Social Media – an update

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I remember the days when I was sniffy about Facebook. I called it an empty, echoing, confusing shopping mall. And now … I’m there every day. Every day!

Not only that but I’m there as a person and as an author page.

I still think Facebook is clumsy. I resent how it hides friends’ updates from me, and shows me ridiculous ads. But …

Everyone seems to be on Facebook, and so, there I am, too. And I’m hooked by the people I chat with. It’s not Facebook that I enjoy. It’s the people on it.

It’s also one of those places where readers hang out … and authors need to get their books in front of readers somehow. On a side note, I’ve not had any luck with Facebook advertising for my books.

I still adore Twitter. So much random goodness and people being clever in 140 characters.

But other social media have vanished from my day. I rarely visit Google +. Tsu is but a distant memory. Pinterest, yeah, Pinterest and I never clicked. Tumblr quietly died for me. I never found my community there. Goodreads is too overwhelming, but I love BookLikes.

Surprisingly, over the years, discussion boards have held their own. I was once a daily visitor at AbsoluteWrite’s Watercooler. That ended, not for any bad reason, but just because things do change. People move on. It’s like moving neighbourhoods. Currently, I lurk on Romance Divas and visit at KindleBoards. Plus, I belong to a number of Yahoo Groups.

For me, the power of social media is in discovering your community, the group of people who add joy and interest to your day.

Where do you hang out?

Plumbago Week

plumbago

Plumbago shrubs are an intrinsic part of old gardens where I live. The heavenly blue that characterises a Plumbago Week encourages you to sit and dream.

Take this chance to recall some of your happiest memories, and then, think about how you can incorporate some of that happiness into your life, now.

It might be as simple as planting a flower that reminds you of a person you love, or as complicated as organising a school reunion.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that past happiness is a promise (as well as a present comfort) of future joy. The best is yet to come … if we’re ready to look for it and build towards it.

Light Kisses is free this weekend!

Just a quick note letting you know that if you’re interested in escaping to a lighthouse this weekend, “Light Kisses” is currently free on Amazon. Enjoy!

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y20A1PS/

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Y20A1PS/

Amazon Australia http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00Y20A1PS/

lighkise

and in additional exciting news, Amazon Australia has chosen my collection of coastal romance, Love, Coast to Coast, as an end of financial year special. If you’re an Aussie, you can nab it for only $1.99.

Love, Coast to Coast — five wonderful coastal romance novellas

 

Pine Flower Week

pine

In the cool shade of a pine tree, it’s time to chill. For those of us sneezing our heads off at the pine flowers, inside is nice, too :) Yay, it’s a Pine Flower Week.

I love Pine Flower Weeks because these are Zen-tranquil breaks in life when I suddenly realise that I do NOT have to live my life with endless choices. Yes, I can choose one of a thousand different flavours of yoghurt (slight exaggeration), or I can simplify and just pick up my favourite (natural, low-fat — call me boring) during the weekly shop.

In a Pine Flower Week, you are suddenly in “the zone” where living is effortless. Instead of wavering backward and forward, endlessly debating your options, you find yourself making a decision — do NOT second guess it.

Enjoy this break from decisions, decisions and see if you can extend the magic of decisiveness for longer than this heavenly Pine Flower Week. You’ll be amazed at how much more energy you have when you’re not losing it to trying to choose between options.

Kindle Unlimited Changes

As a short story writer with a number of stories in Kindle Unlimited I was intrigued to read this from Amazon, today.

…we’re pleased to announce that beginning on July 1, the KDP Select Global Fund will be paid out based on the number of pages KU and KOLL customers read.

As with our current approach, we’ll continue to offer a global fund for each month. Under this new model, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read rather than their share of total qualified borrows. …

In the coming days we’ll share more details about this change. In the meantime, for further information (such as how we measure pages read) you can read more here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A156OS90J7RDN

The background to this is that currently a 10,000 word short story earns the same “borrow” amount in Kindle Unlimited as does a 100,000 word novel; about $1.35. This was a nifty earner that my short stories won me, but I was waiting for Amazon to change things, and in a couple of weeks they will. The likely calculation is that I’ll lose a dollar on every borrow of a short story, or maybe a bit more. But that’s fair. 10,000 words is so not the same as 100,000. Full length novel writers should be happy…

Ahem. There is an elephant in the room. At the moment, all “borrows” are paid by Amazon when a reader reads 10% of the book. Now, payment will be per page read. So if readers just … stop … reading your book, then that’s where your payment sticks.

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s playground. They get to observe reader and author behaviour and how to manipulate it. With this change to how borrows are paid, Amazon has done something significant. Now, for an author in Kindle Unlimited, getting our books into readers’ hands is NOT enough. We must get them to READ those books. Mountainous To Be Read piles earn us nothing in borrows.

Of course, by definition, a lending library encourages readers to read their ten (in Kindle Unlimited’s system) current borrows so that they can return them and get out another ten. But they could also return them unread. Ouch.

I’m intrigued by what this change may mean. With Kindle Unlimited, Amazon has pushed the moment they pay authors further down the line. From the traditional moment of sale, instituting Kindle Unlimited changed that to 10% of the book read, and now it’s by pages read (which can be a drawn out process because as readers we’re all so busy). Of course, no author has to put their books in Kindle Unlimited, and many (most) haven’t. But is it a straw in the wind?

Gazania Week

gazenia

Gazanias are brilliantly coloured, bold flowers that flourish in the toughest conditions. I have great memories of using their petals as kid to produce the loudest, shrillest whistles. You held a petal taut and blew against it.

Who are you going to whistle to this week?

Call a friend, chat with a work colleague, make plans with family — initiate something that brings some happy socialising into people’s lives. Start a Twitter hashtag, join in one; party at a Facebook event; wander around the internet commenting on blogs (bloggers love that!).

Indulge your sociable instincts, no matter how unpromising the situation seems. Like gazanias, beauty can flourish in surprising places.

Pincushion Hakea Week

pincushionhakea

A Pincushion Hakea Week is all about preparation. Do any of you carry sewing kits in your handbag? Nope? How about when you go on holidays? A broken zip is no joke when you’re at a conference (been there, done that, was incredibly grateful for the safety pin in my purse).

Now, forget actual sewing kits and focus on metaphorical ones. We all have little strategies that help us get through the day. I’ve been known to bribe myself with chocolate to write a thousand words in an hour :) But I guess I’m thinking more of how we respond to disruptions to our plans.

Resilience is about having alternative paths to our goals. Do you have any emergency options to let you keep going when you really have to finish something, but life is getting in the way? Building resilience builds our competence and confidence.

It doesn’t hurt to look over your metaphorical sewing kits and think about your safety pins, cotton and needles for running repairs. These are short term fixes to problems. They aren’t meant to work long term, but they’ll get you through the day.

I feel like a boy scout with this post: Be prepared!