Archives for posts with tag: Book Marketing

My husband, Tom Robinson, and I live in a wonderful neighborhood with a variety of shops that carry a variety of specialized items we like. So when I go shopping, I often visit three or four grocery stores, plus a pharmacy. Over the years, I’ve made friends with several check-out clerks who have stayed at their jobs.

Check-out clerks don’t stay long at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but they do at Piedmont Grocery and the Grand Avenue Safeway. I make a point of learning their names, they recognize me (though they surely see hundreds of people every week), they learn and remember my name. Often I learn a bit about them and their families. It makes the shopping-for-groceries experience a little more personal. For me and hopefully for them. Over the years, I’ve befriended several grocery checkers until they’ve retired.

I know very well that grocery check-out clerks have an unglamorous, mind-numbing, boring job. Most shoppers treat them like automatons. They have to touch lots of stuff. They have to touch paper money, which is very dirty and can cause a skin irritation or an eye infection. A clerk whom I knew (a Filipina who went from black hair to white) usually wore plastic gloves and often a brace on her wrist for carpal tunnel syndrome.

A new late twentyish early thirtyish clerk showed up at Safeway about a year-and-a-half ago. She’s still there, which is a record for check-out clerks these days. I did my usual—catching her eye, smiling a friendly smile, saying hi, asking how she was. She’s Hispanic with long dark brown hair she sometimes wears up in a bun. She wears eyeliner on her brown eyes and sometimes a gold-tone necklace of praying hands on a chain.

And, to all appearances, she HATES her job. Always in a bad mood. Always a scowl, always bored out of her mind, never responding in any way to my friendly overtures (or anyone else’s). If she doesn’t have a bagger helping her out, never bagging the groceries.

Which, technically, check-out clerks are supposed to do. I mean, I don’t work for Safeway or Whole Foods. I’m there to spend high prices for food and goods and, yes, I expect service from their paid staff. (I sent an email to Whole Foods about an especially hostile and abusive check-out clerk; WF acknowledged that was part of the job of the check-out clerk, to bag the groceries if a staff-paid bagger wasn’t at hand; WF sent me a twenty-five dollar gift coupon after my complaint. But that’s another story.)

One time—and this was a slow day, there weren’t scores of customers to deal with—the scowling Safeway check-out clerk literally threw a package of toilet tissue at me across the card-swiping stand. I’d just spent over a hundred dollars, I was in a bad mood, and I threw the toilet tissue into my shopping cart. The store manager hurried over and asked, “Is something wrong?” I said, “You better improve your customer service or I won’t spend money here anymore.”

After that, I avoided her check-out stand. I’d rather wait in a longer line than deal with a hostile clerk. I maintained that policy until the last time I shopped at Safeway when everything changed.

Now. A few years ago, I developed a skin irritation on my back. Neither witch hazel nor calamine lotion helped. What did help was medicated talcum powder, which healed me right up. Then I saw the Internet news that a woman was suing the talcum powder company because she had ovarian cancer and she claimed the talcum powder was to blame. It turns out that talcum powder may contain traces of asbestos, an extremely carcinogenic substance.

There had been a decades-long class-action lawsuit by war workers who had worked in the World War II shipyards, installing asbestos in the warships as anti-fire protection (it’s very good for that), and who had contracted lung cancer. The big law firms representing the war industries (I worked at one of those firms as an associate attorney, so I saw some of the documentation) sought to prove the war workers had gotten lung cancer because they smoked tobacco. Not because they’d breathed, without face masks, dust from the panels of asbestos they’d installed in the warships.

The talcum powder plaintiff won her lawsuit for millions of dollars. The talcum powder company appealed; the appellate court overturned the verdict. The plaintiff’s attorneys have appealed that decision but, in the meantime, the plaintiff had died of her ovarian cancer.

I stopped using the medicated talcum powder at once, even though I loved it, and switched to what is a new product offered by the talcum powder company in the wake of the much publicized court case (which is still undecided as far as I know). Pure cornstarch baby powder, with Vitamin E and aloe. This is a truly wonderful product, so silky and fragrant. I love powdering my back, feet, and other body parts after a shower, which dries any residual moisture and thus prevents skin irritations.

I usually buy baby powder at my local pharmacy but that day—the day everything changed—I found this product at the Safeway. (Since the stiff competition from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts in my neighborhood, the Grand Avenue Safeway has just gotten better and better.)

I bought the baby powder. I also bought two packages of cuetips, since they were on sale, two for one, and I go through a lot of cuetips. I bought our usual Safeway groceries—vegetarian meat substitutes that are totally delicious, low-fat yogurt salad dressings, three-color coleslaw, a package of toilet tissue—and went to the check-out counters to spend another hundred bucks.

There were only two fifteen-items-only counters open and the hostile clerk’s.

So, okay. One more time. I was not going to let this ruin my day. I caught her eye, I smiled, I said hi. I handed her my two L.L. Bean canvas shopping bags and she swiped my purchases through. Then she got to the baby powder and, after that, the two packages of cuetips.

Suddenly, her eyes flew up at me and she said, “Why don’t they want you to use cuetips?”

It took me a second or two to process that and then I said, “You mean for cleaning ears?”

She said, “Yes!”

I said, “Well, some people jam them too far into the ear canal. That could potentially damage your eardrum.”

She nodded gravely, still fixing her eyes on mine. “I just took my daughter to the doctor. She’s got a lot of gunk in there. It’s ugly, I don’t like it. But the doctor told me, ‘Don’t use cuetips.’”

I said, “Hmm! I guess the doctor doesn’t trust you to clean your daughter’s ears carefully. Just be careful, don’t jam the cuetip in too far, clean the gunk out, and you and she should be fine.”

Relief flooded her face and she said, “Thank you.” I reached for the package of toilet tissue to pack it in one of my bags and she said, “No, no. I’ll service this for you.” She carefully packed my groceries in my two bags and carried them around the end of the check-out counter (they were heavy!) to my shopping cart.

I thanked her, she earnestly thanked me, and I pushed the cart out to my car, marveling over the miraculous transformation of Sandra (Safeway printed out her name on my receipt. I will remember it).

What had happened to change this woman’s behavior toward me, her perception of me?

The baby powder said I was helping a woman take care of a baby and the two packages of cuetips completed the image of a care-giver. I obviously don’t have a baby of my own, so I was helping my daughter, who had a boring, mind-numbing job and a baby who needed her ears cleaned.

Inside of two seconds, Sandra imagined this new story about me, this new image of me, and created her new attitude toward me. She imagined who I was and that image made her suddenly connect with me in a way she hadn’t done before. There she was, earnestly asking my advice about taking care of her baby daughter across a grocery store conveyor belt.

I hadn’t sought out this connection. It had happened randomly, fortuitously. I couldn’t have made that happen if I’d tried. Because I didn’t know the facts of the situation. What would change Sandra’s mind about me. And usually in marketing, in trying to connect with customers, with readers, you don’t know who they are. What pushes their friendly button. Their buy-button. Their loyalty button.

This is from an article in the AdWeek of April 30, 2018, “Smart brands will think about ways to capitalize on the relationship opportunity to drive loyalty.”

WTF does that mean? you and I are saying. That’s ad-speak for all I’ve described to you above. Ad-people make a full-time living—and movie marketers and book marketers—trying to figure out how to connect with people, to lure them into buying products, movies, books. By connecting with the baby-powder effect.

Here’s the problem! No one really knows—I didn’t know—what the effect is until you stumble upon it. Publishers exhort writers to connect with their audience, with their readers. To identify what your audience wants and write for them. If you’re a woman writing formula romance or a man writing space-opera science fiction, I suppose that task—identifying your audience and writing to their expectations—is fairly easy.

But I’m a woman writing idiosyncratic, character-driven speculative fiction, both of the science-fictional variety, fantasy, and urban fantasy. I’m an old-school feminist, which basically means I believe in equal pay for equal work. That women should be respected, their thoughts and opinions should be given equal consideration as men’s. I’ve written elaborate time-travels that mash-up far-future projections with exhaustively researched historical periods. I usually have Something To Say—not preachy, I hope—but observational. Insightful. Sometimes political. But don’t be too sure you know what the politics are. I’m an independent thinker, going way back. I don’t march to any party’s orders. I like to challenge conventional thought.

How do you or I utilize the baby-powder effect? It was random, accidental, coincidental. A minor miracle but, in the end, I just don’t know. I’ll tell you this, though. When I go shopping at Safeway again? I’ll seek out Sandra’s counter, I’ll catch her eye, smile, and call her by her name, and I’ll ask if she tried using a cuetip to carefully clean out her daughter’s ears. I’m looking forward to her answer.

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Amazon.com recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription-style option for readers essentially permitting them unlimited ebooks in the Unlimited program for a standard monthly fee. What ebooks are in the Unlimited program? All books in the Amazon Select program, whereby readers borrow an ebook for a period of time for free. Because Amazon maintains a “Global Fund,” the borrowed ebook earns for the author a varying royalty determined as a percentage of the Global Fund, which may change from month to month. There are some 500,000 ebooks in the Select program, which are now in the Unlimited program.

You should be aware of two major rules affecting Select, and fherefore Unlimited, ebooks. First, if you decide you want to go this route, Amazon demands exclusivity. Meaning that you are required to remove the book from other vendors, typically Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Second, you are locked into the Select program for three months, whereupon, unless you uncheck the re-enroll box, you are automatically re-enrolled.

I tried Select about two years ago with a title, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy. This is a novella based on a screenplay I wrote for a producer looking for another “Men in Black” or “Galaxy Quest,” and scored a five-star review on Amazon.com. I had sold a few copies of this ebook on Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords. Then I put the book on the Select program, according to the rules. I got no borrows whatsoever. After three months, I put the ebook back on sale and relisted it on the other vendors.

So my experience with Select was not good and I really can’t recommend it.

By the way, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Here’s the 5 star review:

A very clever humorous novella! July 26, 2013 Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase “I had never read any work by this author, but I met Lisa on Facebook and twitter and she seemed a very nice person. For that reason, I thought I would try one of her books, but I really had no expectations; being a nice person is no proof that she will be able to write. As it turns out, she also was an excellent author! By about the time I was halfway through the book, I found myself very involved with the characters and wholeheartedly cheering them on! I took a chance on someone I never read before and was rewarded by finding another favorite author. It wasn’t until I had finished the book and read the end material that I learned that she had many other works published and some with pending movie contracts. I would highly recommend this 82 page funny novella to anyone who enjoys a well written book with excellent character development in unusually subtle ways. Read this little book and I’m sure you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was. I am looking forward to reading more of her works as I’m sure you will be, too!”

When Amazon launched Unlimited, they did not notify or ask the permission of Select authors before their books were automatically enrolled, they just went ahead and did it, causing a stir at Publishers Weekly and elsewhere. Because some authors did not wish to become a part of Unlimited, Amazon was forced to offer Select authors a way to unenroll their books from Select, and therefore Unlimited.

Why would you wish not to be a part of Unlimited? Two authors on the Books & Writers group on LinkIn have already expressed their fears that readers would begin borrowing so many books to make their monthly fee worthwhile that the authors’ royalty would be substantially reduced.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Amazon Unlimited counts a reader’s sampling of more than ten percent of the book as a sale! I don’t know about you, but I sample books—for-sale books—all the time to get a sense of the author’s style, how the book opens, and so on. As result of Unlimited’s sampling gambit, a number of Unlimited ebooks have precipitously leapt into the top 100 books on Bowker Ebook Ranking and elsewhere. In other words, Unlimited sampling artificially inflates “sales figures.” The problem became so dire, so quickly, that Bowker removed Unlimited ebooks from its ranking!

Finally, Smashwords has issued a blog denouncing both Select and Unlimited because of the exclusivity rule. Naturally, Smashwords has a vested interest in taking this position—they’re Amazon’s prime competitor after Barnes and Noble. Most authors, including me, list their books directly with Amazon and Barnes and Noble and then distribute to Apple, Kobo, Scribd, and so on via Smashwords. This is a good strategy because Amazon and B&N pay royalties on a monthly basis, whereas Smashwords pays only quarterly. Further, meeting the independent formatting rules of all those vendors is difficult. I find it easier just to let Smashwords handle that through its fantastic conversion program.

So there you have it, my friends. If you’ve never been published before and have written a ebook, you may wish to try Select and Unlimited to try to win readers who are unfamiliar with your name and your work and who don’t have to pay for your book (or your book is included in their fee along with all the other books they borrow). Personally, I think that unknown authors offering their books for free or for a minimal amount is demeaning to their work and an unsound strategy. Better to promote on the social networks, offer free samples, and/or publish stories in an established traditional venue and win name recognition that way.

I’m embarking on the serialization of The Garden of Abracadabra on WordPress and Wattpad today! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

In a blog Smashwords founder Mark Coker posted earlier this year, he discussed the issues of ebook pricing and royalty percentages among independent authors versus traditionally published authors. I discussed that issue, too, in my “Crunching the Numbers” blogs, the links to which I include below.

So I won’t repeat that material here. The gist of it is: an independent author is able to charge a competitively lower ebook price than a traditional publisher (a traditionally published author has no power to set the price at all). This is because an independent doesn’t have to support a Manhattan skyscraper, the costly print side of the business, or a high-priced staff. I would contend that professional authors (that is, authors previously or presently traditionally published, like me) but first-time and totally independent authors, too, are capable of producing an ebook with the quality (content and appearance) of a traditionally published book.

How does an independent potentially earn more if her ebook is priced lower than a traditionally published ebook? Because the independent earns a 70% royalty of the ebook’s price, as opposed to the 10—25% royalty paid by traditional publishers to their authors.

And traditional authors only earn that amount every six months, and the amount is funneled through the author’s literary agent, which adds yet more wait time. Whereas independents collect their royalties every month (two months after the close of the sales period, but if you earn royalties every month, as I do, that amounts to monthly checks from all the retailer sites on which you list your ebook. Every three months (quarterly) from Smashwords from the numerous e-sites they distribute your book to.)

That’s all well and good. But the question remains: how can independents compete against traditional publishing with its Big Media marketing power?

Mark Coker asserted in his blog that independents are capturing more and more of the market share of ebook earnings. He predicts that independents’ market share of ebook earnings in 2014 could approach 60%. He predicts the independents will capture an increased market share in the years ahead, with independent authors (collectively, mind you) earning half of all ebook sales and four times the amount of royalties earned by traditionally published authors by the year 2020.

For every dollar of ebook revenue earned, the independent author earns 70 cents, whereas the traditional author earns 15 cents.

I appreciate Mark Coker and Smashwords very much, but bear in mind he’s got a vested interest in getting you excited by the prospect of ebooks. He and Smashwords earn money when you list with them.

Mr. Coker admits this assessment doesn’t include traditional advances paid by big publishers to authors and the sad fact that the great majority of advances never “earn out” (earn revenue at those low traditional royalty rates to pay back the advance). This is one of my greatest objections to traditional publishing. Not that the publisher failed to accurately assess the commercial appeal of a book (as Mr. Coker asserts), but that the publisher doesn’t give an author a print-run and media exposure to give the book a fighting chance to earn out.

Mr. Coker also assumes that print books will continue to decline in importance. That may be so, but I still think many avid readers want to hold a glossy book in their hands.

These days, of course, young people are being taught to go to all things digital. It may be that, by 2020, ereaders will more common on the beach or in the park as the print books I continue to see on people’s laps.

Mr. Coker correctly notes the inventory of high-quality ebooks that never go out of print means those books must compete with the steady stream of new releases. Every author—independent and traditional—will be competing for a limited number of avid readers.

Competition has always been fierce in publishing. It will become fiercer.

Mr. Coker sets out 10 reasons why independent authors will capture 50% of the ebook market by 2020. Many of his speculations are assumed in the list. I’ll summarize it here. My comments follow each point in paranthese:

1. Print will continue to decline as more readers transition from page to screen. (That’s a huge speculation.)

2. More brick-and-mortar bookstores will go out of business. (The closure of stores has loomed large in this last decade. But old stores find ways of surviving, people still love their local bookstore, and new stores are slowly cropping up. So I don’t know.)

3. The perceived value of a publisher will decline to traditional authors as print declines. Traditional authors will explore independent publishing. (Absolutely true. Every traditionally published author I know has his/her own publishing company and ebooks for his/her backlist. Including me.)

4. Independent authors have become more professional in producing better books. (Probably true, but a lot of detritus remains out there.)

5. The number of self-published books will explode. (Yep.)

6. Independent authors mentor other independents. (I haven’t seen this at all.)

7. The stigma of self-publishing is vanishing. (Probably true.)

8. Authors are discovering the ease, power, and satisfaction of self-publishing. (Absolutely true, for the reasons I set out above. There are even more reasons I haven’t mentioned.)

9. Readers don’t care who the publisher is. (Probably true, but I can’t say for sure.)

10. Professional writers are becoming more disgusted and alienated by the traditional literary agent/big publisher business model. (Absolutely true.)

All this raises a plethora of other questions. What percentage of the total book market do ebooks represent? The Hatchett Book Group, one of the Big Five Publishers, recently reported that 30% of its billion-dollar earnings in 2013 were from ebooks. That’s a stunning number. A mere four years ago, the percentage was only 10%, at best. So this is real progress. Yet 30% leaves the other 70% of the book market to print books.

That remains not a very good percentage.

The all-important issues of readership and market exposure loom large over independent authors. And the issues of quality of the writing and professionalism. A career path of hybrid publishing looks very promising, and traditional publishers and literary agents are starting to bow to a reality they never wanted to acknowledge before. I’ll address these issues in later blogs.

So there you have it, my friends. The news is good, but still not reason to break out the champagne. Being an author was never a get-rich-quick scheme. It remains a calling requiring your dedication, hard work, talent, and time.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

I’m reposting this because it fits in with my State of the Biz Series.

The following is a spoof, my friends, meant to send up the absurdities of Big Publishing’s marketing strategies. Apparently this hit so close to home, though, that when I posted it on Facebook back in August 2013, people actually took it seriously and made many exasperated comments. If you’re an author, I sincerely hope you get a chuckle, not a fit of weeping.

Here ‘tis:

As we all know, Big Publishing (BP) categorizes fiction according to the age of the main characters, who are meant to appeal to readers of the same age since everyone is so self-centered these days they only want to read about characters just like them (only much, much better or much, much worse). BP formulates its book marketing strategy according to these categories so you, the author, ignore them at your peril.

BP begins with Picture Books aimed at 3—5.5 years old (YO) with goofy illustrations that look as if they could have been drawn by a slightly slow 5 YO but in fact are drawn by cunning adults. BP moves on to Middle Grade, which has trended out to New Middle Grade (5.5—8). Middle Middle Grade (8—10), and Old Middle Grade (10—12.5).

From there BP leaps into the now somewhat dated but still hot Young Adult (YA), subdividing the category into Experimenting With Orgasms New Young Adult (12.5—14.5), Madly In Love With A Jerk Middle Young Adult (14.5—16.5), and Older and Wiser Old Young Adult (16.5—18.5), including the important subcategory Learning Archery, Watch Out Jerk Old Young Adult.

Now comes the hotter than hot, not dated yet but getting there fast, category New Adult (NA). BP is scrambling to subdivide NA into I’m So Troubled New New Adult (18.5—20.5), Crap, I’m Getting Old Middle New Adult (20.5—23.5), and I’m Supposed To Be Mature But I Still Ride A Skateboard Old New Adult (23.5—29.5).

The marketing demographic get dicey with I Felt Like Killing Myself When I Turned Thirty New-Thirtysomething Adult (29.5—32.5), Damn I Hate This Job Middle-Thirtysomething Adult (32.5—35.5), and I’m Divorcing That Jerk Old Thirtysomething Adult (35.5—39.5).

Dicier still are the Fortysomething Books–I Got Bifocals and My First Nose Ring New Forty (39.5—42.5), Having My Last Fling Middle Forty (42.5—46.5), and Having a Midlife Crisis Old Forty (46.5—49.5).

BP is puzzled how to market New Fifty (49.5—52.5) (dark, problematic downers), Mom Died And Left Me A Bunch Of Bills Middle Fifty (52.5—56.5). More saleable is the Still Flirty At Fifty Old Fifty Books (56.5—59.5).

It remains to be seen whether the readership will still be alive and solvent to buy I’m Still A Sixties Hippie at Sixty New Sixty books (59.5—62.5), let alone I Can’t Afford to Retire Middle Sixty books (62.5—65.5) or One Foot in the Grave Old Sixty books (65.5—69.5).

Book marketing is so difficult!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. Five-star rated! On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star pro and reader reviews, on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

‘Thank you for your readership!

The following is a spoof, my friends, meant to send up the absurdities of Big Publishing’s marketing strategies. Apparently this hit so close to home, though, that when I posted it on Facebook back in August, people actually took it seriously and made many exasperated comments. If you’re an author, I sincerely hope you get a chuckle, not a fit of weeping:

As we all know, Big Publishing (BP) categorizes fiction according to the age of the main characters, who are meant to appeal to readers of the same age since everyone is so self-centered these days they only want to read about characters just like them (only much, much better or much, much worse). BP formulates its book marketing strategy according to these categories so you, the author, ignore them at your peril.

BP begins with Picture Books aimed at 3—5.5 years old (YO) with goofy illustrations that look as if they could have been drawn by a slightly slow 5 YO but in fact are drawn by cunning adults. BP moves on to Middle Grade, which has trended out to New Middle Grade (5.5—8). Middle Middle Grade (8—10), and Old Middle Grade (10—12.5).

From there BP leaps into the now somewhat dated but still hot Young Adult (YA), subdividing the category into Experimenting With Orgasms New Young Adult (12.5—14.5), Madly In Love With A Jerk Middle Young Adult (14.5—16.5), and Older and Wiser Old Young Adult (16.5—18.5), including the important subcategory Learning Archery, Watch Out Jerk Old Young Adult.

Now comes the hotter than hot, not dated yet but getting there fast, category New Adult (NA). BP is scrambling to subdivide NA into I’m So Troubled New New Adult (18.5—20.5), Crap I’m Getting Old Middle New Adult (20.5—23.5), and I’m Supposed To Be Mature But I Still Ride A Skateboard Old New Adult (23.5—29.5).

The marketing demographic get dicey with I Felt Like Killing Myself When I Turned Thirty New Thirtysomething Adult (29.5—32.5), Damn I Hate This Job Middle Thirtysomething Adult (32.5—35.5), and I’m Divorcing That Jerk Old Thirtysomething Adult (35.5—39.5).

Dicier still are the Fortysomething Books–I Got Bifocals and My First Nose Ring New Forty (39.5—42.5), Having My Last Fling Middle Forty (42.5—46.5), and Having a Midlife Crisis Old Forty (46.5—49.5).

BP is puzzled how to market New Fifty (49.5—52.5) (dark, problematic downers), Mom Died And Left Me A Bunch Of Bills Middle Fifty (52.5—56.5). More saleable is the Still Flirty At Fifty Old Fifty Books (56.5—59.5).

It remains to be seen whether the readership will still be alive and solvent to buy I’m Still A Sixties Hippie at Sixty New Sixty books (59.5—62.5), let alone I Can’t Afford to Retire Middle Sixty books (62.5—65.5) or One Foot in the Grave Old Sixty books (65.5—69.5).

Book marketing is so difficult!

Happy Halloween!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords; and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit The Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

As we all know, Big Publishing (BP) categorizes fiction according to the age of the main characters, who are meant to appeal to readers of the same age since everyone is so self-centered these days they only want to read about characters just like them (only much, much better or much, much worse). BP formulates its marketing strategy according to these categories so you, the author, ignore them at your peril.

BP begins with Picture Books aimed at 3—5.5 years old (YO) with goofy illustrations that look as if they could have been drawn by a slightly slow 5 YO but in fact are drawn by cunning adults. BP moves on to Middle Grade, which has trended out to New Middle Grade (5.5—8). Middle Middle Grade (8—10), and Old Middle Grade (10—12.5).

From there BP leaps into the now somewhat dated but still hot Young Adult (YA), subdividing the category into Experimenting With Orgasms New Young Adult (12.5—14.5), Madly In Love With A Jerk Middle Young Adult (14.5—16.5), and Older and Wiser Old Young Adult (16.5—18.5), including the important subcategory Learning Archery, Watch Out Jerk Old Young Adult.

Now comes the hotter than hot, not dated yet but getting there fast category New Adult (NA). BP is scrambling to subdivide NA into I’m So Troubled New New Adult (18.5—20.5), Crap I’m Getting Old Middle New Adult (20.5—23.5), and I’m Supposed To Be Mature But I Still Ride A Skateboard Old New Adult (23.5—29.5).

The marketing demographic gets dicey with I Felt Like Killing Myself When I Turned Thirty New Thirtysomething Adult (29.5—32.5), Damn I Hate This Job Middle Thirtysomething Adult (32.5—35.5), and I’m Divorcing That Jerk Old Thirtysomething Adult (35.5—39.5). Dicier still are the Fortysomething Books–I Got Bifocals and My First Nose Ring New Forty (39.5—42.5), Having My Last Fling Middle Forty (42.5—46.5), and I’m Having a Midlife Crisis Old Forty (46.5—49.5).

BP is puzzled how to market New Fifty (49.5—52.5) (dark, problematic downers), Mom Died And Left Me A Bunch Of Bills Middle Fifty (52.5—56.5). More saleable is the Still Flirty At Fifty Old Fifty Books (56.5—59.5).

It remains to be seen whether the readership will still be alive and solvent to buy I’m Still A Sixties Hippie at Sixty New Sixty books (59.5—62.5), let alone I Can’t Afford to Retire Middle Sixty books (62.5—65.5) or One Foot in the Grave Old Sixty books (65.5—69.5).

Book marketing is so difficult.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Love a historical mystery? Passionate romantic suspense?

Try Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)!

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. When Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (Apple iTunes, Kobo, Sony)!

Or try this series in affordable installments.

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (Apple iTunes, Kobo, Sony)! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (Apple iTunes, Kobo, Sony)! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. As they begin a passionate affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Tremaine journey to Imperial China, confronting soldiers of the Boxer Revolution and brutal slavers. Lily discovers secrets vital to the identity of the Celestial Girl. In Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Jackson return to San Francisco and solve the tragic mystery of the Celestial Girl. Both on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (Apple iTunes, Kobo, Sony).

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Enjoy the punch of a short story?

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (all other readers including Kobo, Sony, and Apple). Acclaimed short fantasy and science fiction by Lisa Mason published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide.

From Goodreads: “Hilarious, provocative, profound.”
Five Stars on Amazon: “Great work!”

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!