What’s in a name?

Note to self:

Dont’ call scifi novella “The Fat of It” or potential audience will think it’s about how to lose weight.

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Can KDP Select increase my sales?

Short answer: not in my experience

I’ve had many ideas for scifi stories – just look at the short stories on this blog!  I wanted to develop an idea into a novella. I spent long hours perfecting and polishing and then it was time to sell. I wanted to self-publish, even if some call it a vanity. To the Kindle store! Time to find my pot of gold.

I excitedly scoured the web for tales of riches. This article caught my attention: How Amazon’s KDP Select Saved My Book

I published with Kindle Direct, filled out all the tax forms and shouted for someone to show me the money.

Well, I didn’t instantly become a millionaire.  Not even a thousandanaire or hundredanaire. So I decided to follow the advice of that article and use KDP Select. For those who don’t know, a book can’t be given away on Kindle Direct. The main method of having giveaways is to use KDP Select. Joining KDP Select allows 5 free days to promote your book to the masses.

So I joined and I knew that I was locked in for 90 days. That’s right!  Once you join KDP Select you can’t publish anywhere else, even for free, for 90 days.

I used my 5 free days  – not all consecutively. Anyway, even with the freebies, not many bought my novella. In fact, I don’t want to say how many bought it because it would be highly embarrassing. I’d rather say how many didn’t buy it – thousands.

The worst thing was that, with no benefit, I had to ride out KDP Select for the full 90 days and let my novella languish without having the ability to even give it away! There is even an automatic renewal scheduled unless you opt out. I unticked that box pretty quickly.

Would I use KDP Select again? Almost certainly not.

Should I have made a greater effort marketing in other ways: hell yes!

KDP Select is not a panacea. The gold rush is over.

How to defeat writer’s block

Writer’s block? Never heard of it.  Yeah I know, denial is the most predictable of all human responses. Okay, I admit I have a problem.  But there are solutions.

First, when an idea pops into my head I write it down no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  Many of the short stories on this site have their origin in the lightening bolt of a sudden idea. I get most of my ideas when I’m dozing off to sleep, so it’s pretty darn inconvenient.  But the alternative is fatal.  Many a time I’ve had a great idea and I’ve promised myself I’ll remember it in the morning. I repeat it in my head and drift peacefully off to sleep. In the morning I wake up rested but for the life of me I can’t recall that great thought.  Don’t fall into that trap.

In any event, when I have a great idea I usually get a huge adrenaline rush. It’s exciting. That’s enough to get me up and writing.

Some thoughts are more than just great ideas.  Sometimes, I have to start writing. The story just begs to be written.  It may be something new or it may be an expansion of an idea I’ve already recorded. Again, don’t hesitate, just write. Write like the wind!  Keep going until you’ve exhausted the moment. Oh, and don’t do this while driving. When you’ve reached your destination go for it. Don’t wait.

Writing can also be a great cure for stress.  I use it to express my emotions. Anger is a fantastic catalyst for expression. When you feel angry about something, write a narrative expressing that emotion.  Do the same when you’re sad or depressed. I appreciate that I’m focussing on negative emotions but I don’t get motivated to write when I’m happy. I usually have better things to do, like keep doing what’s causing the happiness.

The Fat of It was born out of frustration about my own struggle with trying to lose weight and my hatred of exercise. After all, it’d be sweet if someone else could dive into my body and exercise me to perfection whilst I slept.  The story resulted from the combination of a sudden idea and a wealth of negative emotion.  It eventually transformed from short story to novella, but I’ll leave that journey for another post.

Another tip is to force yourself to sit down and write even if you don’t feel like it.  Do this in a set routine. I must admit that this rarely works for me for generating new ideas, but it can work if I’m expanding an idea into a more developed state.

My conclusion is that writing is about snaring ideas in the moment and harnessing and focussing your emotions. Not only will you relieve stress but you’ll also defeat writer’s block.