Friday, September 30, 2011

On Vacation

No posts until Tuesday, October 4.

See you later!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

JA Konrath's Ebook Predictions

I had a dentist's appointment today (ouch, ouch, ouch!) so this is a short post.

Now that Amazon has lit a Fire under the Tablet market with the new Kindle, Joe Konrath is blogging about his prediction back in 2009 about the ebooks and ereaders. He's also got some predictions for the coming year in the e-marketplace.

Come on! you've got to admit, you either think the guy is a visionary or you hate him. Either way, he's a fun read most of the time. Head over to Joe's place A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Picking and Using Your Pen Name

Earlier this month Panzer and I discussed the reasons to use a pen name according to Bella Andre (aka Lucy Kevin)(aka Bella Riley). She suggested that when writing in multiple genres or sub-genres it was necessary to have a separate name for each. In this way as a writer you can create a platform for each genre.

Today, steampunk writer Calista Taylor is blogging about how to choose and then research a pen name. Finding a name isn't the end of the journey when using a pen name. There are some necessary steps you should follow to make sure the name is available. Calista lists the six research steps she took to verify the pen name she's chosen.

Read how Calista Taylor researched her pen name at A Rose By Any Other Name.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review: Writing Critique

If this is Tuesday, it must be Panzer's book review day. He picked Writing Critique: A Horror Short Story by Canadian writer Rebecca M. Senese for me to read to him.

Panzer loved this ebook. Although it's billed as a horror story, he knew right from the beginning that it's more black humor than horror. The story is told through an omniscient viewpoint with the God-like narrator telling what's happening to You. Any writer who has ever belonged to a writing critique group will know exactly what the narrator is describing. You take your baby, um, manuscript to the group for their adoration. Instead, they tell you your baby, um, manuscript stinks and she needs her diaper changed. Oh, and you should give her a bath too. We've all been there. Well, this story is even worse!

Panzer gives the ebook three and half paws up. He didn't like the little tail twist at the end. ('Nuff said about that; you'll have to read the ebook to find out what it is.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Designing Your Book Cover

Panzer and I have been working on a new ebook cover today. We decided we'd put together a cover for a short story we finished last week.

While looking for an image to use, we came across fiction writer S.M. (Sara) Reine's posts. She has three posts explaining how she put the cover together for her YA novel Six Moon Summer.

Her instructions are: Post 1: Concept, Post 2: The Rough Draft, and Post 3: Revisions, Titles, and Printing. She has samples for each post and explains how and why she did each step. As you finish each post, you can click to the next in the series.

I love the cover for this book! You'll find the instructions at S.M. Reine's blog at Designing Your Book Cover.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's Your Author Bio Myth?

Okay, you know Panzer and I have been tootling around the blogosphere for the last few days checking into marketing strategies. Today, we cruised over to writer Susan Sipal's blog Harry Potter for Writers.

Nosing around there Panzer found an interesting post. In the post Sipal puts forth the idea of writing your author bio myth and using it in your marketing. The example found in the post is how the story about J.K. Rowling's rags to riches story (as the on the dole mother who made it big writing) has become Rowling's author bio myth. Even though this wasn't strictly true, since she was working as a teacher when she got the book contract as Sipal points out.

I've seen the same kind of author bio myth with a romance author (no names here, so don't even ask)  I went to college with. This author says in her author bio myth that she was a stay at home mom who hadn't finished high school. She was writing her novels on rented equipment when she sold her first book. Another rags to riches story, but not entirely true as we were in college together when she sold that first book.

I have to admit, neither Panzer nor I are very comfortable writing an author bio myth about ourselves. I mean what are we going to say? (Tongue firmly in cheek here!) Panzer was the sixth of eight kittens born in a barn. His mother did her best to raise the kittens alone. His mother was too poor to send him to school. One day, Panzer decided to find a human (me) to write his adventures for him.

See what I mean? It's that myth part we're having a hard time with. What do you think Panzer should include in his myth? We've got to write something. Smashwords and Amazon both want author bios.

You can read Susan Sipal's post at Harry Potter for Writers. Then come on back and give us some ideas.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How Ebook Buyers Discover Books

Panzer and I have been cruising around the blogosphere looking for marketing tips. And guess what? We came across Mark Coker's post today about how ebook buyers discover books. How serendipitous is that?

Mark has posted the results of a survey he conducted at Mobileread about buyers' habits when purchasing an ebook. He gave the respondents 12 choices and then tallied the results.

The top two answers aren't too surprising to me. The first is through recommendations from blogs, forums, etc. What do you see here every Tuesday? What I'm reading to Panzer and he's recommending. The second is looking for the buyers' favorite authors. If you like what an author has written in the past, why would you look for an unknown, untried author?

Read Mark Coker's post How Ebook Buyers Discover Books to help you put together a marketing plan for your ebook sales success. I know I'm going to.

By the way, Panzer wants you to know he can be bribed with a few kitty treats to do a book review for you.

(Just kidding. Just kidding! Remember what we said about why we do book reviews.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dorothy Parker's Ashes' Macabre Dance

Today, attorney Passive Guy is sounding the alarm about the dead authors.

Dead Authors? Watch out! It's the Dead Authors!

No. No. Not zombie authors. Dead Authors.

Dead Authors who didn't make preparations for their demise. As a result of this lack of preparation there are all kinds of problems for their executors. Not the least of the problems is the disposition of the author's remains.

Passive Guy is posting about writer Dorothy Parker's ashes and the long journey to a suitable resting place for them. Hence, the macabre dance (I love that phrase) of this post's title.

Interesting stuff here. Makes you think about getting your own affairs in order.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pie and Cream at Joe Konrath's Place

Joe Konrath is blogging about the often repeated argument by detractors of the indie publishing world that the e-market place is becoming glutted with ebooks. Along with that argument, detractors also say you might as well not even get into the marketplace. There isn't enough pie to go around for everybody so you can't possibly make money ebooks.

I totally agree with Konrath's rebuttal to these arguments. The ebook marketplace can't become glutted, just like the traditional book world marketplace didn't/hasn't become glutted with books.  As long as people keep buying ereaders the market can't become glutted no matter how many ebooks there are. Each new ereader bought is increasing the size of the reading market. It follows that of course you can make money in the marketplace as it expands.

His rebuttal is so obvious to me,  I have a hard time believing he has to even blog about it.

To read Joe Konrath's rebuttal to the detractors' arguments against indie publishing, check out today's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

Panzer says Joe has got a lively comment section there, so be sure to read it, too.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Reviewer and Writer Needs Our Financial Help

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I don't usually post about serious issues. This is my place to play and have fun with Panzer and you. I like to share information with you about what I'm learning in the indie publishing world.

However, this is going to be a serious post. Book reviewer and writer Kevin Tipple and his family have gotten into a serious financial situation and need help. Kevin has an as yet undiagnosed disease which makes it impossible for him to work. His wife Sandi had a stroke a few weeks ago and now is not able to work either. They are in desperate financial straits. Kevin and his wife both need medications. If they can not raise the money for the rent for their apartment, they (and their two children) will be homeless by the end of the month. Kevin and his family really need financial help.

If you can help Kevin and Sandi, please go to Kevin's book review blog. Kevin has posted additional information about their situation at his blog. There is a Donate button on the left side of the blog. Right now, Kevin is only asking for help with this month's rent, utilities and medications. However, it appears this will be an ongoing issue, so please help as much as you can.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: The Dragon of Skar

For this week's book review Panzer picked the ebook The Dragon of Skar by Chris Turner for me to read to him.

Boy did we have fun reading this! It had something for both of us. Panzer loved the old time pulp-fiction feel of Conan (yes, that Conan!) and his side-kick Subotai's adventure. I loved Skar the fire-breathing dragon's adventure. After Conan saved Skar, she returned the favor. I keep telling Panzer, dragons know who their friends are. 

And they know who their enemies are. Now Panzer knows why there aren't any gnomes left.

Like all the old time pulp-fiction adventures, this is a fun read. By today's standards I'd give it a G rating. There's a little blood and gore, but no more than you see on the news on television on any night.

Panzer gives the ebook four paws up and a bag of popcorn.

The Dragon of Skar is available at Amazon for the Kindle.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Metadata And The Indie Publisher

Panzer and I have been cruising around the blogosphere looking for information on metadata. Metadata is an important aspect of the presentation of your ebook as an indie publisher.We blogged about it before back in July at Meta-Data What Are They Good For?

Today, we found an interesting post by Carla King about metadata and self-publishing. Metadata is an important part of your marketing plan. King's post includes instructions with illustrations on how to change the metadata in Word documents and audiobooks. She has links to add the metadata to Bowkers, Smashwords and Amazon. Some of the information is not specific to ebooks, but it's good background in case you intend to do a POD book later.

If you're interesting in learning about metadata, visit Carla King's post A Self-Publishers Guide To Metadata For Books.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Operation Paperback

Operation Paperback? I know. I know. Paper - back? Me who's always talking about Kindle ebooks and now I'm talking about paperback books here?

Well, this is why:

Margot Justes at Acme Authors Link is helping Operation Paperback collect paperback books for deployed United States troops and those in Veterans' Administration Medical Centers. If you've ever spent any time in the hospital, you know how boring it can be. There's nothing like a good book to get rid of that boredom for a while.

If you're interested in helping Margot with this project, read her post Operation Paperback.

Panzer is going through the paperback books in the bookcase right now to see what he's got to donate.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting Ebooks Into Book Stores Part 2

I've posted about fiction writer Dean Wesley Smith's ideas on how to get ebooks into brick and mortar book stores  before.  It's quite an intriguing idea.

Dean is still working on perfecting his plans for the book cards for the stores. At the World Science Fiction Convention a few weeks ago, he decided to try out his new products. He put together the book cards he designed a couple of months ago and inserted them inside a flat book cover. His sample at the blog looks great. He gave them out at the convention as gift cards.

You can read all about the cards' reception at the convention at The Writings and Opinions of Dean Wesley Smith. Be sure and read the comments section there after you finish Dean's post.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Aaron Patterson's Blog: I am giving away a FREE KINDLE!

Panzer knows how much you like free stuff and, while not everybody will get a free Kindle, you'll have a chance to get one. So, here you go: author Aaron Patterson is giving away a free Kindle. There are only three things you have to do to enter.

To find out how to enter go to Aaron Patterson's Blog: I am giving away a FREE KINDLE!: Who wants to win a FREE KINDLE? No joke... Free.

Since Panzer pointed you to Patterson's contest, if you win the Kindle, Panzer get's to borrow it!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kindlegraph is the Newest Bestseller Among IndiePub Authors

I blogged about Kindlegraph  the new technology that allows an author to provide a fan/purchaser with an autographed salutation/inscription for their ebook. The Kindlegraph went viral when authors like J.A. Konrath signed on. An upgraded version is now available.

If you're interested in reading about the additions to the technology, Emily Hill has an article at Self-Publishing Review, Kindlegraph is the Newest Bestseller Among IndiePub Authors.

Panzer wants to know if you've signed up yet? He likes to collect autographs almost as much as kitty treats, you know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bella Andre Guest Post at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Ebook author Bella Andre (aka Lucy Kevin)(aka Bella Riley) is guest posting at Joe Konrath's blog.

Bella Andre is posting about her success writing in two sub-genres of the romance genre. As Bella Andre she writes sexy, contemporary romances. And as Lucy Kevin she writes sweet romances. She has had 12 ebooks published in the past 18 months. This diversification has helped her be in the top ten sales rankings at Barnes & Noble. (Yes, you read that right. Barnes & Noble not Amazon.)

I found Bella's post to be interesting. Those of you who have read my scribblings in both paper form (magazines) and e-form (online) know I write in two sub-genres of the mystery genre.

Hmmm ... I didn't think about picking another name to use when writing for one of the sub-genres. Any suggestions?

If you're interested in reading about Bella's writing success, visit A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

Panzer and I are going to see if we can make up another name. He's pretty adamant about not wanting to change his name, so that just leaves me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: The Human Addict

This week Panzer had me read the Kindle ebook  The Human Addict: A Dragon's Tale by Scott William Carter.

The whole story is told in the first person from the dragon's point of view. How fun is that? A lot.

The story begins when humans still lived in caves. This was also when unicorns, faeries, elves, dwarfs and dragons lived as well.

The whole problem begins when a dragon develops a taste for humans. And I mean a major taste for humans. A taste as in addicted to humans. The dragon does his best to control his eating habits, but he's already put the world as he knows it into a downward spiral he can't control. You see, a dragon may live for a long time, but humans don't forgive and they never forget.

The end was so sad. Panzer went through a whole box of tissues.

Panzer gives it four paws up.

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Things Amazon should correct in the Kindle

In addition to being an indie author, Guido Henkel does formatting for other authors. He has identified ten things he'd like to see Amazon fix on the Kindle. He believes these ten fixes would facilitate formatting and the Kindle reading experience. He's looking for our help to convince Amazon to make these corrections.

I have to admit, as a reader I haven't noticed the formatting errors he's referring to. Now, I'm going to have to start paying more attention to letter and line spacing!

Read Guido Henkel's 10 Things Amazon should correct in the Kindle . If you agree with him, follow the instructions at the end of his post.

Who knows, maybe Amazon will listen.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Smashwords: How to Self-Publish an Ebook with Smashwords

Thirty-one authors and publishers tell their tips and tricks for publishing with Smashwords at the official Smashwords blog. These were all written in response to a call on the blog for posts on the authors' and publishers' own sites about their experiences with Smashwords.

I've read nine of the blogposts so far and they have been helpful. I've learned a couple of things I didn't know about formatting for Smashwords.

If you still haven't decided whether or not to use Smashwords, reading  Smashwords: How to Self-Publish an Ebook with Smashwords: 31 ...may provide the help you need to make a decision.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Aaron Patterson's Blog: The Real Me

We're back!

We have and unexpected friend from out of town staying with us this weekend, so Panzer and I didn't post yesterday. Time online will be short until Tuesday.

Aaron Patterson posted his list about how to be real. You can read the list at  Aaron Patterson's Blog: The Real Me:. Good stuff for writers (and everyone else, too) to remember. Print out his list and tape it on the wall over your computer where you'll see it every day.

Our friend from out of town rode here on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Panzer can't wait to go for a ride. He keeps talking about the wind blowing through his fur. He promises to wear a helmet and chaps ... if he can find ones small enough to fit ... hmmm. Hey, wait a minute .... Panzer come back here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When An Author Dies

Passive Guy has a great blog post today that every author should read.

Yeah. Yeah. We're writers. Our words are immortal right? Well, we all need to prepare for the inevitable passing on of our estate and those immortal words.

So, go on over to What Happens When An Author Dies and learn what preparations you need to make.

Leave a comment for Passive Guy and tell him Panzer from Cats and Crime sent you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Add A Newsletter To Your Blog

Panzer and I have been searching for a way to add a newsletter and its requisite signup form here at the blog o' cats. We'd like to give our visitors the option to receive news about upcoming events, contests and new ebooks.

We've found that Blogspot does offer a newsletter feature, but it doesn't seem to do what we want. We want a newsletter that would be independent of this blog. That way, if someone signs up for the newsletter at Panzer's soon-to-be launched Facebook Fan Page or signs up here, the information is all at a separate location. (There have been two times in the past month when I have had sign in issues with Blogspot and I don't want to lose all my information!)

So, with Panzer riding shotgun we went cruising around the blogosphere. We stopped in at fantasy author Linsay Buroker's E-book Endeavors blog. And ... we found the newsletter setup information we were looking for.

If you are interested in adding a newsletter to your blog, visit Lindsay Buroker's How to Add A Newsletter to Your Blog.

Got any suggestions for a newsletter site? Leave it in the comments sections.

Gotta go. Panzer wants to go cruising again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: Butterfly Boots

This week we read Butterfly Boots by Misti Wolanski. We picked a short story this time. We were on vacation for the three-day-weekend and didn't have as much time to read as I'd hoped.

Panzer says this is a cute little ebook.  At 1,000 words it is short. It's not a complicated plot, but it is a fun read anyway.

Kurtah Strongman, a female dwarf,  is walking along minding her own business. She gets into a conversation with a faery sitting on the side of the street. The faery is looking for her lost left boot. Kurtah makes the mistake of trying to help the faery find that lost boot. In the process of looking for the boot we learn about dwarf's, faeries, and magic. I think it's a successful short story considering how short it is.

According to the material at the end of the ebook, this story is meant to be a lead-in for Wolanski's ebook A Fistful of Fire which is the first in a series about the land of Aleyi.

Since it's so short and Panzer wanted more, he only gives it three paws up. Sometimes there's just no way to satisfy that cat!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Rat On My Shoe or My Life Is A Joke

If you are owned  by a cat (like I am), you will understand this story.

Panzer likes to give me gifts. These gifts are meant to show he acknowledges me as the one providing his food when he demands it, brushing him when he needs it, and petting him when he wants it.

These gifts have included a sock, a ball of string, and a dead cricket. But the gift most prized by Panzer was the the rat he gave me.

Panzer had been outside for about an hour when it started to rain. As soon as I heard the scratching at the back door, I quickly opened it and in sauntered Panzer. I bent to pick up my owner and scold him for staying out in the rain, when ... he dropped a rat on my shoe.

Now, I am relatively brave when it comes to vermin and it was a small rat -- but IT ran across my shoe and up the INSIDE of my pants leg!

I screamed. Panzer ran for the living room. I jumped up and down trying to get it out. Panzer ran into the bedroom. I pulled down my pants and threw them across the kitchen. I got my broom and pushed the pants out onto the back porch.

I found Panzer sitting on my bed cleaning the rain water from his fur. He chose to ignore me while explained to him a rat was not an acceptable gift.

He still brings me gifts but, thankfully, they've all been inanimate since then.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Using Multiple Ebooks To Sell More

On Friday I pointed you to Kristen Lamb's answer to the Secret to Selling More Ebooks  that involved being sticky and having sticky ebooks.  Panzer is still cleaning his fur and not talking to me. (I swear, I did not leave that bottle of honey on the counter on purpose!)

Since having sticky paws doesn't seem to be acceptable in this house, I went looking for another SECRET to selling more ebooks.

How about writing multiple ebooks to increase ebook sales? And writing ebooks in a series?

Fantasy steampunk author Lindsay Buroker makes a good argument  for the Benefits of Publishing Multiple Ebooks.

I agree with her SECRET completely. Her argument makes sense: the more different products you have to sell the more sales you'll make.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Club Video Visits

Live in Florida and want to visit a book club in Wyoming to talk about your new book without ever leaving your house? There's a way to do that. It's called Skype.

Yup, we've all heard about using Skype for person to person phone calls. But did you ever think about using it for going to a book club to do a presentation? Meg Wolitzer certainly has. According to Reuters she visited nine book clubs and discussed her newest novel "The Uncoupling."

Read Reuters' article about Meg Wolitzer's Virtual Book Club Visits and then start planning your own book club visits.

See you on Skype.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Secret To Selling More Ebooks

Ahhh ... the secret to selling more ebooks. We all want to know the secret. We all need to know the secret. Tell us THE SECRET!

Now, non-fiction author and freelance editor Kristen Lamb explains the secret in Part I of her post The Secret to Selling Books. It involves getting sticky and having sticky ebooks.

Ooohhh! Panzer says there is nothing worse than a cat with sticky paws!

Oh, yeah. Read about the Pants of Shame there, too.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Free Resources for Writers and Readers

Have Panzer and I got some free kitty treats for you this week! So let's get right to it.

1) Writers FM Radio . Listen to podcast interviews with some of your favorite writers 24/7.

2) Booked TV . Watch video podcasts of crime scene experts and authors.

3) Authors on Air . Listen to authors and book reviewers from your favorite genres on Blog Talk Radio.

Panzer says we need more purring and less hissing. So think before you hiss!

Disclaimer: When visiting unfamiliar sites, keep you virus scanner on and your firewall up.