Haven't posted in awhile, but I have been busy. The most exciting thing is that I have a date I'm targeting for Kindle publication: 11/30/11. That's an aggressive date, and I have no idea if I can actually meet it or not, but it feels like I should be able to meet it, so I'm going to bust my butt trying.
Since my last post I've heard back from nearly all of my readers and gotten very good feedback, I've incorporated that feedback into two revision lists (one for quickies and one for structurals), I've completed all the quickie revisions and a couple of the bigger structural ones, I've started working on my web page and explored web hosting costs, I've taken a stab at setting up a fan page on Facebook (not completed yet), and I've developed a project plan for this whole rollout.
Gonna talk about the last thing first, because I'm actually really excited about it.
One thing I noticed in my explorations of other low-cost e-books published on Kindle and elsewhere (like Smashwords) is that when I see a free book with zero reviews, I'm very hesitant to buy. I'll usually look at a sample chapter or two, and frankly, those samples are usually pretty bad.
For me, the good early indicators of whether a book will be any good have been:
1) The on-site reviews. If it doesn't have any, I'm not inclined to be the first one.
2) The price. Call me snotty, but a free book makes me think "this book isn't worth paying for."
3) The number of previous downloads/purchases (when I can see it). Again, I don't want to be the first one.
Now, I realize not everyone looks at the world the same way I do, but I think these are reasonable obstacles for a first-time author to target. Here's how I'm currently planning to address this.
1) Contact all my beta readers and a few other people in advance of the publication date, and ask if they would commit to downloading the book within the first 24 hours. In addition, I'm going to ask if they'll commit to posting a review on Amazon. I will not be asking for a certain number of stars or a guaranteed positive review. Frankly, I could see this book getting some terrible reviews from people who are uncomfortable with the subject matter. I just want to get some legitimate reviews out there, and as quickly as possible.
2) I'll set the book as free for the first week or two, so that people who do commit to help me out don't have to pay anything to do so.
3) After 1-2 weeks, I'll set the price at its semi-permanent rate of $1.99.
If you happen to be reading this and are interested in helping me out with step 1 there, let me know. Although, of course, if you're reading this and you don't volunteer, you're probably still one of the people I'll be contacting anyway. : P
The Facebook fan page process was interesting. I started setting it up just to see what the process was like, which apparently was a mistake. Unlike every other web application in existence, where you walk through your setup options first but nothing is final until you click some kind of "Go" button at the end, Facebook creates your fan page immediately after you name it (which is step one). Then you have to back-fill your options. So, I have an empty Author page hanging out there, because obviously on the day I was checking out the process, I didn't yet have all the details. Thanks for that, Facebook! I'll have it all set up by launch day.
For the web page, it'll cost a bit more, but I really want a page with a custom url, and I'd like to own the domain name. I'm looking at a few different options for that right now, but am leaning toward Godaddy.com.
And of course, I have some revisions to finish up and some format tweaking to do - but this train is firing up and will be pulling out the station soon.