New Children’s Ebook for Sale on Amazon: “No More Grumpies!”

51fUhxCB-eL

Yesterday I published a new illustrated children’s short story ebook on Amazon! It is called “No More Grumpies!“, and is a fun story about a little boy who just can’t shake the grumpies.

Here is the official book description:

Michael is having a very grumpy day. His mother keeps warning him that there will be “trouble” if the grumpies keep making an appearance, but what will happen if Michael can’t get rid of the grumpies? What kind of “trouble” is he heading into?

From multi-award-winning author and artist Maranda Russell, this illustrated short story is funny, cute, and sure to help get rid of the most stubborn grumpies!

The ebook is available for only $.99 per download (FREE for Kindle Unlimited members). If anyone would like a free copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, let me know and I will hook you up!

Special thanks to my friend Brian Reinbolt for adding the illustrations to my story!

Advertisements

Kindle Direct Publishing’s New Reporting System and Some Author Updates!

2019-01-03

Yesterday I logged into my Kindle Direct Publishing account on Amazon and while looking at the reports, noticed there is a new “beta” reporting program they are working on that I could test (the picture above shows the new graphing, with part of the book breakdown below). I checked it out and it is WAY better than their old reporting program! It uses color coded graphs to plainly show which books you are selling, when you are selling them, and also easily separates books sold from “free” promotions vs. paid sales.

I am thrilled they are updating their system, because what they have had the last few years sucks in my opinion. It was hard to even tell which books sold! In other good news, while checking out the new system, I looked at my overall numbers from the last quarter and was pleasantly surprised to see that all together I’ve sold more than 230 ebooks (including promotions) during the last 90 days! Not bad for an indie author!!! It makes my heart happy to know that many people are reading my books!

If you use KDP publishing, I would recommend checking out the new program if you are able to under your own reports! By the way, if you want to check out my Amazon Author Page and maybe give it a follow, that would be awesome! I also have a FREE ebook promotion running today through Monday for my art ebook, “Stories Behind My Art” (if you like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!)

Lastly, a few years back, I published a little short story/spiritual ebook called “Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham – A Parable about Love and Peace” under the name M.N. Russell ($0.99, FREE for Kindle Unlimited) . I decided to add that to my Amazon author bibliography, so you can check that out if you think it sounds interesting!

Goals for 2019 – Blog, Writing, Art

happy-year-3848864_960_720

I don’t set personal resolutions for New Years, but I do try to set some goals to try to reach the coming year, especially for my blog/social media, writing, and art. I did meet and even surpass some of the goals I set for 2018. For instance, I hoped to have 500 Instagram followers by the end of this year, and I’m already over 1,400!

When setting these goals, I try to be realistic but shoot a bit high. I figure even if I miss, at least I dreamed big and tried my best. I try to not beat myself up if I don’t meet a goal by the end of the year, I just set my sights on the next year.

So without further ado, here are my goals for 2019:

Social Media
Blog – 1,500 followers
Instagram – 5,000 followers (dream big!)

Books
Write/publish 2 new books/ebooks
Sell 300+ copies of my books

Art
Sell to 2 new countries (would love to add Ireland, Germany, Japan, China, or India!)
Countries I have already sold art to: USA, Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, England, Wales, Norway, United Arab Emirates

New Romance Novella Ebook only $0.99 on Kindle!

 

41fqz0g8jjl

Hi everyone! This is just a short post to let everyone know that I have decided to brush off an old romantic novella that I never published and put it for sale as a Kindle ebook for only $0.99 (FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited)! It is entitled “Improper Intentions” and is a fanciful historical story set in England with a little bit of a gothic feel at times. It may be a little cheesy and predictable, but then again, aren’t most romances? Even the good ones lol. Lately I have been in more of a mood to write fiction and might try to come up with another romantic novella or two in the near future, so keep an eye out!

If you do check out the story, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads! It really does help me to know what you all think! I am willing to give a few free PDF copies of the story to interested reviewers as well, so feel free to contact me if you are interested!

Some of the best books ever written were self-published

It seems like there is a lot of condescension in the literary world about “self-published” authors. This annoys me. First off, because I have many friends who self-published excellent books, and secondly, because I have self-published two ebooks (even though my print books aren’t self-published).

So where does this bias come from? Is it because throughout history self-published books have been crappy? I highly doubt that. In fact, many of the best books ever written were self-published. Don’t believe me? Well, here is a short list of some self-pubbed classics:

*Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” was turned down by six publishers, but this didn’t get the young authoress down. She decided to self-publish the book. One of the publishers who had turned down the project saw the completed book, changed his mind and offered to publish the next edition of the book.

*Mark Twain, fed up with his previous publisher, decided to self-publish “Huck Finn”. Ironically it became one of his bestselling books, perhaps because he implemented a door-to-door marketing campaign.

*Edgar Allan Poe (my favorite writer of all time by the way), self-published his first book “Tamerlane and Other Poems”, thus effectively launching his career (even if he never did get the money or respect he deserved while alive).

*Charles Dickens self-published “A Christmas Carol” after having a fight with his publisher over the earnings related to a previous book.

*Some great authors like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters even struggled to get publishers to publish their books “all expenses paid”! In fact, Jane Austen’s family offered a publisher the opportunity to publish Jane’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, on ”behalf of the author who will incur all expenses”. Not only did Jane’s family pay for publishing costs, but they also had to pay a commission to the publisher for each book sold! Sounds like a rotten deal to me, but she did ok in the end.

*Ever read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”? Neither have I, but it was self-published too.

*Even the manual that many writers use as their Bible was first self-published. Where would we be without William Strunk’s “The Elements of Style?”

*Some other authors who are said to have self-published at some point in their careers: Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, e.e. Cummings, Carl Sandburg, Ezra Pound, Stephen Crane, Rudyard Kipling, Alexandre Dumas, Henry David Thoreau (plus many, many more, but I really don’t want to type all their names, so Google it if you are interested).

In the end, I’m not going to say that all self-published books are good, any more than I would say all traditionally published books are good, but I do think all books deserve to be judged for their literary merit, rather than their publisher.

Tips for Publishing on Smashwords

Since I recently published my new ebook, “In Memory of Dad” on Smashwords, I have had quite a few other authors ask about how the Smashwords process works.  Many didn’t even know what Smashwords was, which didn’t surprise me too much since I only recently found out about Smashwords after being asked to review a few books published there.

Put simply, Smashwords in a website that allows you to publish your own ebook.  Even if your book is available in hard copy or is published by another company, as long as you have the rights, you can publish your book on Smashwords as well.  Not only does Smashwords allow you to publish your ebook for free, but they offer the opportunity to have your ebook distributed to other major ebook retailers, provided that you follow their guidelines.  Another thing I really like about Smashwords is that they offer your book to customers in a variety of formats, including Kindle, PDF, online reading and various popular phone apps.

If you are considering publishing an ebook and want to know more about Smashwords or what the publishing process there is like, here are a few tips:

1.  Above all else, make sure to follow the guidelines Smashwords provides when you upload your book.  If you don’t it will affect your chances of having your book distributed to other retailers.  Also, your book might look kind of wonky if you don’t follow the guidelines.  Luckily, Smashwords offers a great resource to help you at no charge, the Smashwords Style Guide.

2.  Make sure you have a good cover image for your ebook.  You can hire someone to do one for you or create one yourself like I did.  Of course, if you create it yourself, make sure it looks professional…your cover WILL affect sales.

3.  Don’t post your ebook, walk away and hope to sell millions of copies.  Realistically, there is too much competition for people to just keep randomly stumbling over your ebook and actually want to buy it.  Do some promotional work, even if it is only on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  If you can get your friends to review your book, that helps a lot too.

4.  Edit, edit, edit!  I love Smashwords and have found some great stories there, but far too many authors publish mediocre or downright painful prose.  If you don’t know how to edit yourself, find a friend who will help or consider hiring someone.  Even picking up a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and studying it would help many authors to avoid common grammar, punctuation and style errors.  Check your spelling too!

5.  Read the FAQ page on Smashwords.  This resource can help you avoid ALOT of mistakes and wasted minutes!