All posts by Jenny

Jenny Schwartz, author of Australian Coastal Romance

Demon Hunter is Free!

paranormal romance, demons, magic, romance,

Today is the official release day for my new paranormal romance, Demon Hunter. To celebrate, I’ve made it free (yes, free) for five days – exclusively on Amazon (which is the annoying bit – to get Demon Hunter into Amazon’s lending library, Kindle Unlimited, where it can go on being free for subscribers to read forever, Demon Hunter can only be listed with Amazon – sorry!).

You can bleed and die banishing a demon, but Fay Olwen discovers there are worse hurts. Betrayed by the Collegium and by her father, she must build a new life away from New York. Leopard-shifter Steve Jekyll would have her build it with him. But loyalties are never simple and new love never easy. When demons are unleashed, Fay tracks the evil back to the Collegium, and now all hell will break loose because Fay fights for the innocent, and Steve will protect what is his.

For fans of kick-ass heroines and shifter heroes who are alpha-male and sinfully sexy.

Demon Hunter is a paranormal romance novella.

Get it free, now!

You can read an excerpt or check out the app I created to accompany the book.demon

California Poppy Week

cpoppy

I adore California poppies. They’re determined to flourish, no matter what the conditions. I love their flamboyant flowers and I have good memories of the garden where I first saw them growing—my great aunt’s. The flowers in this pic are descendants of her original plants.

In a California Week there is a lot of laughter, the sort of laughter that defies hard times.

You’re finding allies this week. Maybe you’ll never talk to them. Maybe they’re on TV or catching a bus with you. Maybe they’re on the other side of the world chatting on Facebook. What matters is in Anne of Green Gable’s phrase, they’re “kindred spirits”. When you find people who can light up the bad times with laughter, hold onto them.

I’m not saying hard times are coming. But life does throw them up. Remember this week, how you opened your eyes and saw people tackle huge problems with humorous courage. So can you!

Kindle Unlimited Short Stories

kindle unlimited, kindle unlimited short stories, kindle unlimited paranormal romance, kindle unlimited steampunk,

Are you subscribed to Kindle Unlimited? Looking to fill in an idle hour? Hoping for a dash of romance and laughter? Then, please, consider reading one of my short stories – you’ll have a fun hour and I’ll have your help in jumpstarting Amazon’s algorithms to show my stories to other readers.

Paranormal romance collections:
Indulge http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P1T54H4
Dare http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P1TJ8GW

Steampunk:
Curses and Confetti http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NXFPTZK
Clockwork Gold http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PFE3EHW

Regency:
Midnight Kiss http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P25BBZG

Seasonal contemporary romance:
Guarding Christmas http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OT5INBU

PLUS

Demon Hunter releases Dec 17 – add it to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list here:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23709661-demon-hunter

The Icarus Plot – a fantastic Steampunk story – releases Jan 3. Details to come.

*All books I’ve listed on Kindle Unlimited are available for sale at 99c.

*Apologies to regular blog readers: I needed a post to send Kindle Unlimited subscribers to.

Book Predictions 2015

2015 predictions, publishing 2015,

Every year I challenge myself to predict the publishing landscape for the year ahead. And every year I’ve been too cosy, too focussed on my own little world, and so, I never get anything right. And yes, you do hear some frustration there.

So let’s go a bit broader. I’ve already discussed lending libraries/book subscription services and how I think Kindle Unlimited will lead to a short story bonanza.  But ebooks have also encouraged a lot of longer length work. The reason being that the cost of printing paper pages is no longer constricting word count. Both short and epic length books will hold a place in the book market. How authors make money at the different lengths is one of the many challenges of 2015.

Jeff Bezos, Mr Amazon, is on record as saying he wants to drive down the price of books. This will make them “more accessible”.

But I’m ignoring Bezos in favour of Amazon’s algorithms. They fascinate me. The thing is, they’re both a tool of discoverability and an assessment of authors’ activities. Yes, the algorithms are skewed to Amazon’s purposes, but they’re also about matching what readers want with what authors supply. If my books are low in the ranking, I’m not supplying what readers want – as much as I want to tantrum that it’s all the algorithms’ fault for “hiding” my books, it’s not.

There’s gold in them thar algorithms and that’s something I intend to exploit in 2015.

However, eggs in one basket is a foolish strategy. FOOLISH. Authors need to go wide. Self-publish with retailers other than Amazon. Submit to traditional publishers and work with them to push your books. Write, write, write so that you have products to sell.

Social media has been a huge distraction for years. Get over it. Yes, I’m a daily user of Facebook and Twitter, but I can tell you, it’s not moving my books. I need to be there so that when readers look, I’m present, but it is definitely not the best use of my time. My advice? Work out early (even before you start writing the book) where its audience hangs out and spend some of your rationed social media time there. Be strategic. It’s not rude, it’s smart; as long as you act with respect and according to the norms of the community you’re joining. Don’t join to use them. Join because you share their love for the sort of book you’re writing and which they read.

When it comes to considering trends in what books will be big in 2015, I’m still convinced that Coastal Romance has potential, especially with its theme of freedom. In fact, I suspect freedom in some form or other will define the key books of 2015. Millennials have expressed society’s general dissatisfaction with the status quo. Stories celebrating defeating or rejecting the system will resonate with many readers. Millennials don’t expect the system to work for them, so stories that show other paths will feed their hope.

In the end, and always, this is why I write: stories of hope keep us all going, build community and sustain our belief that we can change things for the better. Happy writing! Roll on, 2015!

 

 

Geranium Week

predictions, flower fortunes,

It’s a Geranium Week – prepare to be shocked.

I dislike the smell of geraniums. I guess the specially scented ones, like those that smell of lemon or apple, are all right. But the plain, ordinary, brightly flowering geraniums stink.

However, there is much to admire about geraniums and right up there is their boldness. Whether it’s scent, colour or vigorous growth, they’re definite about who they are and the life they’re going to lead.

We tend to be a bit fuzzy about ourselves, a bit indistinct around the edges, a bit blurred about who we are, what we do and what we’re aiming to do. So this week is a shock because someone’s going to show us that they see us clearly.

It’s disconcerting to see ourselves through others’ eyes. Distinctly disconcerting to realise that we appear quite pulled together and as if we know where we’re going. And here’s the kicker: we do!

So in a Geranium Week don’t refuse the knowledge of seeing ourselves as others see us. We’re actually far more amazing than we believe.

Kindle Unlimited

In the last few weeks I’ve been reading up on Kindle Unlimited and its competitors — Scribd and Oyster are the big ones. This interesting comparison of lending libraries tends to favour Scribd. But I’m backing Kindle Unlimited.

Why?

I love short stories and novellas. When they’re well-written, they give all the emotional punch of full length books, but let me enjoy a complete story and the happy ever after in a stolen hour. And life is so busy, now.

It seems to me that Kindle Unlimited is emerging as a place to find these short stories — and at a price that compares very favourably with the magazine market, which has been the traditional home of short stories and novellas. $9.99 a month really is a magazine subscription price, or it is in Australia (if only I could get Kindle Unlimited). But the bonus is that as a reader, you get to choose the stories!

For authors, Kindle Unlimited has major implications. For a start, so much of it is outside our control, including what Amazon pays us per borrow. Okay, that’s my credit card talking :) Of wider interest is the fact that a number of big name authors who participated in the launch of Kindle Unlimited have withdrawn their work and are publicly talking about the big hit they took in declining income. HM Ward in “KU crushed my sales” has said it was as high as a 75% drop in income. Ouch.

But I’m not a big name author, and readers don’t know that my stories are reliably good reads. So the gamble I’m taking is that in among all this uncertainty and rumour (which always runs rife when facts are few), Amazon will back up Kindle Unlimited by favouring in its algorithms authors with books in the lending library. There’s also the potential game-changer recently announced where Amazon is bundling buying a new kindle with six months subscription to Kindle Unlimited. That means a lot of new eyes on Kindle Unlimited as Christmas-gifted kindles are switched on.

The latest pay-out per book borrowed to authors was $1.33. This has declined every month since Kindle Unlimited started, and I expect it will continue declining. For short stories, I don’t think that matters so much. My short stories are priced at $0.99 anyway. I can take a fair hit on that if it’s balanced with increased visibility to readers. However, if your work is full length novels that generally sell $4.99 and up, the hit is substantial and may be a case of simply including the first book in a series in Kindle Unlimited to engage readers — and there we hit an Amazon exclusivity snag.

To have your books in Kindle Unlimited (unless you’re a big name author) you can’t sell your books anywhere other than Amazon. That is a big drawback. Readers want to read on different platforms and buy at places other than Amazon. For short stories, I’m not so fussed. I’m crossing all fingers that Kindle Unlimited becomes THE place to read short stories. But for longer-length work, yeah. It’s a different calculation.

This has been a long post and still hasn’t covered half the issues raised by Kindle Unlimited and other book subscription services. I’ve heard a rumour that Scribd wants to position itself as the place to borrow romance books. Romance readers are voracious so I get Scribd’s motivation. To that end, Scribd has a one year exclusive with Harlequin, and 15,000 titles.

What else have you heard? What do you think of subscription services for books, as a reader and/or as an author? Do you have any grand plans or are you ignoring the fuss?

kindle unlimited, kindle unlimited short stories, kindle unlimited novellas, kindle unlimited for authors, kindle unlimited advice,

My books, novellas and short stories available in Kindle Unlimited:

Indulge: Sensual Tales of Steampunk and Fantasy
Dare. Sensual Tales of Fantasy and Suspense
Guarding Christmas
Midnight Kiss
Curses and Confetti
Clockwork Gold
Some Days…
and coming Dec 17, Demon Hunter

 

Just Life

After two weeks of chaos, this is the day the paving is finally finished. It deserves a celebratory post. The noise of a brick saw has to be one of the worst sounds in the world, and then, there’s the fact that it kept tripping the electricity. Even that wasn’t the worst. Preparing the ground for paving kept throwing up surprises — like broken roof tiles buried sharp side up in the ground. Who does things like that?

DSC03602

This is the side of the house with the new raised garden bed that will hold up the fence that blew over in the storm. Isn’t it pretty? I didn’t take a “before” photo because some memories need to be forgotten. It was ugly and dangerous. Now comes the fun bit of planting tomatoes and basil and maybe cucumbers for summer. I’ve already eyed off the lovely north-facing fence and intend to grow pea this winter. Nothing beats fresh-picked peas.

And Christmas is officially in the house. The nativity from Bethlehem via Oxfam is out in my study.

crib

Now, I have to write like a demon and catch up after the chaos of the last few weeks. Or is that, months?