Monday, 21 November 2016

Are you getting affiliate fees on your royalties?

If you are selling books at Amazon you are probably getting a 35% or 70% royalty on your sales. If you sell those books at Smashwords your royalty will probably be 70.5%. You could be getting 39 - 43.5% or 74 - 78.5% at Amazon though and vastly increased sales at Smashwords. The trick is to take advantage of affiliate payments which can offer you anything from 4% to 70% of the price of an e-book.

Let's deal with the better known (but less profitable) one first:

Amazon 'associates' (affiliates)

You must have a web presence acceptable to Amazon to be accepted as an affiliate. By a 'web presence' that means a website or blog with substantial traffic. You'll probably need to register for affiliate accounts at .com,, .ca etc. Australia doesn't seem to offer affiliate services. This means you'll get multiple affiliate tags making setting up links tricky (but not impossible). Amazon's affiliate agreement is a model of obscurity and makes it difficult to understand if a .com affiliate link used by a customer will earn an affiliate payment. You can get affiliate payments for virtually all Amazon products other than free products. Amazon depreciate adding affiliate tags to free e-books and warn that doing so may cost you all your affiliate fees if you exceed 80% of links being to free products AND 20,000 free products are ordered using one of your links - unlikely for most people. You won't earn anything on your links to free products but if a customer goes on to view and purchase other items at Amazon, you'll get affiliate payments for those.
Fees are listed at
At a minimum, assuming you make less than six affiliate sales per month you'll get 4% for e-books and other digital products
$0.99 - 4¢
$2.99 - 12¢
$3.99 - 16¢
Fees rise to up to 8.5% for 3,131 affiliate sales per month. If you managed to sell 3,131 99¢ ebooks in a month you would earn $263.47 from those sales.
Payments are made 60 days after the end of each month and can be by direct bank deposit, check or gift certificate. Affiliate payments are taken from Amazon't share of the purchase price, not the author's.
Amazon provide a toolbar for affiliates which allows you to quickly generate links and promote to social media.
Download series book 1, Immortality Gene, FREE now

Smashwords affiliate fees

Smashwords offers affiliate payments of 11% to 80.5% of the retail price of e-books. The actual percentage offered is determined by the author. The default is 11%. Anyone age 18+ with a Smashwords account is eligable to enroll.
Smashwords encourages the use of affiliate tags on free e-books and the author's own e-book links. You won't earn anything on those e-books but if a customer goes on to view and purchase other items at Smashwords, you'll get affiliate payments for those.
Affiliate fees come from the author's royalties. The author can choose not to offer affiliate payments. If an author elects to not offer an affiliate program for a book then the author's royalty is 85%.
Affiliate links are easy to create. My preferred method is to append the ?ref=[yourScreenName] code to links where [yourScreenName] is the bit after on your 'My Smashwords page' at
Assuming you make those 3,131 affiliate sales of an 11% 99¢ ebook you would earn $340.97 at Smashwords.
Smashwords affiliate agreement is much easier to understand than Amazon's Check it out at

Want to earn at Smashwords? All my e-books there offer a 35% royalty. They are visible at If you want to use that link then just replace the 'JChapman' at the end with your screen name. If you manage to sell Amazon's 3,131 books we'll both earn  a minimum of $3,298.51

Friday, 14 October 2016

Using Buffer to Record Tweets For Re-use

I keep a record of successful tweets so that I can re-use them much later - a month or more later. Many of my tweets have an attached picture. Twitter used to show the URL of pictures but that stopped some time ago.
So how do you get this URL?
I've found three methods:

  1. Use Tweetdeck. This will show the URLs of images you post in tweets.
  2. Use the menu and click the embed tweet link. Then edit the tweet.
  3. Delete the tweet! Well at least start the delete process.
Of the three methods the third method is by far the simplest way. Here's how you do it. I start the process from Buffer's Analytics page but you can do this from your Twitter Profile page too.

Step 1 - find the tweet you want to record in the Buffer Analytics window (or scroll down through your Twitter Profile to find it). Click the timestamp of the tweet.

Step 2 - The tweet will open in a window. Under it click the 'More' icon - the three dots ...
From the menu which appears click 'Delete' Don't worry you are NOT going to delete it.

Step 3 - Twitter will show the tweet including that elusive picture URL and ask you to confirm deletion. Highlight the tweet text and copy it. Although the tweet link URL may appear shortened, when you copy it you will get the full URL. Then click 'Cancel' since you DON'T want to delete it.
Step 4 - Now paste the tweet into the text file or spreadsheet you want to store it in for later reuse.

Simple. Here's the text of the Tweet I just copied:
34 ways to NOT get more followers on Twitter

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book 'Immortality Gene' from
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) - it will help our rankings.
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Friday, 13 November 2015

Attention Authors - Check out something new - MineEye offers 100% royalties

This seems such a good deal for authors and musicians. MineEye is very new and offers to act as a retail outlet and to promote your e-books and music. It's a concept which deserves to work - time will tell.

Attention Writers!

Hello all you writer friends! I have great news for you! Robert, our Technical Director has sent the following information:
Momentous News – The Launch of MineEye.
Thirty Authors Needed !
For some while, you will know that we have had the vision of creating a community of writers, poets, musicians and artists in a strong web and social media network, capable of bringing together people from all over the world.
That community is called ‘MineEye’. We want to create a nurturing, positive and supportive environment for people to express themselves, develop and connect with their audience. Getting started as a writer is challenging enough personally without having to understand and engage with multi-national print publishing houses and online bookstores – mentioning no names !
This first phase is an online bookstore with a difference. This will allow writers to publish their books on our website for a small fee to cover our administrative costs. We will not charge percentage commissions from the sale of books on our site – ever. Whether an author sells 5 books or 10,000 books through MineEye, they get to keep every penny, every cent of their earnings.
Most importantly, our community of authors will be actively promoted by us. We have a wonderful, positive presence on social media and we have a powerful voice now – we are a force for good ! No longer will authors’ works be left languishing unknown and unread amongst literally millions of others in the catacombs of a multi-national company.
So now, with the MineEye website ready to launch, we need authors (and their books to sell) and customers to buy them. We will start small and understand that it will take many months to grow.
How can you help ? If you are a writer or you know someone that you can recommend, with a book ready to be published, we would love to hear from you. We went to attract our first “scribble of writers” – precisely 30 of you to start with.
To those 30, we will offer a free subscription for one year and will upload your book onto MineEye free of charge. You will receive 100% of your revenue from book sales. There are no strings, no hidden catches – we want to build our community.
Please note that this is an online bookstore where customers will buy and download your book, then send it to their Kindle or e-reader device. We cannot sell books in print because we don’t have a warehouse – yet ! Also, we ask that your book is complete in every respect – it needs to have been converted to an e-reader format before we can publish it and you will need great looking artwork, plus a few promotional paragraphs of text, so that we can help you sell your book.
We are really delighted to be ready to launch MineEye and look forward to getting our first wave of writers on board immediately ! Authors can sell their books online to customers today.
Please contact us by email at either: or if you would like to talk to us about publishing your book on MineEye.
This is Gongle again! If you would like to have a look at the new site here is a link:
Love Gongle x

Friday, 16 October 2015

Using a Twitter Collection to Promote

Twitter is great but that 140 characters limit is often an obstruction. There are ways to get round it though:

  1. Use a graphic to include the extra text. Remember to get the aspect ratio of the graphic right. Twitter now resizes images to 455x227 pixels and will crop the height if it is more than twice the width. Here's an example:
  2. Use one of a number of services which will split your text and post it as multiple tweets one after another.
  3. Set up a Twitter Collection.

What is a Twitter Collection?

A Twitter Collection is a series of tweets grouped together by users. They may contain tweets by a single or multiple tweeps. Each collection has a name and description. New tweets can be added to it, each appearing at the top. For authors it's ideal for tweeting about a series. The collection can be retweeted as a whole or individually. Unlike normal tweets they appear in the order added rather than by date and time added - you can add an old tweet to the top of the list.
Here's part of an example:

Notice the collection has a title - 'The lighter side of promo' and a description - 'Can you use humor to…'. It also has a button at the left 'Tweet about this collection'.
Clicking the button gets you this:

This can be edited by the tweep or the default message tweeted as follows:

(If you want to see the actual collection it's at )

How can authors use this?

  • You can link together a number of tweets with a common theme - in the example - humor. 
  • If a discussion evolves from a tweet the posts could be placed in a collection. 
  • You could also use this to promote a number of books in a series.  
  • It's also possible for a number of authors to create Collections about a common genre. This has great potential. I'm still working out how this would work but my initial idea is as follows

A Tweet Collection Team

Promotion sites such as Bookbub owe their success to their genre specific emails. It might be possible to set up a Twitter Collection Group to do the same thing on Twitter. Tweeps would find this attractive because they see the posts of the genre collection they are interested in and following.

How it would work - Let's suppose you are a romance author but don't write erotica.

  1. You write a tweet for your book and create an optional image for it 455 x 227 pixels in size. You post that tweet as normal in your timeline and get the URL of the tweet by clicking 'Details'
  2. You go to the Facebook group for Romance (no erotica) and post the link to the tweet as is normally done for retweet groups.
  3. You click the group's pinned Twitter Collection tweet and retweet that on Twitter. You undertake to do step 3 on a daily basis until you no longer want to be involved and have deleted the Facebook message you made in step 2
  4. IF you need to make a change to your tweet DON'T edit it. Delete it from the Facebook comment and make it again (Don't do that too often!) You are only allowed ONE comment/tweet in the collection
That's it - you don't have to retweet the individual tweets of group members because they will all be in the collection!

On a daily basis the group moderator/s will:

  • Delete the bottom two tweets and re-post them to the top of the collection
  • Add any new tweets to the collection
  • Make a minor change to the group pinned tweet to allow it to be retweeted again.
Of course if you write erotic romance/ science fiction/ thrillers / paranormal / fantasy / children's books / whatever, you simply use the appropriate group. No group for your genre? Create it - you are the moderator. Don't forget you can add any tweet, not just your own. You could add some tweets from other authors in your genre to get things going.

Promote the collection - not the individual tweets

The pinned Twitter Collection tweet should have an appropriate image associated. Change it often and get the group involved in making new ones.

How do I make a Twitter Collection?

Twitter suggests using either Tweetdeck or Curator - both programs from Twitter. Tweetdeck is probably easier for most Twitter users to access.
If you don't have Tweetdeck, get it at It doesn't require installation but will need access to your Twitter account/s.
If you are new to Tweetdeck there's a beginner's guide to using it at Mashable.

Mashable doesn't mention the new additions to Tweetdeck. Clicking the '+' at the left allows you to add any of these:

There at the bottom you'll find 'Collections'. Click it.
At the top click the -
The'll be a short delay then a new column will appear in Tweetdeck. Give the collection a name and add a description.
Tweetdeck says you can 'Drag Tweets into this collection' - you can, but you'll have to click the tweet then drag its drag icon. If you have a lot of tweets, that can freeze your computer while it catches up. I find it's better to copy and paste the tweet URL into the bottom of the collection.
To get the tweet URL from a normal Twitter page click the 'Details' link and copy the URL. In Tweetdeck you can use the ellipsis to get a menu and click 'Add to collection'

How do I get the Collection link?

At the top right of the collection in Tweetdeck click the 'slider' controls to get a menu. Then click Share and choose one of the options. I like to add an image, so I choose 'Tweet about this timeline'.

Where can I get more details?

You must be a glutton for technical stuff but here you go -

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Getting a Twitter image URL

Ever wanted to get the URL of an image in Twitter so you can use it in a different tweet? In the past Twitter showed this but it's a little more difficult now. Here are two methods of getting it:
Method 1 - this works for any image on Twitter - even if it's not your image.
1. Look for the 'More' link at the bottom of the tweet
2. From the 'More' menu select 'Embed tweet'.

Method 2 - This also works for any tweet but if you have many followers, the tweet may be difficult to find. It's better if the tweet is one of yours.
1. You'll need an account at TweetDeck -
2. In your 'User' column scroll down to your tweet with the picture you want and you'll find the 'pic.twitter…' link there ready to copy and paste.

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book 'Immortality Gene' from
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) - it will help our rankings.
As to this post - it's part of a forthcoming book 'An Illustrated Guide to Getting Published.' In it, you'll learn how to use those Twitter images.
Look - a FREE e-book

Friday, 21 August 2015

Beware the word 'Bestseller'

Every day my mailbox is bombarded with marketing emails from people who want to help me become a 'bestseller' but what exactly is a 'bestseller'?

"He’s launched 3 books in the last 12 months and each of ‘em were NO.1 bestsellers."  was today's claim - Yeah right. Let's take a look at today's 'bestsellers.'

The overall #1 bestseller in Amazon paid e-books at the time of researching this was 'Grey' (Shame on you readers!)

It's selling 4,000+ copies a day and is #1 Paid in Kindle Store. It's
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Romance
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance
#1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Romantic

Now if the promoter was able to say he'd got 3 books in the top 100 paid sales rank I would be very impressed and he would undoubtedly be a stellar bestseller. He didn't say that though and if his book genre was Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Foreign Languages > Other Languages > Hungarian he could be a '#1 bestseller with an overall rank of 1,287,139. That would mean he's selling about one book every 1-2 months. There a lot of these obscure categories so when you see these '#1 bestseller' claims - take it with a pinch of salt. If the promoter's system really works well they would quote the Amazon overall sales rank.

You'll find many authors claim to be a 'bestselling' author if they have ever had a book in the top 100 of any category, Look for #100 in some genres at Amazon and you may find they stop at #18. That probably means the book in that rank has sold just a few copies.

Here's a few of today's #1 bestsellers chosen from random genres with estimates of their sales:

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Arts & Photography > Architecture > Architects, A-Z #11,301 Paid in Kindle Store (about 430 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Lawyers & Judges #3,744 Paid in Kindle Store (about 2,100 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Taxation > Small Business #32,983 Paid in Kindle Store (about 140 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Interior Design > Upholstery & Fabrics #182,406 Paid in Kindle Store (about 4 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Education & Teaching > Higher & Continuing Education > College Guides #23,812 Paid in Kindle Store (about 245 sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Foreign Languages > Other Languages > Hungarian #1,287,139 Paid in Kindle Store (Probably no sales in the last 30 days)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Engineering & Transportation > Transportation > Ships > Pictorial #219,700 Paid in Kindle Store (about 2 sales in the last 30 days)

As to me I've been #1 bestseller in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Technothrillers with a best ever overall rank of #540 in paid. I've also been #1 in Science fiction > Genetic engineering and #1 in Science fiction adventure. I don't claim to be a bestselling author even though there are 50,000 of my books in circulation.

Beware the 'bestseller'; it's a word which can mean little and for an author to use it smacks of desperation.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

E-books or print - which do you prefer?

I'll choose e-readers - no contest.

  • Whilst I too love the smell and feel of a book, we buy them for their content not their smell and feel. If the lack of 'paper smell' bothers you you can buy a 'book smell' perfume to spray on your e-reader.
  • "I prefer real books" is a phrase I often hear. Usually I hear it from those who have not yet got an e-reader, Every time I hear it I imagine those people who first came across bound books. Did they think "Nice, but I prefer scrolls."?
  • My mother has just had her 92nd birthday and spends a lot of time reading. She finds it easier to read large print and prefers thinner books since she finds these easier to hold. You can change the text size in an e-book and they are much lighter.
  • I'd much rather carry an e-reader than the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica. I think my library of 3,000+ paper books probably weighs about a ton. Most of them could fit on my ancient Kindle Keyboard e-reader.
  • About a year ago I finished reading a hardback book I've had since 2009. Stephen King's 'Under the Dome.' I had not read it because it weighs 1.3 kilograms (2.3 pounds) - too heavy to read unsupported. (Enjoyable book if you want to read it) I'd looked for it as an e-book but due to the Amazon/Hachette dispute couldn't find it. In the end I read it in bed before sleeping with it supported on my knees.
  • Putting another book on the bookshelf may satisfy some people but I have trouble finding a space for an extra book on my shelves. I've used up all the normal space (two books deep) and have run out of space between the book tops and the next shelf! 
  • I like to read relaxing in a bath. I may fall asleep and a soggy book is not easy to salvage. Your e-reader may not like water either but you can read it inside a ziplock plastic bag far easier than a paper copy! 
  • My e-readers play music and can read my book to me. The only paper book I have that does that was bought years ago for my children. 
  • Can you get Internet on a paper book? Maybe this will be possible in the future when flexible screens become available. My Nexus 7 has full Internet, plays movies, makes video calls and takes pictures also. (OK - not very good ones)
  • Do you feel the author needs rewarding for the time they spent writing your book? If you do then be aware that authors earn more money from e-books than from paper books.
  • Price? In general e-books cost less than a new book. Second-hand paper books may cost even less but your choice may be limited.
  • When you buy an e-book you buy a licence to read it. Most people are not keen on this but if you face a disaster which destroys your library - a fire,  your ebooks will still be there in the cloud whereas your paper books will be in the smoke.
  • The 'wicked bible' error.
    Few books are perfect. They contain typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, timeline errors, sentences which could be phrased better. Once you've bought a paper book - you're stuck with the errors but ebooks can be updated.
That's my choice. What about you?