Month: September 2018

Amazon Advertising: The Machette Effect

Nicholas C. Rossis

In my recent post, Amazon Releases Amazon Advertising, I mentioned an app I use called Machete. I promised to expand on that in a future post (i.e. this one).

Machete is an Amazon Advertising (formerly Amazon Marketing Services or AMS) add-on. You install it on your browser and it transparently adds some extra features to your Amazon Dashboard. When I first used it, Machete was little more than a way to track your sales through time and edit multiple keywords at once. Not a game-changer, just some nifty little extras. At $25/month, it wasn’t worth it unless you were constantly tweaking your Ads, which is why I’ve never mentioned it before.

Recently, however, Machete has made two dramatic changes which have led me to this post. The first one was to introduce a great new feature called Bid Optimizer.

1. Bid Optimizer

Amazon Advertising Machete App | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

This lets you optimize your keywords…

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How to move your books from CreateSpace to KDP Print In 3 Easy Steps

Nicholas C. Rossis

How to move your books from CreateSpace to KDP Print

Moving all your books from Createspace to KDP Print is now as simple as following a five-minute process Amazon refers to as Verify > Link > Move.

In my earlier post announcing the news of Createspace merging with KDP Print, I mentioned that Amazon had promised us an easy way of moving all of our books at once. Well, I’m pleased to say that the company has delivered, letting me move all of my books at once in a matter of minutes!

So, here is a detailed guide of how to move your books from CreateSpace to KDP Print (luckily, I took screenshots as I was racing through the process).

1. Log Into Createspace

When I logged into Createspace, I got a prompt to move my books to KDP Print. Being the risk taker that I am (ha…

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Amazon Releases Amazon Advertising

Nicholas C. Rossis

As you may remember, I’ve been experiencing computer trouble for the past week, so I’ve been using Electra’s computer. The first time I tried to log in, I was stunned to see a new login screen asking me to specify what kind of Advertising I was interested in:

Amazon Advertising | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

This was the first I realized Amazon has retired three of its ad services and products as well. The move looks like a response to Google’s move earlier this year which saw the search engine giant dropping many of its advertising brands. Despite becoming America’s second $1 trillion company, Amazon’s marketing and advertising division still lag behind its two direct competitors: Google and Facebook Ads.

The All-new Amazon Advertising Department

In an announcement made last week, as reported by The Passive Guy, Amazon SVP Paul Kotas introduced the all-new Amazon Advertising department. Amazon will be retiring three of the company’s most popular marketing platforms: Amazon Media Group (AMG), Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), and Amazon…

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How to Kickstart your Travel Writing Career

Nicholas C. Rossis

Traveling and writing sounds like a great idea, especially for young writers looking for an extra income from their writing career. This is a guest post by Sam Ross with some tips on getting started. Sam runs the blog – a travel blog focused around the digital nomad lifestyle. Over the past 3 years, he’s traveled to every continent, so writes on a broad range of countries, cities, and destinations.

How to Kickstart your Travel Writing Career

Travel writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Pixabay

For many aspiring writers, travel writing is the Holy Grail; the job that gives you the ultimate freedom to enjoy your work and everyday life as one. Starting a career as a travel writer can be a little daunting, as it’s very competitive – so many writers are doing it that you’ve got to put your all into this work to stand out from the crowd.

Don’t let that put…

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Writer’s Café Software Revisited

Working Screen

It is time for a revising of a writing aid called Writer’s Cafe. I first reported on my experience with Writer’s Café two years ago when I began using it. I had used it daily for almost two months. I produced two books with it, then took a year off. Looking at it this week I decided to talk about it again. Writer’s Café is a text editing, story planning, writing software.

Linux has been my favorite computer operating environment for about 20 years. Linux is a base level software that competes with Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac iOS. Android, used on smartphone and tablets is related to Linux. My main computer today runs Ubuntu Linux. If I were using a Mac or Windows computer I would probably be using Scrivener. However, the full up-to-date version of Scrivener does not work on Linux. So, I searched for a similar program.

Ubuntu Screen

For years, I’ve written several books in Sigil. This program is not a sophisticated story building system, what it does is help with formatting ebooks. I eventually found Writer’s Café from Anthemion Software Ltd. Writer’s Café is a program for writing text and aiding with many aspects of the writing work. Let me quote from the authors of the program: “StoryLines is a multi-storyline planning tool that helps you weave a set of virtual index cards into a finished, formatted story.” Here are the features advertised for the program, Drag and drop cards, Formatting including custom styles, Screenplay auto-formatting, Text and screenplay import, Instant reports, Outline view, Navigator view, Tag-based searching, Multiple sheets (for different versions of the same story), User-customisable structure (Chapter, scene, etc.), File export (HTML, OpenDocument, etc.), Makes HTML Help books, Character profiles, Story locations, Spelling checker, Pockets (store unused scenes for later placement), and Keyboard shortcuts.

The first useful feature I found for my writing was the ability to easily see the scene and story overview and jump to any scene at any time. For me, this is a huge advantage over a flat word-processor, like Word. I also am glad for the character and location files. I can instantly look up a location or character I have entered, to check spelling and details. Now after using the program for some time, I am still most impressed with the setup that allows me to see at a glance which character is featured in each scene. I write stories with more than one POV character. It is important for me to get a sense of how often and how recently a character has been covered. I get this in one glance from the program.

Writer’s Cafe has preference screens where settings can be adjusted for how I want to write. I can adjust the font and locations of different screens. Another important feature of the program is the ability to record characters and locations. It’s important to remember the names and spellings you use over a book and series, and it helps to have a quickly accessible reference.

Finally, after I’ve produced some work, I need to get it out of the program. When printing the document out I can choose which information I want. Do I just want the raw content, to import into a word processor, or ebook creator? I can do that. Or I can choose to get other information.

Now, let’s mention some negatives, since no software is perfect. I suspect the software was probably originally written for helping a screenwriter to write a screenplay. There are extensive tools to aid with formatting screenplays. Of course, whether you find this a negative depends on your writing audience. Another daily annoyance has been an issue of cutting and pasting. When I cut to and from LibreOffice, the font transfers, but have been losing the style on emphasized words. Another minor annoyance that I now find a positive, is the forced scene structure. The program defaults to a scene structure, instead of chapter structure. This annoyed me, at first. Now, though, I would probably not go back. It makes sense to think about a scene as a unit that I work on.

All-in-all I have been very happy with the program, and plan to keep using it in the future.

So, there you have it. A quick overview of the Writer’s Café program. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The purchase price is $40 US, or $30 for students. I tried the free download first. The free version is mostly full featured, except you are limited to the number of scenes you can enter.

If you don’t have a writing program, or want to try something new, I recommend Writer’s Café.

Websites: Writer’s Café Scrivener Sigil

The Young Adult Market: Who’s Reading All These Books?

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a post originally posted on Azure Fire Publishing.

The Young Adult Market | Azure Fire Publishing: encouraging youth-friendly Fantasy & Sci-Fi literacy through writing challenges Image: Pixabay

People refer to it as young adults market, segment, or genre. Whatever you call it, there is something definitely going on with it. According to Valerie Peterson, the number of Young Adult (YA) titles published more than doubled in the decade between 2002 and 2012 (this doesn’t even include Indie titles). This growth in sales for YA far exceeds the percentage of growth in the adult e-book sales, indicating a dramatic overall increase.

We do not have the 2018 numbers yet, but judging by the number of new titles in Amazon, the trend is strong and thriving—at least from the publishing point of view.

But who is reading all these books? Are we looking at a wave of young readers?

Who’s Reading All These Books?

Looking for sales numbers is a harder task. According to 2012…

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A History of Prague

Nicholas C. Rossis

Prague is my favorite city in the world. When we visited with Electra, I had taken a whole bunch of photos but didn’t really know what to do with them. So, this guest post by Jeff Townes about the history of Prague gives me the perfect opportunity to do so!

Jeff has been obsessed with the beauty and the wonder of this wide world since before he could walk or even talk. He was always exploring as a toddler – much to his parents’ dismay – and things haven’t changed since. As soon as he finished school, he was off and around the world. He has spent the last 3 1/2 years (and counting) writing his way around every corner of this incredible globe and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.

A History of Prague

The history of Prague is a long one. Clues found suggest humans hunting large animals roamed this…

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