Amazon Select—I Love You, I Love You Not

During my many days communicating with fellow writers around the world, I’ve heard all kinds of opinions about the pros and cons of signing up with Amazon Select. I don’t want to go into how, over the past year, Amazon has made it tougher and tougher for us indie stars to shine. That’s fodder for another post. I just want to talk about the Select that’s in place today and whether or not it can help us sell ebooks.

Far and away the biggest advantage of joining is that every ninety days Select writers get five free promotional days. Amazon suggests we use two at a time; and for the most part, I agree with them. I, personally, have had a few really good one-day promos that landed my books on the free top 100 list in the U.S. One time I had two on there.

Nevertheless, I’ve run far more two-day promos and that’s what I recommend. I’ve found that late in the second day my rankings almost always begin to fall. There might be
exceptions, but just as there are to every rule, they’re few and far between.

I’ve heard it before and I can hear a few of your thoughts now—“I’m not giving my babies away! I worked far too hard on my books, and they’re too darn good to give away.” Well, the few people I’ve heard say that weren’t selling a whole lot of books.

This writing racket is an extremely difficult one to break into. If you haven’t roped one of the big-six publishers or another that has deep pockets, the odds against you are immense. And while we’re talking about immense, keep in mind that Amazon’s reading audience is huge as well. An author can have dozens of free promos for a single book—give away five, ten, twenty-thousand or more free Kindles each time, and he or she still won’t scratch Ammy’s reading surface.

It’s a well know fact that a very, very small percentage of free downloaders will ever actually read your book. I’ve heard it guesstimated at one to two percent.  Just as an example, let’s say you ran a freebie promo, did well, and had 20,000 books snatched up. Even if as many as five percent eventually read your book, that’s only one thousand ebooks. Amazon has millions of customers!

And keep in mind, even if only a hundred people read and liked your book, there’s a good chance they will be checking your Author page or searching your name on Amazon to see what else you’ve written. I think this a benefit that many writers overlook–most readers put their new downloads on a que. They don’t actually get around to reading them for quite some time. You’re sowing seeds for sales with your free promos. You’re cultivating a crop of potential buyers that will keep popping up–for quite some time.

Now…think about what could happen if you ran ten reasonably successful promos over the course of a year. Each time you’re planting more seeds! And that’s not to mention the
immediate satisfaction you can reap when two, three or more days of very good sales follow a successful free promo.

Yes, like I said here earlier, Amazon isn’t treating us nearly as good as they did last winter. But they are still the biggest bookseller in the world, and that world, rough as it is, is there for us to conquer.

If there is a better way of promoting our books (without spending a small fortune) rather than “giving them away” on Amazon Select, I’d sure like to know what it is.

Write tight!

Tom Winton

Just Released — Within a Man’s Heart

Amazon — Kindle — $1.99

Four years after burying his young wife, New York sales executive Christian Crews still can’t move forward with his life. Day after day, treasured memories of his beloved Elyse continue to drift through his spirit like an endless procession of mournful ghosts.

Chris wants to leave Manhattan—walk away from his job and the apartment he and Elyse once shared. He dreams of moving to New Hampshire, where he feels he just might have a chance of finding peace. But in his grieving mind, breaking away from those memories would be the same as abandoning Elyse—an unforgivable act of betrayal he could never live with.

Then, on the fourth anniversary of Elyse’s death, Chris makes two shocking discoveries, and a part of him begins to believe that she would want him to go on with his life.

Two weeks later he makes the move to New Hampshire, and minutes after arriving in the small rural village of Mountain Step, he meets a beautiful local woman with mesmerizing gray eyes and a heart as big as the surrounding mountains. Beginning another emotional relationship may be the last thing on Chris’s mind, but he soon finds himself falling for Gina Elkin, every bit as hard as she’s fallen for him.

Could there be a future for them? Will Elyse allow it? After all, she’s still deep within Chris’s heart—a place no one else has ever been.









Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost – Ebook Free on 1/23/13 & 1/24/13 – Amazon

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A Recent Interview I Did With My Good Friend, Barbara Silkstone

The little fellow on the LEFT is Indie Author Tom Winton. Please share his interview below:
Who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife, Blanche. Anyone who could put up with me for as long as she has deserves to be loved. But, I must say, my ill-mannered terrier, Ginger, is a close second.
When and where were you the happiest?
When I was coming of age in New York, back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The way I see it, there was never a better or a more exciting time to be on this planet. Can you imagine…the first moonwalk and Woodstock occurring in the same month? And that‘s just scratching the surface of the exciting events that took place during that period in time.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do think it would be?
How about a person, Barbara? I sure wouldn’t have minded living Ernest Hemingway’s life. I’d probably tweak a few of the things he did, but it would be one hell of a ride.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would have started writing much earlier. Had I done that I’d have had about fifty books to upload onto Amazon. Plus, it may not have been a snap, but it certainly was easier to land a big publisher thirty years ago.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Henry David Thoreau. I’d love to live in the woods with the critters. I pretty much did that with my wife and Ginger for five years. We lived right near the beginning of the Maine North Woods. Our place backed right on the woods. We had moose, coyotes, porcupines, deer and all the rest for neighbors. I dream of moving back there someday.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Yesterday was history, tomorrow is fiction. All we have is the here and now.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m not sure if you’d call it a characteristic, but I have absolutely zero tolerance for greed and injustice. And that’s a tough thing to live with in this maddening 21st Century.
How would you like to die?
Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll pass on that for now.
What is your motto?
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. But it usually numbs the pain.

A Short Excerpt From Tom’s New Novel, Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost

“A man can learn from his past mistakes, and he should, but reliving them . . . that
does absolutely no good.  If you rehash all the poor choices and decisions you’ve made, it’s like stabbing yourself again and again.  Your spirit will always carry its deepest scars.  There’s no way to eliminate them.  And from time to time, they’ll come out of hiding on their own. When they do, let them reprimand you. Take what’s coming; ride it out, get it over with.  But by all means, don’t ever entertain them any longer than you have to, and never invite them back.”







Just Released–Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost

6/27/12–Tom Winton’s new book, Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost for sale at Amazon.

Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost is not a story of spooks and spirits.  It is an entertaining weave of heartrending emotion, humor, and a sprinkling of little known facts.  The novel also examines the lives of two very different men.  One is mortal, the other immortal.  One is painfully ordinary, the other world famous.  But despite their
differences, they both learn some invaluable lessons from one another during
their few days together.

Jack Phelan is a forty-two-year-old underachiever.  He lives in South Florida, and though he mows lawns for a living, he’s not what you might think.  He’s got an exceptionally sharp mind and is a self-educated Hemingway aficionado.  After Jack gets into a highly unlikely accident, he’s flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital in West Palm Beach where he remains in a coma for four days.  But minutes after he blacks out, he finds himself in Key West, lorida.  He’s leaning on the brick wall in front of the Hemingway Home now turned museum.  As he admires the house and grounds, he suddenly realizes someone is standing right next to him.  Thinking it’s a tourist crowding him, he turns to confront the man.  But he doesn’t.  Instead his eyes spring wide open and he is absolutely stupefied.  Standing alongside him is an aged Papa Hemingway, and he’s staring straight into Jack’s buggy eyes.

Hem has been sent from above to help determine whether or not Jack has what it takes to write a book for “The Main Man above the clouds.”  But what Ernest doesn’t know is that the book is going to be about him.  And that its purpose is to change the world’s perception of the swaggering, hard-knuckled, macho myth he has become.  Over the next four days,
Jack Phelan and Ernest Hemingway travel to some of the legendary author’s old haunts and rub shoulders with many of his long gone friends.  But wait. Once their time together ends, the story is still not over.  That’s when things really get interesting.