Sea, etc.) in giving my Arthur character three sisters: Yglais, Annamar, and Morghe. I eliminate any redundancy by showing different sorts of relationships between the siblings.

In today's excerpt from Raging Sea, Arthur demonstrates how he feels about his sister Annamar and her children.


Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b | Sc 3c |
Chapter 11: Sc 1aSc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 12: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4a | Sc 4b | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 13: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 2c | Sc 2d | Sc 2e |

Raging Sea Chapter 13, Scene 2f
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Urien repeated his anti-Saxon sentiments even louder and angrier, getting a sizable number of chieftains to express agreement. He shared nods with them before addressing Bann. “I demand a vote! It is my right as a member of this council!”

Chieftain Bann seemed prepared to grant Urien’s wish but stopped before uttering a word. He stared toward the far doors, sympathy cascading in palpable waves over his countenance.

Arthur faced about to see what Bann was looking at.

And damned protocol for the second time that day to rush over to his sister Annamar and her two youngest children, Medraut and Cundre. All three looked bedraggled, weary, and fearful, and it wrenched Arthur’s heart to its roots.

Annamar collapsed against him, sobbing, and he held her in a long embrace while her children and Ygraine and Gawain and the rest of the family, even Morghe and Urien, clustered around them. “Loth?” Arthur whispered to Annamar, hating the answer but needing to know. “Is he—”

She pulled back and dabbed her nose with a cloth. “He lives. And fights. Gareth is with him. At least, as far as I know.” Her chin started trembling, but she set her jaw. “Loth sent us here while we could still get away, but I-I think—that is, I’m fairly sure that—that—” Thrusting a fist to her mouth, she jerked her head aside.

“Dunpeldyr may well be under siege by now, Lord Pendragon,” said one of the warriors who had accompanied Annamar and her children. “We need your help!”

“And you shall have it.” Council’s permission or no, Arthur would find a way. He looked back toward Chieftain Bann, who nodded at him. “My lord Bann, I suggest the council take that vote now.”



*** The end of Chapter 13 ***

I'm running a giveaway for an e-copy of Snow in July!
To enter, click HERE.

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***

All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow<

… and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books.

Please enter often, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Business of Writing: Pricing Strategies for Older E-books #ASMSG #MFRWOrg

Pre-decimal till, Museum of Liverpool.
Photo by Reptonix; free Creative Commons
license via Wikimedia Commons.
Welcome to the third and final installment of my series about book pricing on The Maze!

If you need to catch up, I covered print book pricing in part 1. In part 2, my article about e-book launch pricing, I cautioned against succumbing to the temptation of setting an e-book’s price in perpetuity, unless you’re making the title permafree.

The same caution applies to older titles, perhaps even more so, for several reasons.
  1. Lowering a book’s price periodically is a good way to entice new readers to try your work. This technique is especially helpful if you run regular Amazon giveaways to build your audience there. Everyone who follows your Amazon author profile will receive an email notification whenever you have dropped the price on one of your titles, which comes in handy to give your featured book a ranking boost prior to its scheduled advertising promotion such as BookBub. Success tends to breed success, and you cannot take advantage of this marketing principle if you never change your book’s price.
  2. Amazon has begun changing their comparative pricing policy on all products. For books, this means that they will eventually stop comparing your title’s print and Kindle edition pricing on the book’s product page. In other words, once they have completed this policy switch, you will no longer see your book’s print price crossed out, with its Kindle edition price underneath, to urge customers to buy the digital edition.
  3. If you don’t drop your book’s price at other retail sites such as Nook Press and Kobo, you won’t be able to avail yourself of Amazon’s price matching feature. Seeing the regular digital price crossed out with the price-matched value in bold print underneath can be a powerful sales incentive for many customers, especially those who are already predisposed to purchase your work. Everyone likes to believe that they are getting a great deal, and this technique is an effective way to create that impression.
  4. Even setting a permanent $0.99 price for your book may hurt your sales in the long run. Unless you’re planning to offer it free from time to time, you won’t be able to run a 99-cent promotion on BookBub due to their rule that no book will be considered if it has been offered at the submitted deal price for more than fourteen days out of the past ninety.

If you’re looking to do something drastic to breathe new life into an older title, especially if you have invested in a new cover and have overhauled the text, you cannot get more drastic than unpublishing it on all platforms, and then relaunching it a few months later. I have seen some authors take this action, though I have no insight on how their books’ sales fared after relaunch.

The key takeaway is that you are given tremendous power with your vendor account to steer your book’s retail career, and you will be well advised to take full advantage of this power everywhere you release your book for sale.

***

I'm running a giveaway for an e-copy of Snow in July!
To enter, click HERE.

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***

All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
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— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow<

… and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books.

Please enter often, and good luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

There's no reasoning with unreasonable men in Ch 13/sc 2e of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Pendragon Cove Press logo
c2014 by Natasha Brown.
As warleader, wielding no political authority, Arthur at this point in The Dragon's Dove Chronicles must play the long game, especially when it comes to dealing with his rival and former subordinate, Chieftain Urien.

And Arthur's game is a tricky one indeed. There is little love lost between these two alphas since Urien lost the woman he had hoped to marry—and her vast wealth—to Arthur in Dawnflight.

In today's excerpt from Raging Sea, Urien demonstrates just how much of a hold his wife, Arthur's youngest sister Morghe (Morgan le Fay), has upon him.


Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b | Sc 3c |
Chapter 11: Sc 1aSc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 12: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4a | Sc 4b | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 13: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 2c | Sc 2d |

Raging Sea Chapter 13, Scene 2e
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Chieftain Bann rose from his bench to face Urien. He lifted his arms, and the crowd quieted.

“My lord Urien, we share your outrage, and we agree that this wrong should be redressed. But I speak for everyone on the council when I say that all the troops we can spare at present are already committed to the Angli campaign—”

“Damn the Angli! They can wait! The Saxons need to be punished now!” Urien’s coloring was careening toward a dangerous shade of red.

“Then I wish you good fortune in your campaign, Urien,” said Arthur. “I can fight only one war at a time. Most of the legion is at Senaudon by now. To pull them back a second time will doom Clan Lothian.” And my other sister and her children!But of course there could be no reasoning with unreasonable men. Urien repeated his anti-Saxon sentiments even louder and angrier, getting a sizable number of chieftains to express agreement. He shared nods with them before addressing Bann. “I demand a vote! It is my right as a member of this council!”

Chieftain Bann seemed prepared to grant Urien’s wish but stopped before uttering a word. He stared toward the far doors, sympathy cascading in palpable waves over his countenance.

***

I'm running a giveaway for an e-copy of Snow in July!
To enter, click HERE.

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Subscribe today
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All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
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— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow<

… and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books.

Please enter often, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Business of Writing: Ebook launch pricing strategies #ASMSG #MFRWOrg

Pre-decimal till, Museum of Liverpool.
Photo by Reptonix; free Creative Commons
license via Wikimedia Commons.
Welcome to The Maze's second installment of a three-part series on book pricing. 

For your convenience, if you missed part 1 about print edition pricing, you may view it here.

This week I tackle the trickier concept of e-book launch pricing.

Why is e-book pricing trickier?

Because with the establishment of a vendor account for digital publishing comes the relative ease of controlling your book’s pricing.

There exists a great temptation to set a price and leave it in perpetuity. That’s the easiest approach, but unless you have decided to make your book permafree, in the long run that practice will cause more harm than good for its sales figures.

The launch price of an e-book depends upon a number of factors, including:
  • An author’s popularity. The bigger your fan base, the more you can get away with pricing your books higher than your book’s competitors.
  • Whether the book is fiction or nonfiction. Like it or not, digital fiction is now being perceived almost as a commodity, with readers demanding to read an author’s blood, sweat, and tears for nothing or next to it. Not so with nonfiction e-books, which can attract a fair number of readers even when priced at $9.99 or more.
  • The popularity of your book’s genre or subject matter. In general, books written for more popular genres can enjoy more sales at higher prices, but in a decision between two books by different authors, where both authors are unknown to the customer, she will usually opt for the lower-priced book unless influenced by other factors such as reviews, cover appeal, or synopsis.
  • If part of a series, its sequence number. Most authors discount or make permafree the first book in their series after other installments become available. This entices readers to acquire the earlier works for a modest investment, potentially earning the author more fans along the way.

When establishing the price of your book’s digital edition, you need to ask yourself whether you would rather maximize the number of downloads, or maximize your royalties.

Among the major e-book distribution platforms—Nook Press, Kobo, and iTunes, in addition to KDP—Amazon is the only one that forces authors to set a certain price in order to earn its highest royalty payout percentage. For all Kindle e-books, the minimum price to earn 70% royalties is $2.99 and the e-book must be priced no higher than $9.99; otherwise, the author earns only 35%.

If you wish to maximize your Amazon profits, then, you need to price your e-book to fall within the 70% royalty window. At a 70% royalty rate, a $2.99 book will earn the author $2.09 per download. At $0.99 and an enforced royalty rate of 35%, the Kindle edition of your book will earn $0.35 per download. It will take six sales at ninety-nine cents to surpass the royalties earned from one sale of a $2.99 book. If you think your title will perform well when priced at $2.99 or more, then go for it!

But if you’re like most independent authors whose work struggles to bob above the ocean of books available to readers, then you may be better advised to launch your title at $0.99 and hope to attract proportionally more readers at the lower price point.

That’s how I, as a relatively unknown author at the time, was able to get almost two thousand paid downloads of my medieval paranormal romance Snow in July during the first three months following its July 2014 release with no advertising on my part except for two blog tours. Those aren’t astronomical numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but the performance was good enough to keep Snow in July lodged in Amazon’s top twenty for the category of Teen and Young Adult Historical Romance for several weeks running, earning many more downloads by readers who habitually shop off the first page of the category rankings.

The ninety-nine-cent book launch strategy is by no means a proven formula; so many other factors affect buying decisions, including a book's cover, genre, synopsis, keywords, release date, and its author’s popularity. But in today’s climate of digital fiction being perceived as a commodity, it’s not a bad plan to follow.

Breathing new life into an older title is trickier still, and I will tackle that subject next week.

***

I'm running a giveaway for an e-copy of Snow in July!
To enter, click HERE.

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All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow<

… and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books.

Please enter often, and good luck!