FanFic as a Market, Really?

The following is just a very brief overview of Kindle Worlds. I’ve included lots of links to cover stuff that I didn’t. I had heard that Amazon had ventured into the arena of FanFic, but I turned off my ears after that. Recently I did a little research, as I am wont to do.

If you are ignorant on the topic of Kindle Worlds, join the club. As mentioned above, you’re writing FanFic, but making money off it, and not necessarily in a BDSM sort of way :)

Okay bad joke. I couldn’t help it. If you didn’t get the joke, “Fifty Shades of Grey” started out as “Twilight” FanFic.

FanFic though? Well, yes. Think about it as a businessperson and not as a snob. It may be a way to increase your income and your discoverability.

Logically, the first step would be choose a “World” not too far from your own style of writing and/or works you have out. There are quite a few worlds in many genres, and all of them are listed later on in this article, or click here if you’re impatient.

Sales Rankings

Here are the Sales Rankings of the #1 and the #100 in the Kindle Worlds Store:
  • #1 in the Kindle Worlds Store is at 1,112 (100 – 150/day*) Caveat – this book is by Cat Johnson, a well-known romance writer.
  • #100 in the Kindle Worlds Store is at 165,806 (less than 1 sale per day*) – makes it #16 in the Kindle Worlds Romance top 100.
*Based on Theresa Ragan’s Sales Ranking Chart (
The above is good news and bad news:
  • The bad news is that you can be in Kindle World’s top 100 and not be selling much. 
  • The good news is more telling. Kindle Worlds has been operating for about a year. The market isn’t saturated, yet. Is there a possibility that it won’t take off? Hell yes! But there’s a chance that it can. And almost all that Jeff Bezos touches turns into platinum.

Amazon is marketing the H.E. double hockey sticks out of it, recruiting popular authors to write for Kindle Worlds (I’d bet at different royalty rates) like Hugh Howey (Vonneget World), Barbara Freethy (Pretty Little Liars World), Neal Pollack (John Rain and Abnorm Chronicles), Bella Andre (Four Weddings and a Fiasco World) and LJ Smith (the fired TV writer for the Vampire Diaries now making money off – you guessed it – The Vampire Diaries. Read for more details).

So, how would this increase your discoverability? There aren’t any guarantees, but if someone likes what they’ve read, they just *might* check out your other works. It could also be an additional income stream, as there could be an ever-increasing fan-base for the world you’re writing in.

The Skinny on Rights, Royalties and the Rest


Kindle Worlds is not KDP. The royalties and the rights are different. You rights – well you don’t have many. You don’t “own” your work. Here are the specifics from Amazon (Reprinted from  -

Can somebody make a movie, game, or merchandise based on my story? In order to avoid any questions about the origination of story ideas, Amazon Publishing and the World Licensors have reserved the right to create movies, TV shows, games, merchandise, and other derivative works based on the stories and new elements published by Kindle Worlds. If a movie, TV show, or game gets made based on your story or elements in your story, you will benefit from the ongoing royalties generated from sales of your work.
What if I want to get my rights back? Can they get reverted? Due to our licensing arrangements with World Licensors and the unique, collaborative nature of each World, once your story has been accepted and published in Kindle Worlds, we are unable to revert the rights.
Can I publish the same stories in other places (free fiction sites, blogs, or with another publisher)? (added by Jill –  short answer - NO) Stories must be exclusive to Kindle Worlds and may not appear or be published in other places. If you would like, you can promote your story by making available up to 20% of your work for free on your website or blog. We recommend linking it back to your detail page.


The royalties are different, too. It’s based on word count. The minimum length is 5,000 words. For works up to 9,999 words, the royalty is  20%. For anything longer it is 35%. I’ve done a quick looksie, and it seems like a few Kindle Worlds authors are writing mini-serials or series. It would seem to be a profitable way to increase your income as the price range is $0.99-$3.99 ($0.198-$1.396 range of royalties).

The Rest

  • Although you are not under the same terms as KDP, your sales are available on the KDP dashboard. Also, you get paid in the same way.
  • You can also add your FanFic to your Author Central page.
  • If you want to have a Reader’s look at Kindle Worlds, here’s the portal on Amazon:
  • Amazon review's your book to see if it is typo free and appropriate. They say that they vet it for a couple of days. I didn't find anything about rejections, but one has to assume that some are rejected.
  • No crossover stories are allowed (no cheating by bringing your character from your series into this series)

Will I Look Uncool to My Writer Friends?

Well, I’ve never written FanFic, and I’m considering it. Do I care that the other writers will point and laugh at me? No, not really. I’m proud of my geekiness. And people used to laugh at self-pubbed writers. It may look bad now, but do you really care if you’re making money and increasing discoverability?

Conversely, some authors despise FanFic, but you are working with “Worlds” in which you have permission to write in. If you’re BFF’s with Ann Rice (who hates fan fiction), then this may be an issue. And of course, if you personally are against FanFic, then don’t do it.

Some may argue that it will stigmatize you. It's a risk and may or may not reap rewards. In fact who knows, it may come to bite you in the bum. That's what a risk is all about. I'm good at stating the obvious, aren't I?

Just opened For Romance Authors

*Update* - Updated June 27/14

If you look at the romance listings below, they are brand spanking new. So these are very new opportunities. Check out the following article for details:

I've taken a screenshot of all the "Worlds" and the titles written for each world. As you can see, these new worlds are an amazing opportunity IMHO. Only 4 titles for all for markets. As you can see, if you write ero-rom, there aren't any titles for HM Ward's "World" yet (btw, HM Ward has sold over 4 million copies of her books).

kindle worlds and titles

Interesting POV’s and Information on Kindle Worlds


The Worlds Available

The following sections are re-printed from the Kindle Worlds site:, If nothing else, the descriptions of some I've never heard of have intrigued me and I will have to check them out.

Kindle Worlds that are Romance, Erotic Romance or Have Strong Romantic Elements

  1. The Arrangement – HM Ward  - With options and money dwindling, Avery Stanz made a life-altering choice to accept a one-time, high-paying position as a call girl. When damaged and mysterious Sean Ferro turned out to be her selective client, Avery gained more than her college tuition in the bargain. While Sean and Avery may be trying to live happily ever after (if such a thing exists within the wealthy and dysfunctional Ferro clan), the stories of their friends, rivals, and counterparts could use a little creative love. What will you arrange?
  2. The Callaways – Barbara Freethy  - Risk takers and rescuers! The Callaways serve and protect with the best of the best as firefighters, detectives, soldiers, doctors, and more. Bring your own alpha hero to the intimate circle of this Irish-American clan where family and love are as important as mystery and adventure. Become part of this New York Times bestselling series with your own spin on a World where good triumphs over evil and love comes when it's least expected.
  3. Four Weddings and a Fiasco – Lucy Kevin  - The caterers, florists, DJs, dress designers, and proprietors of the Rose Chalet—the top wedding venue in San Francisco—do more than make a bride's big day the talk of the town, they find their own true loves when least expected. Whether the next wedding bells to chime are for new Chalet staff members, Chalet staff siblings, men and women who meet at one of the Chalet weddings, or complete strangers is entirely up to you!
  4. Game For Love – Bella Andre  - The game always changes for super-sexy, alpha athlete heroes who meet their perfect heroines in these sexy, fun and emotional romances that revolve around the world of professional sports (including but not limited to football, baseball, soccer, basketball, beach volleyball, race cars, polo, etc.). When professional linebacker Cole Taylor sets out to fulfill his grandmother's dying wish, he finds his perfect and innocent match, Anna Davis, in the most unlikely of places, and the love that develops between Cole and Anna leaves them irrevocably altered. Whose game will you change next?

Television Series (with Romance or Romantic Elements)

  1. The Vampire Diaries – The CW (Alloy Entertainment)  - The New York Times bestselling Vampire Diaries books, and the hit CW TV show that the book series inspired, revolve around high school mortal Elena Gilbert and her epic love triangle with vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Fell’s Church is charged with supernatural history and has been home to vampires, werewolves, witches, and other supernatural threats for centuries. Over the course of the book series, Elena comes into her own power and she and her friends clash with evil, paranormal forces that are hell bent on destroying them. Through it all, Elena struggles with her love for Stefan and Damon, which draws them all irresistibly together—but threatens to tear the brothers apart.  
  2. Pretty Little Liars -    ABC (Alloy Entertainment)  - Sara Shepard’s bestselling Pretty Little Liars books and the hit ABC Family original TV series her book series inspired, revolve around four teen girls who become popular on the heels of their manipulative best friend, Alison DiLaurentis. Following Alison’s mysterious disappearance, the four girls—Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Spencer Hastings and Emily Fields —are forced to deal with a snarky and vindictive stalker, known only as A, who is privy to all of their darkest secrets.
  3. Gossip Girl  - The CW (Alloy Entertainment) - seeing a theme here? -  Cecily von Ziegesar’s bestselling Gossip Girl books, and The CW TV show her book series inspired, revolve around the scandalous lives of Manhattan's young elite. The series is narrated by Gossip Girl, your one and only source for all the latest gossip, who keeps the private school set informed as an anonymous blogger. Upper East Siders Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, and Chuck Bass lead von Ziegesar’s cast of enviable, but irresistibly flawed characters. Dan Humphrey, his best friend Vanessa Abrams and his little sister Jenny are Brooklyn-based outsiders whose storylines make them unlikely members of Serena and Blair’s exclusive world.
  4. Veronica Mars - the TV series (there’s a novel that the TV Series is based on) – UPN/The CW (Alloy Entertainment) In the wealthy seaside community of Neptune, California, the rich and powerful make the rules—and they break them just as often. Her best friend murdered, her father’s Sheriff badge stripped away, and surrounded by questions that no one wants to answer, 17-year-old Veronica Mars has learned the hard way that you can’t always trust local law enforcement to hand out justice. High school student by day, apprentice P.I. by night, Veronica is determined to solve the town’s toughest mysteries—and what she finds threatens to tear Neptune apart at the seams.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Action Adventure/Thrillers etc

  1. John Rain (Thriller/Suspense/Hot Sex) A global thriller franchise featuring John Rain, as assassin whose specialty is making it look like "natural causes." The stories are characterized by conflicted characters, edge-of-your-seat action, realistic tradecraft, real-world political backstories, exotic settings, and steamy sex.
  2. Silo Saga – Hugh Howey’s series starting with Wool  - The Silo Series was originally published in nine parts. The first book, WOOL, was released in July, 2011 as a short story. Four more parts followed, and these five stories were collected into a single novel, which went on to enjoy great success. WOOL told the story of Juliette, a mechanic in an underground silo who is given the job of sheriff. Juliette uncovers the mystery behind the underground world in which she lives. Following WOOL was the SHIFT series, told in three parts. Starting off as a prequel, SHIFT soon catches up to the events told in WOOL from a different perspective. The end of SHIFT and WOOL intersect, setting up the final chapter, DUST.
  3. The World of Kurt Vonnegut -  Considered one of the most influential American novelists of the twentieth century, Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1922. He studied at the Universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1952, followed by numerous other works including Cat’s Cradle (1963), Welcome to the Monkey House (1968), and Breakfast of Champions (1973). During the Second World War, he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience that provided the setting for Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), his most famous work. Slaughterhouse-Five is the now-famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW who in the latter stage of his life has become "unstuck in time." He experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously. Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's typically large cast of continuing characters (notably here, the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence). The Modern Library included Slaughterhouse-Five on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century.
  4. G.I. JOE - Is an elite special ops unit known to only a handful of the highest government officials. Their central mission: to protect their country—and the world—from the corrupt and evil forces that threaten freedom and the environment. The brave soldiers of G.I. JOE work together against all odds and in all arenas, unlike their reviled enemies at COBRA. Led by Cobra Commander, the members of COBRA are just as likely to wage war on each other as they are on the JOEs. Whether fighting in the jungle, in the desert, in the air, or under the sea, the heroes of G.I. JOE are always ready for action on the front lines—whether facing battle or the frontier of scientific discovery.
  5. Harbinger -  Read minds. Bend steel. Break all the rules. Super-powered teenager Peter Stanchek is on a dangerous path. Skipping across the country in a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, Peter is quickly realizing that he’s a psionically-charged “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. But Peter’s plight has not gone unnoticed. Respected philanthropist and fellow harbinger Toyo Harada is about to offer Peter the chance at the things for which the boy has always longed — family, inner peace, self-control —and induct him into the sprawling, secret network of conspiracy and subversion known as the Harbinger Foundation. Now Peter begins his long road towards a destiny that will shake the very foundations of the Valiant Universe. His first lesson? All power comes with a price.
  6. Wayward Pines Wayward Pines is world-building. A fantasy set in a small town. A big idea on an intimate scale filled with real people in an unreal situation. The "residents" of Wayward Pines are the last remaining human beings. They don't know this. It's 2000 years in the future, and they don't know that either. All they know is they woke up in this beautiful, strange town following a car wreck, that they can't leave, and they'll be killed if they try, likely by their neighbors.The man responsible for preserving Wayward Pines is David Pilcher, and he lives with his crew of 160 inside a mountain near the town. They monitor the residents, make sure they follow the rules, protect them from the world outside, and most importantly, ensure they never learn the truth.Beyond the high cliff walls and the fence that surrounds the town is a world overrun with what humanity has evolved into: hundreds of millions of the monstrous abbies. Wayward Pines is the last town on earth, filled with people who have no idea how precious and fragile their lives have become.
  7. UNITY  - To kill a king, he has created an army. The world’s most dangerous man, Toyo Harada, has been struck by the one thing he never thought possible: fear. Halfway across the globe, a new power threatens to topple modern civilization, and to preempt the cataclysm that is to come, Harada will unite the most unforgiving team the world has ever known—UNITY. Their mission: defeat the threat responsible for the destruction of MI-6, the decimation of an alien world, and the occupation of Eastern Europe… Unseat the warrior king armed with the universe’s most powerful weapon… Kill X-O Manowar! UNITY is Valiant Universe's landmark super-team originally including the characters of X-O Manowar, The Eternal Warrior, Toyo Harada, Ninjak and Livewire. Kindle Worlds authors can include these original icons or incorporate any other Valiant character in their renditions.
  8. The Foreworld Saga - Is an alternate history epic that spans continents and centuries. It follows a secret order called the OMVI that is bound by honor to protect humankind. The Foreworld Saga includes The Mongoliad trilogy (available as Kindle books, paperbacks, and hardcover collector’s editions) and SideQuests. SideQuests are stand-alone stories or novellas that build on the adventures of the OMVI.
  9. Bloodshot  - Your name is Angelo Mortalli. Your brother is trapped behind enemy lines and on the verge of -- no. That's not right. Your name is Raymond Garrison. You've retired from the dangers of the field, but a desperate plea from your oldest friend plunges you into a vicious firefight that -- no. That's not right, either. You are Bloodshot. You are the shade of gray that freedom requires. The perfect confluence of military necessity and cutting-edge technology. A reservoir of dirty secrets that could set the world on fire. And you've just been captured
  10. Archer & Armstrong -  After years of meditation and training, 18-year-old Obadiah Archer has been dispatched to New York City to carry out the sacred mission of his family's sect – kill the booze-addled immortal known only as Armstrong and convene a new world order! But as this underage assassin stalks his prey, he'll soon find that both hunter and hunted are just pawns in a global conspiracy stretching back five millennia – and that Archer & Armstrong will have to work together if the future is to stand any chance of surviving the past's greatest threat.
  11. Shadowman  - There are a million dreams in the Big Easy. But now its worst nightmare is about to come true. As the forces of darkness prepare to claim New Orleans as their own, Jack Boniface must accept the legacy he was born to uphold. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. But what is the true cost of the Shadowman’s otherworldly power? And can Jack master his new abilities before Master Darque brings down the wall between reality and the darkness of the dimension known as Deadside?
  12. X-O Manowar  - Born into battle, Aric of Dacia — heir to the throne of the Visigoth people — has never known peace. After a brutal encounter with a mysterious enemy known as The Vine leaves him a prisoner on an alien world, the only hope Aric has of returning to his family and saving them from slavery is to seize an armored suit capable of incalculable destruction and become X-O Manowar! The Vine destroyed Aric's world. Now he will give them war.
  13. The Abnorm Chronicles -  Based on Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance saga, The Abnorm Chronicles take place in an alternate present, a world very much like our own—except for the fact that one percent of the population have astonishing gifts. Known as “brilliants,” they possess savant-like abilities: the most powerful can intuit patterns in the stock market, deduce the deepest secrets only from observing body language, or become virtually invisible. Brilliants are speeding the progress of science and technology, but their very existence poses a threat to the other 99 percent of us.
  14. Ravenswood  - The town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania has been haunted by a fatal curse for generations. When bad boy Caleb Rivers meets fellow foster kid Miranda Collins on a bus ride into town, the two quickly find themselves entangled in Ravenswood’s deadliest mystery. Confronted with the unnerving sight of their own tombstones, the desperate pair seeks answers from longtime Ravenswood residents and soon learns that they aren’t the only ones condemned by the curse. This dark spinoff from the Pretty Little Liars series follows the lives of five strangers struggling to uncover the secrets behind the town’s terrible history and free themselves from the curse of Ravenswood before it seals their fates forever.
  15. The Dead Man  - Matthew Cahill was a simple man leading a quiet life…until he was killed in an avalanche. Three months later his corpse was found and sent to the morgue, but something inexplicable happened: he awoke. Now he is a soldier in the unseen eternal battle between good and evil, between gifted mortals and dark entities only hinted about in lore, We all know the war is happening, but only Matt can see the people afflicted with evil and stop them before they strike. Only Matt can defeat Mr. Dark, a mysterious, supernatural figure who, with the help of his fearsome minions, spreads evil like a virus. But Mr. Dark also holds the secret to Matt's miraculous rebirth and is perhaps the only one who can tell him whether he is still a man or the walking dead. For Matthew Cahill, each day is a journey into a supernatural world he knows nothing about, a quest for the answers to a terrifying mystery, and a horrific fight to save us—and his soul—from the clutches of pure evil.
  16. The Lizzy Gardner Files -  As a teenager, Lizzy Gardner was terrorized by a serial killer, an ordeal that haunted her for more than a decade before the maniac was finally stopped. Now she's a Sacramento private investigator who does her best to help others protect themselves while she tries to forget the horror of her past. In each of T.R. Ragan's Lizzy Gardner novels, the PI and her two young assistants, Hayley and Jessica, take on cases that no one else will touch. As they look for clues and chase criminals, Lizzy and her team cross paths with some of the darkest and most unsavory beings on Earth.
  17. Eternal Warrior  - Across ten millennia and a thousand battlefields, Gilad Anni-Padda has traversed the darkest, most mysterious corners of history. But the horror and bloodshed of constant warfare has finally taken its toll on the man who myth calls the Eternal Warrior, and he has abdicated his duties as the Fist and the Steel of Earth for a quiet life of seclusion. But when a blood vendetta from the distant past suddenly reappears in the modern day, he must decide if he will return to the ways of war… for the child who betrayed him thousands of years ago…
  18. Quantum and Woody  -- Once upon a time, Eric and Woody Henderson were inseparable. Adopted brothers. Best friends. Brilliant minds. All grown up, they’ve become estranged siblings, petty rivals, and washed-up failures. But when their father’s murder leads them into the throes of a life-altering scientific accident, Eric and Woody find themselves with a whole new purpose – and a perfectly legitimate reason to wear costumes and fight crime. Go big or go home, folks! Quantum and Woody are coming!

Numbers or Quality? Only the future will tell…

Preliminary Gilted Free Results

RT Convention

It's hard to believe that only a week and a half ago, I was saying goodbye to the RT Convention and New Orleans. Sigh. Prior to RT, I had decided to order some merchandising material. I paid $25 to insert my materials in RT's Fan-tastic Day Promotion, given to 500 recipients. I hoped it would be a good push for my prequel to the Gilt series. I ordered from DropCards, cards with a link to a free download. gilted dropcard example Good lookin' huh? It's a fantastic promo item. Next time, I will include that it is a free download on the front with the cover art. Dropcards tell you which files are downloaded, where it's downloaded from, etc (see image below of Dropcards back end) You can also get people to opt into your mailing list (or even make it mandatory). Great news all around. I had 750 printed for approx $320 USD, and they sent the 500 to the RT people and 250 to me. Bad news. I have had only 26 people download Gilted. On the plus side, thirteen of those have joined my mailing list. So 26 for a total of $345 USD investment. A bit depressing. But the plethora of competition of promo at RT is amazing. It's easy to not see what's right in front of your face as there is tsunami of useless paper. Mine might have been lost in the mix. Or people just didn't care as they received a shedload of *actual* books.   Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 6.46.35 PM

Other Results

I have posted my free novella on AmazonARe (All Romance Ebooks), Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play. I was happy with how quickly I had attained permafree status on Amazon. So far, without advertising, I have had just over 500 downloads from Amazon, ARe, and Smashwords. None from the rest as yet. Also, on Amazon, I'm ranking in the top 100 Free of  Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Psychics. That, I think is thanks to the information I found out about categories. But no one has signed up to my mailing list. In addition, I have a 5 star rating on Goodreads for the novella and a 2 star on Smashwords.

Summary So Far

I may get some more downloads from RT. But the number hasn't changed in the past three days, so I don't think it will change much. I got a 5% return for 13 email addresses and 26 downloads, all for $345 USD (let's not forget that part as the Canadian dollar is crappy at the moment - $374 CDN as of today's exchange rate). The rest was free and I have 500 downloads. So, are the people who downloaded the book from RT a better quality of downloader? Maybe a blogger, a reviewer, an agent? Who knows? Perhaps, only the future will tell. Maybe my investment will be well worth it. Next month I have some advertising set up. And I listed today on a couple of sites.
I'm not doing any major free promo until Gilt•y, the next novel in the series is released.

Not so Quick Tip: Further to Keywords and Categories

Last week, I posted a quick little blog on keywords and categories. Further to that, last week Lindsay Buroker recommended Self Publishing Roundtable Podcast #39 interview with Kevin Michael. I highly recommend it.  If you don't have time to listen to it, it brought up some very interesting things about keywords and categories.

Oodles of Categories

Do you ever see some books on Amazon and see that they're in tons of categories? And that's just strange because you can only pick two when filling out your book information? Well the trick of it is this, apparently. The Amazon Selecting Browse Categories list. That's all well and good, you say, but how in the heck will this help me? A lot (caveat - you only get into these categories on Amazon if you actually sell books. If you have zero sales, this won't help you). In this wonderful little resource, it actually states this:
In order to list your title in certain sub-categories, you'll need to add Search Keywords in addition to the categories you choose for your title.
Let's say that I chose to be in the Fiction -> Romance -> General category. Go to the Amazon Selecting Browse Categories page, and click on the Romance link.


If for instance I was writing about a romance with a rich alpha male physician who has amnesia about being a spy set in the 18th century, I might choose the keywords in the list under Romantic Themes. So the keywords I would choose would be wealthy, alpha male, doctor, amnesia, espionage, second chance. But I have 2 more keywords. So I look at the list again. I choose second chance. I still only have 6 in total. But of course, we're allowed to choose 2 categories. So let's say I choose Fiction -> Literature I could choose 18th century, love, travel (because how many spies are homebodies?), dating, singlehood, marriage.

Can't You Count?

But wait. That's way more than seven keywords. Yep, that's right. Here's another fun little tidbit. Apparently there's a glitch in the Matrix. What you can do is keep going. Except on the seventh keyword instead of a comma, press the spacebar. So, my categories are:
  • Fiction -> Romance -> General
  • Fiction -> Literature
And my keyword list looks like this:
  • wealthy, alpha male, doctor, amnesia, espionage, second chance,18th century love travel dating singlehood marriage
Now, we have a better chance of getting in more subcategories, and therefore more sales. Apparently many people shop by looking through these subcategories.


Now, here's another interesting piece of information from the podcast. There are some categories in which you only need seven sales per day or less to chart in the top 100 of the list. You can find the article with the list here. Pretty cool, huh?    

Write Motivation Check-In (June, Week 1)

For those of you who haven't heard of it, there's a fantastic site called WriteMotivation. You can sign up and be accountable to a group of people. I don't think July's sign-up is open yet, but if you need a kick in the arse, go do it. Or join Camp NaNo - it's starting up again in July.
This is my weekly check-in. My goal is to finish my current WIP this month.

How Did I Do?

Answer: I didn't do very well this week. I'm sharing my accommodation at the moment. For those of you not aware, I work as a medic in the oilfield and usually have my own space and privacy. The person I'm sharing with is great, but I'm easily distracted. It hasn't been conducive for writing.
And Another Thing...
The other thing that occurred this week is I had three 1 star reviews on GoodReads on one of my novellas. I also have a 5 star and 3 star rating up there, and a 4 star review on Amazon.

Three one star reviews would bother anyone and make them question whether they wrote a piece of crap or not. And these reviews brought me back to my school days, when I was the chubby tomboy who was an easy target. Kids can be mean spirited, and apparently so can reviewers.

So, whether the reviews are valid or not (I'm sure some of the comments aren't without merit), it froze me. It stopped me from writing. No, that's an excuse - It was hard to concentrate on writing because I gave those reviews space in my brain. So much space that I couldn't think about much else.
Suck It Up, ButterCup!
And I'm still having a crisis of confidence. I'm trying to get over it. Because I'm a writer. I'll just have to get used to people throwing a few tomatoes at me.
Next week will be better.

Twice Shy free today and until Good Friday

I'm coming with my Gilt•ed novella in the next week, so I decided to offer Twice Shy for free as a promotional tool and an Easter present. I've just rebranded the series (Novella number 2 will be out very soon), and a sexy new cover. The cover's been uploaded to Amazon, but unfortunately not showing yet. But isn't it great? Anyhow, if you don't have it, please go and download it today (or any day in until midnight PST April 18). Thanks!

"A Sweet BDSM? I Never Would Have Pictured It."

Leaving Cutters Creek was the best thing Stacy Jones ever did. Returning is the last thing she ever wanted to do. Unfortunately it's her only option. If she wants some questions answered, she needs to go back and confront her mother. If she doesn't get the answers she needs, her whole future is at stake. Eight years ago she ran away when the guy she loved betrayed her in the worst possible way. She's healed from those wounds but can she ever forgive?
Caution Contains light BDSM elements, an ex-lover who didn't get fat and bald, a cranky ex-military barman, a father-figure Dominant, and a mother who couldn't give a **&^%! oops, I mean two craps about our heroine

Quick Tip: Amazon Algorithms and Categories

Okay, this one's a quickie because it's not a hard one in any way. The short version is: Change up your categories on Amazon about once a month and your discoverability will increase. NB Make sure that the category applies to your book though. Do not put your book in non-fiction biography when it's a steamy romance. I don't know the mysteries of the Amazon algorithm. But it is suggested that changing up your categories once a month will increase your discoverability. For instance, in February, I was in:
  • Fiction -> Romance -> Contemporary
  • Fiction -> Romance -> Erotica
In March I changed to:
  • Fiction -> Romance -> Erotica
  • Fiction -> Coming of Age
This morning, I changed my categories to:
  • Fiction -> Romance -> Contemporary
  • Fiction -> Coming of Age
Does it help? I don't know, for sure. The articles I've listed below say so. My sales have increased. When doing a search for my title I'm on the first page of results instead of the third page. But my book, 'Twice Shy' is also on NetGalley (which has garnered an additional 4 reviews on Amazon - all 4 stars!), and I have changed my blurb and keywords. So I think the combination of these factors helped. Although I can't point out which particular one, or combination thereof is the key. The main point is not to stop marketing your book. Never just let it sit on the shelf gathering pixel dust. Related articles:


You have to check out Lindsay Buroker's blog about keywords and categories!!!!      

Keywords – Adding to Your Discoverability on Amazon

 Amazon Book Description: 7 Keywords Plus other Keywords

Confused by the heading above? This is how I felt when I first started reading articles about keyword searches. If you’ve uploaded a book to Amazon’s KDP, you know that you have to enter seven magic keywords that are supposed to find you readers. But did you know that the words in your product (book) description are searchable, too? This is great news, because choosing those seven little keywords are not a lot of fun.

 Keywords in General

What words do I use? Now, this is the hard part. Let me clarify one thing first about the word keyword. If you’re writer, you probably take the word keyword to be singular. As in one word. Nope. It doesn’t have to be. It can be, but it can also be key phrases. This applies to your book description/product description (I’ll be using those terms interchangeably) and your keywords in your ‘Book Details’ area of KDP.

Finding Out Which Keywords to Use

Finding out which keywords/key phrases to use takes a some imagination, brainstorming and a couple of useful tools.

Step One

Think of phrases/words that describe your book. Think about it a lot. And try to think outside the box. Ask yourself, “If I was looking for a book like this, what phrase/words would I type in?” Once you’ve done that, you need to see if your terms are relevant.

Step Two - Google Keyword Planner

It used to be called the Google Keyword Tool, and in my opinion, was a bit easier to use back then. But it’s still not too difficult. First if you don't have a Google account, you need to get one. And then click on this link: Sign into Adwords. The next screen says "What would you like to do?" Expand on the top box. I've used my book 'Twice Shy' as an example.

Google Keywords - Step One

Entering information into the boxes:google keyword planner search terms
  1. In the first box (Your Product or Service), I put in my brainstormed words.
  2. In the second box (Your Landing Page) I entered
  3. In third box (Your Product Category) I entered E-books (There are other options i.e. Books & Literature).
  4. In targeting, you can choose the countries/areas you are targeting. In this search I entered United Kingdom, United States and Canada. But entering only the US is a valid option to consider. Or do separate searches and see what comes up.
  5. Click the 'Get Ideas' button

Google Keywords - Step Two

google keyword ideas jpgYour searches come up. Click on the 'Keyword Ideas' tab. In the top of the window, the search terms you have used will come up. To see which terms are searched the most frequently, click on the heading, 'Avg Monthly Searches' and it will order from highest to lowest. If you click on it again, it will order it from lowest to highest. You will see which of your words seem the most popular. Note, this is on Google only, keep reading to find out how we will ferret out Amazon keywords. Unless you are planning on running a Google Campaign, the 'Search Terms' and the 'Avg Monthly Services' are the only columns you need to worry about.      

Google Keywords - Step Three

keyword relevance search googleThen scroll down to the next section, 'Keyword by Relevance'. Click on the 'Avg Monthly Searches' header again. Here's where you see terms that you haven't thought of and how popular they are on Google. You may have some  'a-ha' moments and you may have a couple 'wtf' ones too. Or if you're a marketing mastermind, you'll think 'ho-hum'. I would suggest looking through all the terms (I had a result of 220+), just for ideas for the next step.  

Narrowing Down Your Terms for Amazon

Now, there are a lot of 'long-tail' search engines you can buy. Some are tailored specifically for Amazon and may be worthwhile purchasing. I haven't tried them, so I can't advise you on that. Apparently, there was a great one called But it appears to have been bought out by a company called 'LongTail Pro'. I didn't have a chance to try kindlekeywords, but by all accounts it was a great keyword generator. More on that in a moment. There is a free tool I found online called Google Keyword Suggest Tool. Now, don't let the name fool you, because it has an Amazon option. So enter the keyword you're thinking of using, and de-select all the checkboxes EXCEPT Amazon. I've entered 'erotic romance'. What this search tool does is look at the term, i.e. erotic romance and cycles through the searches that have occurred on Amazon. That's not a great description, sorry. What I mean is that it searches for every word in the alphabet. So it does a search on 'erotic romance a' and brings back every word that starts with an 'a' that people have typed in. Then it cycles through the rest of the alphabet to do the same. I won't include a screenshot of all the results, but here's a couple to give you a rough idea: In the top are the most popular search terms (I assume so, anyway) and then the options for each letter: amazon keyword erotic romance   I've selected the ones I feel are relevant to me (erotic romance stepfather was a suggestion btw). Also, one of the results that came up was 'erotic romance maya banks'. Putting something like this is verboten on Amazon. The Amazon Gods will not be happy if you add this as a search term. Then I click on Part Three. This sort of brings us back to the beginning when we were using the Google Keyword Planner. But it uses YouTube and Bing results also. It's not science, and doesn't check Amazon insofar as I can see, but it does rank the popularity of your terms. About Longtail Pro. I downloaded the trial version (you can get a free one for 10 days). It looks like a Google keyword search tool. You even have to sign into Google. So I don't think $97/year is worth it for our purposes. But there are other paid tools out there that may be worth investing in. I haven't paid money for one yet, but I may in the future. Here's a link to a list of them, a few have Amazon targeted. Amazon search results pt 3   It gives you a rough idea. To me, sometimes the more 'niche' search terms may serve you better. The broader terms will give you higher competition. You're looking for your readers, not just anyone's readers, right. But too niche and no-one will search for you. That's why we've done all this so far. So next, go to Amazon, use these suggestions and a few other combinations (maybe making your phrases four words long).

Once You've Decided on your Search Terms

Well, then choose your seven. Add them to your keyword terms in your 'Book Details' on KDP. The next part is a bit trickier. Adding it to your book description. My advice? Be choosy. Your Book Description also sells your book. A blurb is supposed to be a teaser. Too much detail and your potential buyer isn't intrigued. Here's a great article on this (2 parts): I myself am working on this. I have changed my seven keywords but am still re-working my Product Description. If you're confused on Headings, etc I have a post on that here (Bling up Your Amazon Book Description).

What to do Next?

Change your terms, change your book description. See if that  changed your sales. If not, try again. Repeat. I think the biggest mistake we make (and I've made it, too) is just letting your book sit there. If we self-publish, we need to market. And this is part of marketing. This is what I've learned through research. I don't have glowing sales, but I have increased my sales playing around with this, my blurb, and my Categories (I'll have a post about categories later). My book is almost two years old and until April/May of this year, it is the only product I have out. After May, we'll see. Because the more books you publish, the more you sell (usually). And according to this interesting article, changing things up increases your discoverability.                      

Bling Up Your Amazon Book Description!

Did you know that you can change the appearance of your Amazon book description? Me neither, until recently. But you can.
Would you like your product description to look like this:

"A Sweet BDSM? I Never Would Have Pictured It." Leaving Cutters Creek was the best thing Stacy Jones ever did. Returning is the last thing she ever wanted to do. Unfortunately it’s her only option. If she wants some questions answered, she needs to go back and confront her mother. If she doesn’t get the answers she needs, her whole future is at stake. Eight years ago she ran away when the guy she loved betrayed her in the worst possible way. She’s healed from those wounds but can she ever forgive? Caution - Contains light BDSM elements, an ex-lover who didn’t get fat and bald, a cranky ex-military barman, a father-figure Dominant, and a mother who couldn’t give two craps about our heroine. 
Or this:

"A Sweet BDSM? I Never Would Have Pictured It."

Leaving Cutters Creek was the best thing Stacy Jones ever did. Returning is the last thing she ever wanted to do. Unfortunately it’s her only option. If she wants some questions answered, she needs to go back and confront her mother. If she doesn’t get the answers she needs, her whole future is at stake. Eight years ago she ran away when the guy she loved betrayed her in the worst possible way. She’s healed from those wounds but can she ever forgive?
CautionContains light BDSM elements, an ex-lover who didn’t get fat and bald, a cranky ex-military barman, a father-figure Dominant, and a mother who couldn’t give a **&^%! oops, I mean two craps about our heroine.
How? Easy. Just use HTML.
Now to non-techies, HTML sounds intimidating. But it's really easy. It's not coding. It's the pig latin of code.
There's a list of approved HTML tags that Amazon allows here - So here's the code (and what the breakdown and what looks like explained after every line - bear with me. Look at the link above, which explains the tags and what they do. Just remember for every tag you use, it has to be closed. If you look at the example below 
<h3><font color="orange">"A Sweet BDSM? I Never Would Have Pictured It."</font></h3>
Looks like this:

"A Sweet BDSM? I Never Would Have Pictured It."

  • h3 tag is used - heading 3. Notice that there is an opening tag <h3> before the text and a closing tag </h3> after text
  • the font tag is used. With this tag, you can change the color of the text. I would advise not using many colors as Amazon has restricted how much we can use. So I would use either black or orange which are Amazon's colors. UPDATE - apparently, no colors can be used, but through research it appears the H1 and H2 tags are orange. I will try this out and correct this. Notice again, open font tag <font color="orange"> and then after the text a close font tag </font>
<h4><em>Leaving Cutters Creek was the best thing Stacy Jones ever did. Returning is the last thing she ever wanted to do.</h4></em>
Looks like this:
Leaving Cutters Creek was the best thing Stacy Jones ever did. Returning is the last thing she ever wanted to do.
  • So, same thing again. I use the h4 tag, and make sure the text is enclosed and closed with a /h4 closing tag.
  • em tag is basically italics. You can also use an <i> tag for italics. They used to be different but are interchangeable now.
<B>Unfortunately</b> it’s her only option. If she wants some questions answered, she needs to go back and confront her mother. If she doesn’t get the answers she needs, <b>her whole future is at stake.</b>
Looks like this:
Unfortunately it’s her only option. If she wants some questions answered, she needs to go back and confront her mother. If she doesn’t get the answers she needs, her whole future is at stake.
  • So by now, you should be getting the hang of this. I have used the bold tag <b> around every word I wanted bolded, ensuring that they are closed </b>
  • Since I'm using regular text and not heading tag, I need to put hard returns in. That is the line break tag <br> - does not need to be closed.
<b><u><font color="orange">Caution</u></b><br></font>
<em><b>Contains light BDSM elements, an ex-lover who didn’t get fat and bald, a cranky ex-military barman, a father-figure Dominant,  and a mother who couldn’t give  <s>a **&^%!</s> oops, I mean two craps about our heroine.</b></em>
Looks like:
CautionContains light BDSM elements, an ex-lover who didn’t get fat and bald, a cranky ex-military barman, a father-figure Dominant, and a mother who couldn’t give a **&^%! oops, I mean two craps about our heroine.
  • <hr> is horizontal ruler. Kind of a cool addition.
  • The only other thing I've used is the strikeout. Which as you can see is <s> and then closed with an </s>
So I've just uploaded my description but it hasn't come through yet. Amazon processing and all that.
If you want to see what your description will look like, try this page. Paste in your code.
It's a great way to trial and error your html before you put into your Amazon book Description.

UPDATED - Changing Your Product Description Through Author Central

WARNINGS ABOUT CHANGING DESCRIPTION THROUGH AMAZON AUTHOR CENTRAL: Author Central overrides anything you do in KDP. Once you use Author Central, you can't change the description in KDP again. Ever. 
You can also update your description of your book through author central. It takes about 20 mins to an hour instead of 8-12 hours with KDP. There is a catch, though. You can only use the following tags:
  • <b> - bold tag
  • <i> - italics tag
  • <li> - bullet list tag
The good thing about updating in Author Central is that if the tags intimidate you, then it's easier for you as you don't have to use the tags themselves. You can just use it like Word or another text editor.
My recommendation though is if you want all the bells and whistles, then stick to the long KDP Product Description wait times.  Because remember, if you change anything at Amazon Author Central, it overrides anything at Amazon KDP. FOREVER.

A Way To Fix this Mistake if you've made it (like Me)

Since I made the mistake of trying to update my profile with Author Central and the heading, ruler and strikethrough tags weren't available to me, I emailed Amazon and asked them if they could update my book description for me. They did, thank heavens, and within the day. Heading 2 is orange.
So now my book description look like this:
updated twice shy book description
Those links again:
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