By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigAmazon updates

I’ve been experimenting with or pursuing different avenues for distribution and visibility.  Here are updates on what I’ve been working on with links in case you want to check these things out, yourself.

AmazonCrossing—Amazon is now publishing translated fiction for international readers.  You send them a pitch and they consider your work for translation by their publishing arm.  As I suspected, it’s tough to get in—I got a rejection email last week. But the email also invited authors to keep sending them other work to pitch, so I may give another book a go. Who knows? Maybe they’d be happier with my zombie book.  If you’re interested in checking it out, the link is here:

BookTrack—Speaking of the zombie book, I received an email from BookTrack…this is the company that matches soundtracks with books (the soundtracks adjust to the reader’s pace).  I’d been interested in the opportunity when I first read about it on Hugh Howey’s blog.  But I knew I had absolutely no time to take on a project like that (although I’m interested in reaching out to a variety of different readers on a variety of different formats).  Also, I wasn’t sure that my genre would be a match for the format.

Apparently the zombie book is, though.  They offered to produce the booktrack and put my book up on the platform. That sounded like a good plan to me since I still have no time at all.

It sounds like they’re actively seeking out content.  Does this mean this format is really catching on with younger readers?

Wattpad—I’m still fascinated at the international reach on this platform.  My demographics on Wattpad for my A Body in the Backyard (a very gentle mystery taking place in a small town in the Southern US) show readers in Pakistan, the Philippines (20%!), India (13%),   Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria,  Brazil, Russia, Norway, and Australia. It’s nice to feel I’m doing something to develop an international audience. And it’s free for me to do so.

Virtual Assistant: I ran into a frustrating issue while trying to upload a spreadsheet of new subscribers to MailChimp.  As I delved deeper and deeper into researching the issue I finally stopped and thought: “I’m already spending way too much time on this.” So, yep. I asked my author assistant to help me out with it. And, while he was at it, to try and make my template for my newsletter look better than it currently does. I’ve never been happy with the newsletter template I created, which looks uneven to me. I’m great with design when I can use Canva. When I can’t use Canva, my design skills are non-existent. Even with text design.  If you’re interested in doing this kind of outsourcing of frustrating tasks yourself, there are free listings of author assistants here and here.

Library SELF-e.  Last year I started submitting digital mysteries to the SELF-e platform:  a partnership between Library Journal and the US public library system.  More about Self-e in this article that journalist and SELF-e consultant Porter Anderson wrote for my blog: “SELF-e Gets Indie Books Into Library Catalogs.”  For me, almost everything that I do is for exposure/discoverability. That includes free ebooks, Wattpad (full-length novel uploads, leaving the books up for free), and Library SELF-e. Although authors don’t receive payment, I do feel it’s a good way to gain visibility for my series. And, if we have a perma-free book anyway, why not use that book to reach new readers.  One of my books was one of the top-three most-read mysteries in the SELF-e program for 2015, so I know I’m getting reads.  To submit your own book for consideration, go here.  For an overview of different kinds of ebook library services (pros and cons of each one), read this article from the ALLi blog by Andrew Lowe: “Ebook Library Services For Authors: An Alliance of Independent Authors Report.”

That’s all I’ve got in the way of updates right now. What kinds of things are you working on? How are they going?

Updates on experiments with AmazonCrossing, BookTrack, SELF-e, and more:
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