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

Friday, April 15, 2016

What an Incredible Honor!

I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to announce that LADIES IN WAITING won the 2016 EPIC eBook Award in Contemporary Fiction. This book was initially published by Turquoise Morning Press and I happily share this award with TMP, Kim Jacobs, and editor Amie Denman. Woohoo!


I'm so very proud of this book. If you've read the book, I thank you. If you've not yet read LADIES IN WAITING--well, what are you waiting for? Here's the link to Amazon: LADIES IN WAITING

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Introducing: SMOOTH SAILING: A Second Chance Romance



I'm pleased to announce the release of my newest novel, SMOOTH SAILING: A Second Chance Romance. If you've read my books, either women's fiction or romance, you know I'm all about second chances. I enjoy writing a romance featuring a more mature couple. They offer a different substance that comes from lived experience. I hope you enjoy reading Edie and Adam's story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here's a brief excerpt to whet your appetite.






Edie folded the papers and deposited her ID and passport in her purse, clutching her cruise card. “Thanks.” Her heart pounded as she exited the building and stood before the massive ship. She tilted her face up into the sun and slowly took in the full height of the vessel.
Someone bumped her shoulder, and the overnight bag slid down her arm to the ground.
“Oops, sorry.” The voice, a smooth baritone, hummed in her ear.
As she bent to retrieve the bag, the man did the same. Their faces nearly collided. Edie stared into the warmest whiskey brown eyes she had ever seen. Her breath caught.
The man picked up the bag and glanced at the name tag attached. “I’m sorry…Eden. I should watch where I’m going.” He continued to grasp her bag. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?”
“Pardon?”
“These ships are amazing. Every time I board one, I have to stop to take in the grandeur.”
She squinted at him and placed an open palm across her brow to block the sun. “Yes. Amazing.” Graying dark hair framed a tanned face. Dark brown eyes flecked with gold smiled down at her. “Do I know you?” she asked.
“I doubt it. I would have remembered our meeting. You are Eden…?”
“Edi…Eden Montgomery. You look very familiar.”
Eden—like the proverbial paradise garden?”
A flush spread across her chest. “I…uh…” Was he flirting?
“Adam Armstrong.”
Adam, as in the first man on earth? The thought went unspoken. Recognition of the name hit her. “Oh, the travel guy from the magazine.” She shifted the squint from her right eye to her left.
Adam laughed. “That’s me. The travel guy.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” Other passengers edged past them to ascend the gangway. “Well, perhaps we should board.” She reached for her bag.
“I’ve got it.” He placed a hand at her elbow to steer her toward the ramp. And the old Edie allowed him to do so.
“Is this your first cruise?” Adam asked.
“Yes. Does it show?”
“Not really. Well, maybe a little. Most passengers don’t stare at the ship like they’re entering the Emerald City.”
“That’s me—Dorothy. Or maybe I’m the lion.”
“Cowardly?”
“I used to be.”


Available now in e-book at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Coming soon to trade paperback.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WAKE-UP CALL - Second Edition



Newly republished with new material and this fantastic, shiny new cover. Is this hot or what?

City girl and social worker, Candace Hudson wants a baby, but she's given up on men. Divorced single father and Texas cattle rancher, Griff Calhoun needs a consultant for a special project. Neither one suspects that their collaboration will give them both a Wake-Up Call.



Available now in ebook at Amazon.com.

Coming soon in trade paperback.