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Indies Unlimited by Administrators - 7h ago

There’s nothing like sitting back and relaxing with a good book, is there? This week, you can fill up your Kindle or other eReader with some awesome eBooks. We’ve got plenty of free and 99 cent eBooks here on Thrifty Thursday!

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see one you like, click over and buy it. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book priced at 99¢ or less (that’s right, post your free eBooks here, too!), follow the instructions below and post it right in the comment section. Got more than one bargain book? Go ahead and post up to five titles but only one book and ONE link per comment please!

We will convert Amazon links to spiffy clickable book covers. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (~140 characters – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. ONE link to purchase the book (only secure retail sites – Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, or Apple/iStore)
5. Whether your book is free or 99 cents (and for how long/what dates)
6. Limit FIVE books per author.

Then let your friends and fans know your book is available here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your cheap read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles – they will be deleted without notice. Kindle Unlimited books do NOT go here. If you want to advertise a KU book, you may do so on Kindle Unlimited Fridays. Thank you.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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It’s that time again…time to choose your favorite flash fiction story of the week! It’s all up to you now – only one can win Flash Fiction Readers’ Choice Champion honors. It’s super easy – choose your favorite and cast your vote below.

Check out this week’s entries here. Make your decision, then come back to THIS page and click the gray circle next to the person’s name. Scroll down to the vote button which will turn blue, and then click it. Please then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word. Attention Authors: It is okay if you ask people to vote for you!

Voting polls close Thursday at 5 PM Pacific time. If the poll doesn’t close on time, any votes received after 5 pm will be removed.

REMINDER – entries over the 250 limit are disqualified.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit will be disqualified even if they win. ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. The results displayed above are unofficial until verified by administration.

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Our overworked administrator is getting a well-deserved break today, so we figured you all might like to take this time to exercise your writing chops.

Therefore, here’s a writing prompt for you; do as you wish – short story, flash fiction, poem, what have you. There is no deadline or word count restriction, and no judging. Just write. (Comments are closed – write on your own.)

This week’s word: Encroach

Use it however you’d like: as the title, in a sentence, or as inspiration. Ready, set, write!

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Mary Kay Bonfante is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Hummingbird
by Mary Kay Bonfante

Won Cho Lee gazed out of his cell at the prison. The midday sun brightened the courtyard, and birds were singing, unseen, despite the sterile surroundings. A few plants stubbornly found their way up through the ground, cracking the concrete in their persistent struggle to survive.

His 6 x 8 solitary cell was foul smelling, with a bucket used for a toilet in the corner. He guessed he was there for preaching his faith, albeit quietly, in the oppressive regime he lived under. No one ever explained it.

One day three uniformed men had burst into his house, and one of them administered an injection. He blacked out, and found himself here.

It was their mistake to leave him a window. The whole world happened in that courtyard. The rays of the sun shone through his small, barred window around sunset.

And now, a hummingbird! It lighted upon the largest plant he could see. Its gray body appeared to have a purple cape. Its motion was swift, amazing. It was a sign to Won. He would be going home soon, either to his family, or to Heaven.

The next day, he received another injection, and awoke on his front porch. He crawled to the door and knocked. His wife answered, in tears, helping him to his feet.

From bed, he looked out his big window, which had no bars. He gazed at a lovely tree, with its fern-like leaves and berries. He was waiting for another hummingbird.

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Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

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Hey authors – are you enrolled in KDP Select? Then this is for you. Hey readers – do you have a Kindle Unlimited membership? Then this is for you, too! Scroll on down – you can get all these books for FREE. Not sure what Kindle Unlimited is? Our Lynne Cantwell tells you right here. So…

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see a book that interests you, click over and reserve your copy. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book enrolled in KDP Select, that means it’s available through the Amazon.com Kindle Unlimited Program. Post your book’s info FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. Authors who do not follow instructions will have their comments deleted.

We will convert your link to a clickable book cover. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (tweetable in length – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. The Amazon link to purchase the book
5. The normal price so readers can see what they’re saving!
6. Limit 5 books per author

Then let your friends and fans know your book is being featured here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your free read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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Indies Unlimited by Administrators - 1w ago

There’s nothing like sitting back and relaxing with a good book, is there? This week, you can fill up your Kindle or other eReader with some awesome eBooks. We’ve got plenty of free and 99 cent eBooks here on Thrifty Thursday!

Readers: look in the comment section below. If you see one you like, click over and buy it. How easy is that? (If you don’t see the book covers, adjust your browser’s adblock settings.)

Authors: if you have a book priced at 99¢ or less (that’s right, post your free eBooks here, too!), follow the instructions below and post it right in the comment section. Got more than one bargain book? Go ahead and post up to five titles but only one book and ONE link per comment please!

We will convert Amazon links to spiffy clickable book covers. Do not attempt to insert an image in comments on your own. Just put the following information in the comment section:

1. Book title
2. Author name
3. A one sentence blurb (~140 characters – longer descriptions will be deleted)
4. ONE link to purchase the book (only secure retail sites – Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, or Apple/iStore)
5. Whether your book is free or 99 cents (and for how long/what dates)
6. Limit FIVE books per author.

Then let your friends and fans know your book is available here today. Use the share buttons below, or copy the link in the address bar above and share the news on your favorite social media platforms. The more, the merrier, right?

So let’s give it a try, shall we? Please make sure to follow the RULES above. Now, go ahead and tell the world about your cheap read. IU is a safe-for-work site. PLEASE do not post links to erotica, religious, or political titles – they will be deleted without notice. Kindle Unlimited books do NOT go here. If you want to advertise a KU book, you may do so on Kindle Unlimited Fridays. Thank you.

[Note: if the book cover images below do not display properly, please check your AdBlock settings.]

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It’s that time again…time to choose your favorite flash fiction story of the week! It’s all up to you now – only one can win Flash Fiction Readers’ Choice Champion honors. It’s super easy – choose your favorite and cast your vote below.

Check out this week’s entries here. Make your decision, then come back to THIS page and click the gray circle next to the person’s name. Scroll down to the vote button which will turn blue, and then click it. Please then use those share buttons at the bottom of the post to spread the word. Attention Authors: It is okay if you ask people to vote for you!

Voting polls close Thursday at 5 PM Pacific time. If the poll doesn’t close on time, any votes received after 5 pm will be removed.

REMINDER – entries over the 250 limit are disqualified.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

NOTE: Entrants whose submissions exceed the 250 word limit will be disqualified even if they win. ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. The results displayed above are unofficial until verified by administration.

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If you’re selling eBooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) process, you most likely check your sales through the KDP interface (kdp.amazon.com). The KDP interface defaults to your book(s) dashboard, but if you click on Reports in the top menu, it’ll take you to your sales dashboard where you can view your units sold, Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read for KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Lending Library), and your accrued royalties for the month. You can also customize the view by changing the dates, sorting on specific books or on specific marketplaces.

This is all well and good, but I find the interface to be rather lackluster.

Enter Book Report. Book Report is a free app (app.getbookreport.com) that adds a hot button to your browser. When you first activate it, you may need to sign in to your KDP account in order for Book Report to sync to it, but usually once you’ve done that, Book Report operates independently and you don’t need to keep your KDP interface open to use it. I love Book Report. It’s easy to use, has lots of fun bells and whistles, and is visually appealing. I open mine first thing every morning and keep it open all day long. It updates constantly, so the numbers you see are always accurate. Matter of fact, the tab at the top of the page keeps a running total of today’s sales so you can see that even if you’re working on a different tab in your browser.

The default page comes up with several quick visual aids to give you an immediate grasp of how your books are doing. The first one is Top Earners. This shows you at a glance what your top six books are, in order of sales.

Click any image to enlarge

Next is Earnings by Day. This is a line graph that shows you your earnings through pages read in KDP Select (blue) and your royalties for sales (red). If you’ve had a recent promo, it’s easy to see the spike that should ensue (as well as the cliff that inevitably follows).

The next graph is Earnings by Book, a pie chart that shows all your books in descending sales order (The top seller is at the 12-1 o’clock position). If you move your mouse over a pie piece, you’ll see the title of the book, the total earned, and the percentage of the whole.

The last quick reference is Earnings by Marketplace. This shows you how your book sales break out over the various Amazon markets. In the example below, Amazon.com, of course, is the US; Amazon.co.uk is the United Kingdom; Amazon.ca is Canada; and Amazon.de is Germany, and of course there are many other marketplaces not shown on my example.

Details follow in a list showing each book and its earnings, pages read, royalties, etc. This list, plus all the charts and graphs above, can be customized by date, book, and marketplace.

The fun stuff enters in beyond all the typical sales information on the home page. Near the top of the page is a menu with six tabs: Today, Historical, Ranks, Reviews, Books, and Settings. Today, obviously, shows you the above results for today only. Historical gives you the option of customizing the above graphs by whatever timeline you choose: this month, last month, last 90 days, the year, lifetime, or custom. Rank shows your top three books in the Paid Kindle Store, plus how that rank may have changed up or down today. Below that is a graph to show your highest-ranking books over time, and below that is a Launch Comparison graph, contrasting the stats for several books of your choice from their launch date. This could be especially useful if you’re trying out different promotional strategies for different books.

Next is the Reviews tab, which I like to check fairly often because it shows your latest positive review, which book it’s for, and how many days ago it was posted. Below that is a chart for Reviewer Retention, which shows how many reviewers reviewed other books of yours before or after a given book (which you choose). That’s followed by a list of all your books, how many reviews each has received and the average rating for each.

The Books tab simply shows you all your books with ASINS, and the Settings tab allows you to customize all this data in a zillion ways.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on, and it’s all easily accessible and fun to play with. I find the information on Book Report to be infinitely more useful and interesting than the dry data on the KDP page. If you haven’t tried Book Report, you might want to check it out. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to keep on top of your stats.

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Theodore Jerome Cohen is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Model Credit: Ryan O’Crotty. Do not use without attribution.

Waiting
by Theodore Jerome Cohen

“Who’s this?” her neighbor asked, turning the page in the album and wiping her fingers across the clear plastic sheet that covered the photograph of a man atop a mountain who appeared to be waiting for someone to catch up with him. The neatly typed note pasted beneath the photo read: Organ Mountains, February, 2017.
Her host looked wistfully at the photograph and, for a moment, said nothing.
“Oh, that’s Peter . . . he was my fiancée.”
On hearing that, the large German Shepherd at her feet, his eyes wide open, raised his head.
“Peter was temporarily stationed at Ft. Bliss prior to shipping out for Afghanistan on his third deployment.”
The dog put his head down between his paws and seemingly went to sleep. Every now and then, though, something his mistress said caused him to open his eyes and whimper softly.
“Jethro, here, worked with Peter as an explosive detector dog,” the woman said at one point. “They were working a village search and security operation in the Dand area of Kandahar Province of southern Afghanistan when Jethro ‘alerted’ to an IED. Peter attempted to disarm it so the rest of the task force could pass, but the device exploded, killing him and severely injuring Jethro. Peter’s comrades in arms made sure Jethro was airlifted to a field hospital for surgery, and following his recovery, they sent him home to me.
“He—and this photograph—are all I have now to remind me of Peter.”

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