Wrong, just way wrong, I think

Going into this whole fiction thing, I made a few assumptions, not consciously, but you know, I just thought things were a certain way, and it turns out they are not. For example, when I made the decision to make the protagonist in the Mara Lantern series a young woman, I assumed that male readers would probably not be interested. My original thought was Mara would be a guy, but technically adroit women are much more interesting than their male counterparts, and I’m not just talking about the fictional ones.

Turns out I’ve got some male readers, and not just a few. I’ve not done a survey, but there are more than I assumed there would be.

Another assumption I made was the vast majority of ebook readers were Kindle readers, like me. There’s no denying that Amazon is the big kahuna in the market, but I’m starting to think that their percentage in the market isn’t as much as it used to be. You see, I just finished up with a member giveaway at LibraryThing in which I am giving away 100 review copies of Broken Realms in ebook format. I offered a choice of EPUB or Kindle format. About half of the winners have gotten back to me and it is running 50-50, which surprises me. Now, that might just be the make up of the membership of LibraryThing, but I doubt it.

Anyway, for me it was a bit of an epiphany. It also indicates that my participation in Amazon’s exclusive program (KDP Select) is probably not the best long-term strategy. That being said, I do get the feeling that for my first three months in the marketplace, it has helped me get the book and the series established, at least to some degree. I definitely got a significant bump in sales during the Countdown Deal I ran last month, and, after the deal ended, sales leveled off at a slightly (very slightly) higher level.

My three-month enrollment in KDP Select runs out at the end of July. Most likely, I will not renew and begin distributing my books to the other online book retailers. Just to make sure, I’m running a pricing experiment for the next two weeks to see if I can replicate the results of the Countdown Deal without having the benefit of appearing on Amazon’s Countdown Deal pages. The price of Broken Realms has been lowered back down to 99 cents temporarily and I’ve done a bit of marketing, so if I get a sales bump comparable to what happened last month, then there’s no real benefit to staying exclusive to Amazon.

I’ll know in a couple of weeks, but I’m pretty sure The Chronicles of Mara Lantern will be showing up at B&N, iBooks, Kobo and a few other places real soon.

How’s Book 2 coming? Little slower than I anticipated at this point, but I’m determined to make a September publication date.


Giveaways and more giveaways

If you are a LibraryThing fan, you can sign up to get a ebook review copy of Broken Realms until July 1. You can find the book listed here. (Of course, if you are in a hurry and don’t want to sign up on LibraryThing, you can simply request a review copy directly from me on this page.)

If you like print books and are a member of Goodreads, you can enter to win one of 10 paperback editions of Broken Realms. This giveaway is open until July 18. You can enter to win here. (You will need to sign into Goodreads, and it is limited to folks in the U.S. ’cause I don’t want to pay more for shipping than the books are worth.)



Book 2 and sundry other items

I’ve added a progress bar to the Reader Update page so readers can see how Book 2 (Broken Souls) is coming along. I think I’m into a rhythm with the story now and I’m writing about two scenes a day. At that pace, the first draft should be done by the second week of July. Rewrites will take at least a couple of weeks more. Then it goes off to the editor. If all goes well, we’re still looking at a September release.

The Countdown deal at Amazon saw a definite bump in sales of Broken Realms, but the price is back up to $3.99 and will likely stay there at least until Book 2 comes out. I might consider doing another 99-cent deal on Book 1 when Book 2 comes out, but we’ll see. I’m thinking about dropping out of Amazon’s select program that gives them an exclusive on the books. There might be some benefit to distributing more widely to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, etc…

One other note: If you’ve read the book, please take a minute and write a review on Amazon, we’re still going really slow on that front and it really does matter to the success of a book (and its author.) Thanks.

Also, I can provide a review copy if you know someone who is interested in writing and  posting a review online. Just send them to the review copy request page.

Always open to ideas and suggestions from readers, so drop me a line if you like.


99-cent Countdown Deal

Amazon has these limited-time promotions called Countdown Deals. You’re supposed to look at the page and freak out about running out of time to buy something before the price goes up. I think there may actually be a countdown clock or something on the page.

Anyway, HURRY, the Kindle version of Broken Realms will be 99 cents starting at midnight tonight and ONLY until June 8, then the price goes back to $3.99. I can hardly catch my breath.

Seriously, if you have a friend who might be interested, it would be a good time to make a recommendation that would save them three bucks. I might not be discounting the book again for quite a while.



Mara Lantern Facebook Fan Page

I knew I would have to tackle the whole social media thing eventually, but I finally ran out of time. I got an email from a reader who was appalled that I didn’t have a page set up, so I spent a couple of hours putting it together this morning.

Next thing you know, I’ll be tweeting. Hah!

Go click the LIKE button at the Mara Lantern fan page. Post a comment or question or something so it doesn’t look so bare.

I’ll have to add some LIKE buttons to this site. I’ll dig around and figure that out in a minute.


Broken Realms now available in print

The print version of Broken Realms (The Chronicles of Mara Lantern, Book 1) is now available for order on Amazon. Right now the cost is $10.79. (Amazon has discounted the list price of $11.99, so don’t be surprised if the price fluctuates.)  Here’s a direct link to the paperback’s product page.

If you get a minute…

I have an aversion to marketing and begging, so this will be one of the rare occasions I do it here: If you’ve read Broken Realms, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to write a short, honest review on Amazon. Here’s the link directly to the book.

At some point in the future (probably after Book 3 of the series is available) I will begin to use some of the online sites that market books and most of them require a minimum number of reviews before they will consider your book worthy. I refuse to buy reviews or nag friends and family for them. Probably makes me a bad marketer. Guilty.



Broken Realms in print coming soon

I received proofs of the print edition of Broken Realms this morning and just approved the book to be released for sale. You should be able to order it on Amazon within a week. (I’ll add links to this post when it’s available.)

I have limited distribution of the book to Amazon because expanded distribution to other vendors caused the costs to go up nearly four dollars, which, in my tightwad opinion, prices the book out of the market. I don’t think most people want to pay $16 or $17 for a paperback. I have priced the book at $11.99, which makes it about half as profitable (to me) as the ebook, which is only $3.99.

Save some trees, buy the ebook.

In terms of availability of the ebook, it is likely I will expand to B&N, iTunes and Kobo once my 3-month term with KDP Select is up at the end of July. (KDP Select is a marketing program at Amazon that makes the book available for borrowing to Prime members, but authors must give Amazon an exclusive on the digital version of the book.)

Anyway, the print book looks cool and all, but it’s hard to beat the price of the ebook. (If you don’t own a Kindle, can can download apps for your tablet, phone or computer by going here.)

I’ll post updates on my progress with Book 2 in  a week or so.


And so it begins…

Given that you are here, you probably already know that Broken Realms has been published, but for me it’s a milestone, so I’ll make note of it. The ebook version is available now at Amazon and the paperback version is going through the proofing process now. It should be out in the next week or so. I’ll post an update here when it is available.

As the disclaimer to the right says, my plan was not to blog regularly since, frankly, I don’t think I would be very good at it. Many authors blog about writing or self publishing or the publishing industry in general or just do a sort of stream-of-consciousness thing. Some of them do an excellent job at it. More of them appear to have lost interest and stopped posting entries. Knowing myself, I would most likely fall into the latter group rather quickly.

That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in interacting with readers. I’ve added a contact form that lists my email address if you have suggestions, comments or questions. If I get frequent requests for the same information, I’ll be glad to post it here or elsewhere. I would rather respond to readers than have them respond to a blog that they may or may not be interested in reading.

Generally, I’ll post when something occurs with the series, for example, when the paperback version comes out. Occasionally, I’ll let you know how the next book is going. Stuff like that.

I look forward to hearing from you.