Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas - 2016 - A Look Back and A Look Forward



This Christmas, I've taken some time to reflect on 2016. Wow, what a year it has been. You know, until you take time to look back and think about where you've been and all you've done, it sometimes slips right past you. No wonder I'm ready for a break, a few days of peace and quiet. I've been busy!

In the past year, I've published two new books and a short story. I had Ladies in Waiting produced in audio. I've also edited and republished five of my previously published books. There's more to republishing than changing the cover and putting the book back up there. It requires a bit of rewriting and updating each book.

I also branched out into offering copy editing and proofreading services as Linda Edits 4 U. I've copy edited three books this year for seemingly happy customers. I enjoy this departure from my own writing. I learn from other writers. I learn from giving more attention to the details in their work. I get to read some fantastic stories before the rest of you see them. And I get to provide a service to other writers, an objective pair of eyes for cleaning up and tightening up their writing.

I have three new books in various stages of development and aimed for publication in 2017 so, as you can see, I anticipate another busy year. I don't make New Year's resolutions because I rarely keep them. I do set goals that I try to meet, though. Of course, one goal is to complete and publish those three books that in process. Another goal is to give something more back to new writers, to pay forward what was given to me when I first started out. So I'm looking at starting up a writer's group with a fellow author to meet monthly at a local library. it will be a place for both new and seasoned writers to come together, share our wisdom and our fears or doubts, and generally encourage one another in this daunting world of writing. It can be a scary place at times, but mostly it's a wonderful world to live in--the world of imagination.

My other goal for 2017 is to take a fall cruise up the New England coast to Canada where I hope to meet a fellow author I've known for several years in cyberspace only. Oh, the stories that will come from that cruise, I'm sure.

My wishes for all of you this Christmas and for the coming year is this: I wish you love and joy. I wish that the dreams of your heart come true. I wish you the courage to stand in your convictions in the face of any conflict. I wish you peace and hope. 


                                                                                   Linda

Monday, December 5, 2016

Seasoned Romance Sale December 7-9

I'm participating in a Seasoned Romance $ 0.99 sale, December 7 - 9, along with 23 other authors of "seasoned romance." If you like romance featuring more mature couples (mid-30's and up---the sky's the limit), and if you want an introduction to some authors who may be new to you, please do stop by. You'll find everything from sweet to steamy. Yes, older heroes and heroines still steam up the windows sometimes.




Visit our page at http://seasonedromances.com/ and peruse our offerings. We'll also be having a Facebook Hop, so come on over and 'like' and 'follow' my Writing for Women Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Linda-Rettstatt-Writing-for-Women-142119167526/ and then, on the 7th, you'll get more info on how to hop onto the hop. 

Join us for three days of fun as we talk about seasoned romance, offer prizes, and give you a chance to add to your 'favorite authors' list.

Here are links to each author's Facebook page for the sale:

Karen Booth: https://www.facebook.com/karenboothauthor/
Karen M Bryson: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMuellerBrysonAuthor/
Sela Carsen: https://www.facebook.com/SelaCarsen/
Karyn Gerrard: https://www.facebook.com/KarynGerrardAuthor/
Shana Gray: https://www.facebook.com/authorshanagray/
Gail Hart: https://www.facebook.com/authorgailhart/
Susan Haught: https://www.facebook.com/susanrhaught/
Jill Haymaker: https://www.facebook.com/authorjillhaymaker
Kathryn Jane: https://www.facebook.com/authorKathrynJane/
Judy Kentrus: https://www.facebook.com/judykentrusauthor/...
Josie Kerr: http://www.Facebook.com/authorjosiekerr
Patricia Kiyono: https://www.facebook.com/Patricia-Kiyono-149294485148710/
Tracy Krimmer: Http://www.facebook.com/KrimmerAuthor
Cecilia London: http://www.Facebook.com/authorcecilialondon
Morgan Malone: https://www.facebook.com/MorganMaloneAuthor/
Natasha Moore: https://www.facebook.com/natashamooreauthor/
Linda Rettstatt: https://www.facebook.com/Linda-Rettstatt-Writing-for-Women…/
Alexa Rowan: https://www.facebook.com/alexa.rowan.books/
Bobbi Ruggiero: https://www.facebook.com/authoressbobbiruggiero/
Jan Scarbrough: https://www.facebook.com/Romancerider/
Sharleen Scott: https://www.facebook.com/OutWestPress/
Denise Swanson: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseSwansonAuthor/
Maggie Wells: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaggieWells


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank You (and an early Merry Christmas)

My new Ladies in Waiting Epilogue Short Story - A KISS FOR CHRISTMAS - will be FREE at Amazon from Monday, November 7 through Friday, November 11. It's my way of saying THANK YOU to my readers for your faithfulness and a way to wish you all an early Merry Christmas.

I'm writing short epilogue stories for each of the characters from Ladies in Waiting to let you all know what happens to them after 'The End' of that story. I hope you enjoy their 'what happened next' stories. A KISS FOR CHRISTMAS is the 'what happened next' story of Liv and Nick.

So please stop by Amazon between November 7 and 11 and get your FREE DOWNLOAD of A KISS FOR CHRISTMAS. Just click the cover to be taken to Amazon.


Monday, August 15, 2016

The Rest of the Story


After RESCUED was released and read by a few, I started getting the question: "How about a sequel?" People wanted to know what happened next for Alex and Evan and, more importantly, what happens for Kellie, Alex's younger sister. Because I always like to give my readers what they want, I put myself to work. And here you have it--RESCUED...TOO--the sequel to RESCUED.

Alex and Evan are in for more than a few surprises. Meanwhile, ever since her sister's wedding, Kellie Ramsey is hearing wedding bells and a very loud tick of her biological clock. She's tapped to fill in at the animal shelter so an exhausted Alex can get away for a long weekend with Evan. The last thing Kellie expects is to have her heart stolen by an abandoned Pit Bull and three legged kitten. She also soon has two men in her life. The question becomes: Which on is the one?

You can get RESCUED...TOO at Amazon.com now in ebook, soon in paperback, and in audio after the first of next year. And if you haven't yet read RESCUED, what are you waiting for? It's right there at Amazon.com, too.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Casper Meets Castle - An Unconventional Paranormal Story

IN THE SPIRIT, my paranormal romantic mystery is now available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook. I can't read (or watch) hard core paranormal stories because then I don't sleep for weeks. I'm a wuss. I admit it. So when I got the idea to write a paranormal story, I truly thought I might be losing my mind. But, never fear, this is not your scream-until-you-wet-your-pants paranormal. If you laugh until you wet your pants, well, good for you.

When I pitched the book to Gwendolyn Druyor for possible production in audio, the description I gave intrigued her. I said, "Think Casper meets Castle." (If you're familiar with the former TV series starring Nathan Fillion, you'll know what this means.) Andrew, the ghost, is not your typical chain-dragging, shrieking spirit whose goal is to drive breathing humans from his habitat. Quite the opposite. Andrew is dying to be heard. Well, in a matter of speaking. (And Gwendolyn did a fabulous job of narrating, by the way.)

Here's the story premise: Andrew McCabe has been trapped in the small mountain cabin for two years, waiting for someone who can see and hear him, find out what happened to his fiancĂ©e, Laura, and help bring justice to his murderer, Daniel Flynn. Jessica Windsor rents the cabin hoping the change of scenery will get her past her writer’s block and back on deadline with her novel. She soon discovers she’s not alone and the not-so-scary, but annoying, ghost needs her help. A former mystery writer, Andrew, offers to get Jess back on tract with her novel if she does some snooping on his behalf. Hopelessly blocked in her writing, Jessica agrees, not realizing she has put herself directly into Daniel Flynn’s crosshairs.

Binky the cat, also has a supporting role in this story. We argued about my portrayal of her neurotic tendencies, but since I'm the one with opposable thumbs and I can type, my version won out. So, get your copy of IN THE SPIRIT today and meet Andrew, the Affable Ghost, and Binky, the slightly neurotic tuxedo cat.



IN THE SPIRIT available at AMAZON.COM  and at AUDIBLE.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Cost of Writing

There have been several posts lately on Facebook from people either asking where they can find 'free' books (basically, looking for book piracy sites that steal authors' work) or people complaining that books are too expensive (most self-published books at between $1.99 and $3.99). I decided to educate those people in what it costs the self-published author to produce one book, including the time it takes to do the writing/rewriting/editing based just at Federal Minimum Wage.

Here's the breakdown:


Cost to produce a book compared to working the same hours for minimum wages.

Federal Minimum Wage:        7.25 per hour

Average writing times: * (this varies from author to author/book to book. Some require more intensive research time.)  

30 hours per week       =          $217.50
24 weeks (minimum) for first draft    =          $5,220.00
12 weeks (average) for second/third drafts   2,610.00
            Total in writing time:                          $7,830.00

Additional costs: (out of pocket for self-published authors)

Cover art (average)                                              150.00
Editing (based on 70k word book)                   1,680.00 *      
Copy editing (70k word book)                            840.00 *   
(Rates from Editorial Freelancers Association. Actual rates for editors may vary.)                                  

Total Estimated Average Production Cost:     $10,500.00 *

* (If the author uses marketing and promotional services that charge a fee, this amount goes up.)

Average royalty from Amazon.com based on book cost:

Royalty per book on books priced at $3.99 (the ‘upper’ end)            $2.76  (this is before taxes and if the author elected for distribution that allows 70% royalty.)

This means the author has to sell at least 5,400 books just to break even for time and costs to produce one book, after taxes.

5400 x $2.76 = $14.904 (less approximately 30% for taxes) = $10,432.80 after tax income.


That’s what it takes for an author to make minimum wage on one book.

Now, I've been writing for sixteen years and self-publishing for the past two years. I made even less money per book with books published by a publisher.

And don't get me started on refunds. Well, that was my previous blog post. Yes, there are people who purchase an ebook, read it and then return it for a refund. And I/we get paid NOTHING. This, to me, is stealing. If you've read the entire book and returned it, you've stolen my work. Well, you can go back and read my previous post about Amazon Return Policy.

So, why do we authors even bother? What's the reward? Love. We love to write. We love to create stories that entertain and make people think. We love our readers. Are we really asking too much that readers pay between $1.99 and $3.99 (on the average) to read our book? I'd bet some people pay more than that for a cup of coffee.

Know that I am extremely grateful to my readers who buy my books without complaint, read them, and often review them. I hope you feel you've gotten your money's worth. I hope you know I'm not paying the rent with royalties.

Linda

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Addressing Amazon's eBook Return Policy

As authors, we want our readers to be happy with the books they purchase. We work hard to craft stories that will engage and satisfy the reader. We recognize that, occasionally, a reader purchases a book that does not meet their standards or hopes and they want a refund. Okay, that shouldn't be a big problem.

But it is a problem with the current return policy at Amazon.com with regard to ebooks. They basically treat an ebook like any other product and allow up to seven (7) days for return. Now let's be honest folks, most of us can read an ebook in seven days. And I have, to my horror, seen people openly post on Facebook that they repeatedly purchase ebooks, read them, and then return them for a refund. Surely anyone with an ounce of sense knows how wrong this is. I recently checked and found that a short story of mine that is 19 pages long and sells for 99 cents had two returns. Really? Now I can understand if you accidentally purchase the same story twice. But it doesn't take more than seven days to read 19 pages. If it does, you have a bigger problem.

I decided to take the bull by the horns (though it might end up being much like Don Quixote battle windmills) and address this with Amazon's Senior Counsel and Senior Manager of Customer Services. I'm posting the letter I sent (sans names) in hopes that it will encourage my fellow authors and possibly even some readers who see the impracticality of this return policy to likewise address this issue.

* * *



I am an author published through KDP and with CreateSpace on Amazon.com. I am writing to you regarding the return policy Amazon currently has in place for Kindle ebooks. Your policy currently reads in part as follows: Books purchased from the Kindle Store can be returned within seven days of purchase.

I personally think that a seven day return on an ebook is much too long. You generally know within reading a small percentage of a book that you don’t like it. I recently reviewed my sales and found a short story that is 19 pages long and sells for $ .99 and had two returns. Let’s be realistic. It does not take seven days to read 19 pages. Authors are facing an uphill battle with this every day. I have personally observed people on Facebook proudly announcing that they purchase ebooks, read them, and then return them before the seven days have expired.

I am begging Amazon to please review and revise your return policy with regard to ebooks. I know Amazon has the capability to track the percentage of the book that’s read. There should be no reason for anyone to not know 10% into a book if they don’t like it or have already read it. By allowing such great flexibility with a return policy, you are allowing readers to essentially steal our property.

It seems to me that your return policy for ebooks is based on a general product return policy. But ebooks are not the same as other products such as purchasing a vacuum cleaner or a pet carrier. I feel that Amazon is showing disregard for the authors who list our books with you and are being driven by the desire to only please the customer. There has to be a balance in place.

Tell me this: If you worked for the past two weeks and, when it was time to be paid, Amazon said, “We’re not going to pay you. We changed our minds about the work you did,” would you be happy? Would you think that’s fair? This current ebook return policy is no different.

I am realistic enough to recognize that Amazon is the driving force behind self-publishing today. What I am asking for is that Amazon show a little more respect for the authors who use their service. We have enough to do to battle piracy sites out their trying to give our work away. We don’t need Amazon to be doing the same thing under the guise of a return policy that does not fit the product.

Please take this into consideration and find a fairer way of allowing people who purchased an ebook twice, got a defective file, or realized a few pages in they didn’t like the book to return it without giving them free reign to read the whole thing and get a refund, thus shorting the author out of their due. I’m sure Amazon has the ability, both intellectually and digitally, to come up with a reasonable solution to this issue.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Respectfully,



Linda Rettstatt
Author, Writing for Women