Tag Archives: Kindle

Contest Alert: Red Adept Publishing

Check out this contest offering free prizes from Red Adept Publishing during the month of March: http://redadeptselect.com/  

Enter to win a $200 Amazon gift certificate and other great prizes from Red Adept Publishing and my fellow Red Adept Select authors.

Happy March!

Diana

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Free Kindle Book: You Can’t Change Crazy

I am pleased to announce that  You Can’t Change Crazy is now available for FREE from Amazon!

Here’s the book description:  Neither sex has cornered the market for crazy. But in these seven reprinted essays by bestselling author Diana Estill, the competition is brutal. Determining which behaviors are most insane often depends on who’s making the call. Both genders will relate to these funny vignettes about the ways men and women inadvertently drive each other bonkers.

 

Kindle: 99 Cents

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It’s not Easy Being Indie

Often I read articles or blog posts about independent eBook authors who’re making it big, selling 100,000 or more eBooks in less than a year, receiving six-figure offers from major publishers, or landing movie deals. My spirits are lifted and hopes rekindled by such news. However, I quickly remind myself that for every one of these fortunate (and, no doubt, hard-working) authors who are hitting the Big Time, there are thousands of others who are refreshing their Kindle Data Publishing dashboards every few minutes and wondering why their sales numbers haven’t changed in days.

 Truth be told, I’ve spent most of my self-publishing time on neither end of that sales spectrum (though I admit to being a numbers checker). So I thought I’d offer a glimpse of what middle ground looks like. 

I’ve written three humor books and one short collection of, I’m almost (but not quite) ashamed to admit, bathroom humor essays. What began as a silly newspaper column grew into a full-time obsession when I wrote my first book, Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road. I didn’t set out to become a humorist. But I don’t need to tell you what happens to plans. Right? 

Initially, I didn’t fully appreciate my book market size and competition. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are a few statistics: According to Amazon’s category listing details, as of today, there are 18,223 humor books available on Kindle. In the past ninety days, 2,939 of those titles were added to the Kindle store.

 For my eBooks to simply maintain their rankings, I must constantly outsell the new titles coming on board. This means that every time Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Ellen DeGeneres, or Jenny McCarthy releases a new book, my books lose whatever position and ranking they’ve previously built. I wish these famous folks would just be content with their awards, TV shows, and stage appearances. But, sadly (for me), they’re not.

 Flipping through the TV channels last night, I paused to catch a glimpse of an Oprah rerun. There sat Jenny McCarthy, looking all gorgeous and well-rehearsed as she discussed her latest release with the Queen of Book Marketing. I folded my arms and tried my best not to be a “hater” (or a “hate her”). Humorists like me don’t get invitations to promote our books on Oprah. We get asked to provide free speeches at ladies’ garden club luncheons.

 Oh, sure, I once garnered mild interest from a top-tier literary agent. But in the end, the woman said my “platform” wasn’t big enough. I wanted to say, “Oh, yeah? Well, my caboose is!” But I doubt that would have helped my case.

What the agent was telling me was this; I didn’t perform stand-up comedy, and I lacked my own radio and television show. My material was good, but without a blog like Snooky’s (Okay, her name wasn’t tossed out—but I got the drift.), this businesswoman feared I’d be a tough sell. Most likely, she was right.

 After that exciting but big miss, I forgot about agents and dared to publish my own work.

 Some suggest my paperback books have sold well, for an “unknown” author. Sales figures have been less than stellar, though, if you ask me. Nonetheless, in 2010, I decided to release Driving, my first book, in eBook format. With no previous formatting knowledge, I followed the Kindle and Smashwords publishing guidelines to make my book available through multiple outlets. I had no idea what to expect, but I figured I had nothing to lose . . . other than maybe a little despair.

 To my surprise and delight, readers found me!

 I’m not entirely sure how this happened. I did no advertising, other than on my own website (which was getting all of  three hits per day). The only people who seemed to be visiting my blog were ones offering to enhance male performance. My family (excluding my husband) and most of my friends paid zero attention to what I’d written and even less to how they might help me spread word of my books. 

It wasn’t until I received my first sales report from Smashwords that I realized Driving was selling overseas. Through Smashwords’ distribution arrangement with Apple, the book was selling in the U.K. and Canada! How were these audiences finding me? They weren’t visiting my website or blog, to be sure. I could see the number of visits posted on each site. Something else was leading readers to my work. But what?

 I wondered what might happen if I did a little advertising.

 Some research led me to Kindle Nation Daily, Daily Cheap Reads, The Frugal eReader, Red Adept Reviews, and Kindleboards.com, where I tested the waters with various sponsorship ads and banners. Over the next four months, I rotated my books’ exposures through these channels. Each ad produced a bump in sales, followed by a tapering off. But the lift was enough to get my books off the ground and into their Amazon categories’ top 100 lists.

One year after the eBook launch of Driving, this title is currently #167 in Amazon’s Kindle humor category. (That is among all 18,223 titles.) Today the book is sitting at #21 in Amazon’s Kindle humor essays listings and #8 in humor/parenting.  

Despite my book sales success, I have not sold 100,000 eBooks. Nobody has offered me a movie deal. Playboy hasn’t asked me to pose nude, either. (And if they do, the answer is “ARE YOU CRAZY?”) Oprah doesn’t, and likely never will, know that I exist. But thousands of readers do. And I am humbled and sufficiently awed by that knowledge.   

Personal success is measured not by how much of the journey remains ahead of us but rather by the distance we’ve already traveled. The stamina required for completing a book, the courage it takes to publish your own work, the faith that’s needed to believe what others don’t, and the fortitude necessary to stay the course are all accomplishments to celebrate. In between hitting the refresh button, of course.

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Book offers humorous advice for women over 40

My third humor book, Stilettos No More, is now available in paperback and eBook formats (Kindle, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Smashwords). This title offers zany advice for women over 40. Here’s a short news release, followed by an excerpt:

Time to Hang Up the Stilettos?

Whether she’s warning women about the hazards of high heels or lamenting over the fashion persistence of thong panties, author Diana Estill milks humor from midlife. In her new book, Stilettos No More (Corncob Press), Estill lampoons shoes that cost more than tires and swears on her “thigh trimmer” she’s past the age to “walk on stilts.”

Fatigued by all the anti-aging rhetoric that pervades our current culture, Estill, 56, claims 50 isn’t the new 40 . . . “without the help of Botox, a plastic surgeon, or Photoshop.”

Instead of trying to look like a Desperate Housewife star, the author suggests women should learn to expect and accept some physical changes during midlife. It’s the feisty, funny side of 50 that Estill seeks to promote by sharing her own perspective as a reluctant “senior.” She’s not afraid to tell the truth about her tummy woes or unwanted toe hairs—or to caution younger gals of what awaits them.

Stilettos No More is Estill’s third book of humorous essays and is available now in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon and other booksellers.

Estill’s previous book, Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life (Corncob Press) was a humor category 2008 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist and a 2010 International Book Awards Winner.

From the book, Stilettos No More:

The Big “M”

As much as I hate to beat up on doctors, the truth is, once a woman nears the “Big M,” she might as well not whine to a physician about anything during her annual checkup. No matter what her complaints might be, her doctor will likely dismiss them by telling her that she’s either entering or in the midst of menopause.

This is kind of like seeing a fortune teller who says your luck is about to change. Of course it is! Nothing remains static. So it’s pretty easy to be accurate when you’re being this vague.

It can easily take a decade to pass through “the change.” Therefore, being told that almost every minor health symptom (no matter how wardrobe threatening) during this time is somehow related to menopause is more than an annoyance. It’s a waste of your “health spending” dollars.

We interrupt this stream of consciousness writing to bring you the following important medical disclaimer:

I am in no way qualified to offer medical advice, so please consult your doctor if you’re looking for anything other than absurd health opinions. A physician may give you even more bizarre instruction, but at least those recommendations will be offered by a professional who is properly insured.

So, like I was saying, save your medical co-pays and buy a personal hair trimmer. You’re going to need it. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Despite the frustrations of being told so, much of what occurs during midlife is attributable to hormone fluctuations. And that includes the appearance of unwanted hair and the loss of one’s car keys.

First, it’ll be only a lone dark spike emerging from your chin. But then, overnight, this hair will grow faster than the US deficit. You won’t see it before bedtime and yet, by the next morning, this new arrival will be long enough to fashion into a pin curl.

The next thing you know, all sorts of fuzz and freak whiskers will erupt. And that’s when a good hairstylist can be your best friend. Just make sure she’s young enough to see well.

My hairdresser is a second pair of eyes scrutinizing my ever changing appearance. She was the first person to call my attention to the billy goat beard I’d sprouted under my chin—a necklace of platinum-colored fringe framing my drooping jowls. This hair was so light and fine that, without my reading glasses, I couldn’t see it.

In her diplomatic way, my stylist offered her best professional advice: “LET ME SHAVE THIS STUFF OFF!”

A few months later, when my hairdresser began fretting over something on my forehead, I feared the worst. Surely I wasn’t going to have to start using Botox too!

While cutting my bangs, she paused and stared at me. With one hand she scooped my hair straight back and peered more closely.

I waited to hear the dire news, whatever it was.

With an index finger and thumb, she plucked at something.

I felt a tug on my forehead.

“Omigod,” she exclaimed. “It’s attached!”

Glancing up, I saw her pulling on a single strand of white hair that must have been four inches long.
When she finally stopped laughing, she said, “Do you want me to remove it?”

Briefly I considered leaving the sprout intact and saving it as a conversation piece. Imagine all the laughs such an oddity might generate. If I left it alone, once my bangs were in place, only my hairdresser and I would know the straggler wasn’t part of my normal mane. But then I reconsidered and asked her to pluck the hormonally haywire hair. To whom would I have shown it, anyway? None of my friends see well enough to notice their own strays.

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