March 29, 2008

ARe (All Romance Ebooks) Free Promotional Opportunities

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:17 pm by laurie979

All Romance Ebooks has several free promotional opportunities available for authors. The details are listed below.

All Romance eBooks (ARe) is currently in the process of booking interviews and filling our guest author spots for the next quarter for our Wildfire newsletter. Spaces do tend to fill quickly so please respond as soon as possible if you are interested. The Wildfire is released every Friday to our customer base via email, then archived on our site for up to two years. This is a fabulous free promo opportunity. Each issue contains 2 industry interviews and one free read. Queries should be sent to: info@allromanceebooks.com

Interview Opportunity:
Interviews are conducted via email. You will be asked to answer 10 questions and provide a short bio, your backlist, a list of any upcoming releases, and relevant links that you would like us to post (i.e. website, blog, newsletter).

Guest Author Column:
We fea! ture one guest author each week who provides a free short read. This can be something previously published or something you intend to publish elsewhere, but it should not be an excerpt. We are open to all sensuality levels and all romance sub-genres. Preferred length is 200-2000 words.

If your submission is accepted, a contract will be sent to you. Established authors may be granted a reserved slot in advance of the manuscript being delivered based on a query. The intent of the contract is to establish that you own the rights to the work and that you are giving us non-exclusive permission to publish it in our newsletter and post it in our archive.

Many authors have used this opportunity to promote upcoming releases by writing a piece related to it. If you don’t have a new work that you are promoting, this is also a good opportunity to remind readers of your work. We always follow the story with a short bio, your backlist, a list of any upcoming releases, and ! relevant links that you would like us to post (i.e. website, blog, new sletter).

Guest authors are given a free “What’s Hot” spot on our home page for one week.

ARe Radio: What’s Hot in Romance
All Romance eBooks selects two authors each week to feature in their one-hour radio show, What’s Hot in Romance that airs live on Internet Voices Radio every Monday at 9:30 pm EST. Links to the podcast will be published in our weekly Wildfire newsletter, on our website, and provided to the author. Each of the two weekly segments will focus on a recent release in the romance genre and will consist of a 15-20 minute interview with the author followed by a 10-15 minute reading done by the author. Send query to info@allromanceebooks.com

Advertisements

Black Velvet Seductions & Amazon — The Sky is Not Falling!

Posted in Amazon Sales, BookSurge at 7:02 pm by laurie979

Good Afternoon,

By now most of you have probably heard about Amazon.com’s move to force print on demand (POD) publishers to use Amazon owned BookSurge in order to sell books directly through Amazon. For those who haven’t yet read about it, here is a link to a Wall Street Journal article which sums it up well.

I am sure that everyone is concerned about how this will impact sales and royalties at Black Velvet Seductions. I will share as much as I know with you now. However, this is written before I have had a chance to talk with our current printer to obtain their insight and to see whether they have any plans in place which might offset this move by Amazon. 

The idea of BookSurge printing our books is not a new one. We initially started out with BookSurge as our printer. At that time our books were small and paperback size. Fool Me Once, Bound by Fate, and Contract Bride were all first printed by BookSurge. Toy’s Story was submitted to them for printing but in spite of their submission guidelines saying they printed books that long, when it came time to actually DO it, they couldn’t. They never printed Toy’s Story because we elected to dissolve our relationship with BookSurge and use Lightning Source as our printer at about that time. Our move at that time was motivated by several factors. We were not happy with the service offered by BookSurge. It was not possible to reach their offices by phone. One either had to call and leave a message or email and it would sometimes be a couple of days before there would be a response. We were also not happy with the turn around time (the time between submission of book files and arrival of finished books) offered by BookSurge. The company advertised two days from submission of files until they would have a printed book. Turn around times were more like three to four weeks in most cases. Although we were not satisfied with the services offered by BookSurge our decision to use Lightning Source for our book printing was based largely on the fact that Lightning Source offered many additional channels of distribution that BookSurge did not. BookSurge offered predominantly Amazon and listing with a few other online venues. They didn’t include listing with either of the big distributors in the US (Ingram’s or Baker & Taylor). They didn’t offer listing with Ingram’s at all, and listing with Baker & Taylor was an additional fee. They did not have any relationship at all with distributors outside the US, other than Amazon.

Lightning Source by contrast offered listing with Amazon, listing with Ingrams, Baker & Taylor, and several UK distributors. We saw an increase in book sales in the “through the printer’s distribution channels” part of the business with the move to Lightning Source. Figures are not available for how many of the books sold through the printer’s channels are Amazon sales and how many are sold through Ingrams or Baker & Taylor orders.  Books sold through Amazon and distributors like Ingrams and Baker & Taylor are reported to us via a statement from Lightning Source which includes the number of sales, without details of whether the sale was through Amazon, BN.com, BAM.com, or a brick and mortar bookstore. 

Though I have just learned about this move by Amazon today, and haven’t been contacted by Amazon, BookSurge or Lightning Source at this point, I can say at the outset that Amazon will will have to do more than not include us in their free shipping offer to make us switch to BookSurge. The BookSurge experience was not a good one…and we were with them at the time that they were owned by Amazon, so the argument that it is all changed and is better now doesn’t really float.
 
As far as I can tell from everything I have read, this new tactic by Amazon would not remove our books from Amazon. They would continue to be there. The book pages would continue to have all the information they currently have, but when it was time for the buyer to buy they would not be able to buy direct from Amazon. Instead they would have to buy from another Amazon store.  The interface for the customer isn’t much different and is like that we see when we buy a used book rather than a new one at Amazon. From the customer’s perspective it still looks very like an Amazon transaction. The big downside is for those customers who qualify for free shipping. Our books would no longer qualify for Amazon’s free shipping. Would it cost sales…maybe a few…  Would it cost as many as giving up all of the brick and mortar distribution channels, which is what we would be giving up if we gave in to Amazon’s arm twisting? I don’t believe so.

We also need to consider that most of our competitors will also be facing this same issue unless they already use BookSurge.

For us, and for our authors, I don’t see this having a huge financial impact or meaning a large loss of sales. For most of our authors Fictionwise is still the single site responsible for most sales, especially in early release. In general sales through all of the printer’s distribution channels account for a very small percentage of author royalties. This is because 1.) The amount we are paid for books that are sold through Amazon and other distribution channels managed by the printer is small. Each middle man along the way gets a piece of the pie and by the time we are paid the piece of pie we get is pretty small. We are paid a little less than $4 for books that sell on the Amazon site for $20. That means that rather than being paid royalties on the $20 sale authors are paid royalties on the $4 that Black Velvet Seductions is paid for the sale. The royalty has shrunk by about $1.60 BECAUSE the book was sold on Amazon instead of through the Black Velvet Seductions site, where the author is paid on the whole $20 sale. 2.) We do not sell a large number of books through Amazon and other printer managed distribution channels. Most authors receive less than 30 sales per month through those channels. 3.) Black Velvet Seductions is purposely not dependent on any single distribution channel. We have worked hard to make our books available through many different channels and to promote sales through all of them so that we would be hit less hard if a channel closed its doors, dropped us, or otherwise ceased to be viable for us.

Since authors are paid on a percentage of what we are paid they will continue to be paid the same percentage of what we are paid that they have always been. The question for me and for authors is, will us not being included in free shipping deals hurt our sales with Amazon enough to warrant returning our business to a company that didn’t live up to half of what it promised?

It’s possible (though I don’t think likely) that the drop in sales would be so large as to warrant that kind of change, but I rather doubt it as sales increased when we began using Lightning Source. I expect to some measure that sales through brick and mortar establishments that can order through either Ingrams or Baker and Taylor in the US or several distributors in the UK makes up the difference between larger sales after our switch. I expect that sales will remain pretty steady through this. If we do see a drop in sales then it will perhaps be time to begin sending our readers to sites other than Amazon to purchase our books. I understand BN.com offers free shipping, and Black Velvet Seductions has always offered free shipping in the US, Canada, and the UK.

At this point I am not advocating any action, other than perhaps writing to Amazon to voice disapproval of this action.

I am not in favor of ANY company twisting arms the way that Amazon/BookSurge is. The fact that they need to twist arms to make publishers use BookSurge seems pretty indicative that what they are offering/have offered in the past is not up to par with what others in the industry are offering. They might be better served to improve their service so that we will want to change, to earn our business rather than to demand it, but that seems to not be the course they’ve chosen.

I will take a wait and see attitude. If my arm gets twisted I will likely not give in. If I see a huge drop in sales when our books are removed from the free shipping part of Amazon’s program (which is really what seems to be being discussed) I will perhaps reconsider. However, it will take a lot to convince me that returning to BookSurge, a company that took 3-4 weeks to print books that were supposed to be printed in 2 days, is a good idea.
 
I will be contacting Lightning Source on Monday to find out what their take is. I will also be writing to Amazon to voice my displeasure at their tactics and to voice the reasons I would not be pleased to go back to BookSurge. Beyond that, we will wait and see what happens and make decisions based on what does transpire. We will of course be making decisions which we believe to be in the best interests of our authors and our company. The company is structured such that we succeed only if our authors do.

In short, nothing is really expected to change much at Black Velvet Seductions as a result of Amazon’s demands, which have not been presented to us at all thus far. If demands are printed they will in all likelihood remain unmet. The royalty structure will remain the same, as it was originally devised to weather exactly these kinds of changes, and in fact, did weather them with the initial switch from BookSurge to Lightning Source.

Please feel free to post any questions you might have. I will do my best to answer them. 

March 19, 2008

Coffee Time All Day Chat (Not BVS Only) Today March 19

Posted in Chats tagged at 8:09 am by laurie979

Good Morning,

There is not much notice of this one. I only received notice of the chat in my inbox at 6:30 this morning.

You will have to be a member of the Coffee Time Exotic Group to participate.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/karendevinkaren/

Coffee Time is hosting an all day chat that might be an appropriate venue for some of our authors who either have already written or who are writing erotic romance with cowboys, leather, or more… (I’m not sure what “more” encompasses…but I am guessing pretty wide latitude.)

The blurb I was sent for the chat says:

March 19, 2008 Cowboys, Leather, & More. All Day Event for authors to share book covers, excerpts, and chat with readers about their erotic books.

March 17, 2008

Free Banner Ads — Free Trailer Links!

Posted in Free Banner Add Offer, Free Excerpt Hosting, Free Interview Opportunity, Free Link to Book Trailer, Free Promotional Opportunity, Simply Romance Reviews at 6:09 pm by laurie979

Good Afternoon Everyone,

See, I said it would be easier to share things, and I’d do it more on the fly rather than saving up for a big email. 🙂

I attended the Beth Wylde Reviewer’s Chat on Beth Wylde’s email loop over the weekend and made some good contacts and added quite a few new reviewers to the database that receives notice of new books to review.

One of the sites to contact me after the chat was Simply Romance Reviews and they have A LOT to offer authors…for free. I believe they are a new site, so it may be that they will offer these things only for a little while, so jump in now while they are free.

Where most review sites charge for their banner ads Simply Romance Reviews will put them up free. They also have a page for excerpts and another page where you can include a link to your book trailer. They have a lot of book trailers and they are romance focused, which I would think would be a positive.

Black Velvet Seductions has quite a few banner ads and will be sending some in for inclusion on the site. If you have a banner ad of your own you would like to include please let me know so I don’t send one of ours. If you have an idea for a banner ad for your book that is different than what we have please let me know. I can create banner ads with your choice of wordage and so on. The link for the page where you can find out about and submit your banner ads is on the promotions tab of the main site, or click here.

To submit your trailer link please click here.

You can also request an interview by clicking here.

BVS Now Has A Private Author’s Blog

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:02 pm by laurie979

Hello Everyone!

After some consideration I have decided to move most of my public communication with Black Velvet Seductions authors and contracted authors to this format. There are a few reasons for this. First, posting in a blog format keeps all of the messages categorized and organized so that they can be found when they are needed, which also prevents having to post things (like instructions for setting up an Amazon Listmania List) more than once. Second, it allows us a space to brainstorm and discuss where we can all take part in discussions and brainstorming activities without having difficulty with time zones, and without having to rely on email, Yahoo Groups, or distribution lists which have to be updated, and which leave people out of the discussions when they are not adequately updated. I believe it will also make it very easy for me to share things in a quick and easy way…which means you will probably receive a lot more stuff from me. Hopefully some of it will help you or encourage you or make your promotional efforts easier.  It will also make it easier for all of you to share the things you have to share with all of us at BVS. I am also hoping that it allows us to enjoy more of the camaraderie that we enjoy when we have group chats and group brainstorming sessions.

This blog (unlike the other ones we have) is set up to be private. Posts are not supposed to be indexed by Google or other search engines. However, be aware it is the internet…things happen in the internet world that shouldn’t. Don’t post something here that you would be absolutely mortified if it were to become public…because there exists the very small chance that it could.

For those who are new to blogs, as I was a short time ago, here’s how to make sure you don’t miss anything. 🙂

When you view the blog page there is an orange and white square just above the upper corner of the blog page. If you click on that little square it will allow you to subscribe to the blog feed…which means that the computer will automatically update and catalogue new posts in your favorites area if you are using Internet Explorer as your web browser. So…once you click the little orange square you will click where it says subscribe to this feed. Then just check the “feed” tab of the favorites area periodically. The new posts will be there and you will be able to click them. Alternatively you can just visit the blog and see what is new. 🙂  Here is the link to the BVS Author’s Blog. You might want to bookmark it. 🙂 https://bvsauthors.wordpress.com/

For a little while I will send emails to let everyone know that I’ve added something here. This is TEMPORARY. It is just to get everyone in the habit of looking here for information, links, goodies, etc. It is expected that very quickly everyone will be visiting here without the reminder.