Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last call for the free Kindle Fire contest!

Three things I’ve learned from the comments on Beasts of the Walking City so far:

  • The characters and overall plot seem to be working well for most of you overall.  (Glad to hear it!)

  • “Hey, Doug, another round of copyediting is probably not a bad idea.”  (On it!  Updated version coming in two weeks.)

  • The definition of ‘trope’: (n) a common theme or device  (Ok, I knew that one, but still cool to have a classy word show up in a review.)

  • Thanks to everyone who’s commented—all of the feedback has been great, and I really appreciate your help.  Every review does make a difference.

    If anyone else was planning on leaving a review for a chance to win a Kindle Fire (or a donation in your name to Habitat for Humanity), it’s last call!  Reviews should be into Amazon by midnight, PST, on Friday 8/31.  Reviews later are completely welcome, too, of course.  But you'll have to BYOK.

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    And the Kindle winner is…

    …going to be determined in a week!  Have you left a review for Beasts of the Walking City yet? If you get it in before the end of the month, you're eligible for my drawing for a free Kindle Fire. And remember: all proceeds from this month are going to Habitat for Humanity. If you haven't yet picked up the book, you still have a few days left to go and still have your money going to help out a fine charity. Please pass the word:  it's not too late!  

    To the rest of you: thanks to everyone who has downloaded, read, reviewed, or are in the middle of reading Beasts! At the moment, I'm not doing any external promotion (aside, of course, from this post) and am still seeing sales happening regularly, every day, which I'm assuming are coming from work Amazon is doing to market it to other book buyers. I'm not ready to retire, of course. Nor am I quitting the day job any time soon. But it is great to see the book getting into the hands of readers on a steady basis, and I'll confess--results have been encouraging enough that I have started work on the sequel.

    I'm going to hold off until the end of the month in posting all the results from the month, and some of the tests I'm doing, but I will post a few links here to materials that were helpful in either navigating Amazon's processes, tweaking the sale page, etc, if you're hanging around the site for that:

    • First, while I'm generally allergic to how-to books, The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe by Jeff Bennington was a great overview of what to do and not to do when approaching Amazon's program. In particular, there were some good, tactical instructions here on dealing with your Amazon page that I didn't see anywhere else. Typical me, I read this after I already had everything set up online. But, the great thing about digital publishing for me means it's never too late to change something you screw up.  
    • Same for Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook Or Twitter) by Michael Alvear. I read this one pretty fast, and think a lot of the info is redundant with what you can find elsewhere online, but there were some good practical tips here that I ended up implementing, including at least one good one that Jeff didn't mention.  (Full disclosure: I have not made a killing yet.)
    • Joe Konrath's blog is very well known in the indie-publishing world, and many of you are probably reading it already.  If not, check it out--he's a great cheerleader for someone considering making the leap into independent publishing. 
    Most of these authors will freely admit their experiences are somewhat unique--they were early in to the experiment, and their own experiences many not become yours.  And it's important to keep in mind that the online publishing landscape changes rapidly and some of this info may be out of date.  But I'd argue if this is something you're thinking about doing with a book of your own, you'll want to have as much info at your fingertips as you can.

    More soon--stay tuned!  (And thanks again for reading...)

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Dancing with the Beast on Amazon: is Kindle publishing worth it?

    So, good news--the results are still coming in, but so far Beast did much better than I'd expected during its free weekend on Amazon's Kindle Publishing program. The book broke into several lists at its peak, including…

  • Top 5 on free Science Fiction
  • Top 2 on SciFi Adventure
  • Top 9 on free Fantasy
  • Top 5 on Contemporary Fantasy
  • #141 Overall in the total free Kindle store

    I have to say, it was a blast watching it ride up through the ranks, and I will confess to checking the sales ranks a little too often, driving my family nuts with number updates, and likely oversharing on Facebook, too. Sorry about that, guys.

    But it was a lot of fun.

    Thanks to everyone who helped, through passing the word or forwarding or sharing a link--I think it really made a difference. I ran a small plug on, too, which helped get things running as well. Once the book started hitting Amazon's lists, I believe that drove a lot of sales too; sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. More external promotion, through other free ebook sites, may have helped too--I'll be trying those next time.

    Now, will the publicity translate into more sales once the free promotion ends? That's really the big question, and writers I've read elsewhere have reported both positive and not-so-positive results. I'll be sure to update the blog with details.

    If you downloaded the book, don't forget to review it on Amazon for a chance at a Kindle Fire at the end of the month. With only five reviews in so far, you've got a great shot.

    BTW, if you're a new reader of the blog and found the site after reading the book, be sure to drop me a note via the address in the blog profile. I'd love to hear from you.

  • Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Beasts is now out in the wild

    Book update: Beasts of the Walking City is now available @ Amazon, and is selling about 10 books a day now--not bad for the first couple of days, with no real publicity. Thanks, everyone, for the support!

    Going forward, the challenge is to draw enough attention to the book so Amazon starts selling it to other readers. The best way to do this is through Customer Reviews on Amazon (which is where I can use your help, below), and get a lot of purchases or free downloads (oh, yeah--you can help here too if you'd like).

    Interested in helping out?

  • If you're interested in a free review copy of the book, just drop me a note and I'll send you one. The only request here is that you leave a review on Amazon (and Goodreads, if you have an account there). The book is available in a format you can read on your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or desktop machine with a free Kindle app. I can also send review copies in other formats--just let me know what works for you.

  • On August 11th & 12th, the book will be available for free on Amazon. Please feel invited to download a free copy, and to leave a review. If you can, please also pass the word to anyone else you know who might be interested. I'm getting word out now to other sites that promote free Kindle books, in hope they may pick up Beasts next weekend, too.

  • If you want to buy a copy now, that's great too--every sale helps bring the book to Amazon's attention, and will help them sell it to others who like stuff that's similar to you as a reader. All my proceeds this month are going to Habitat for Humanity. You can also borrow the book for free through Amazon's Kindle Lending program, if you'd like.

    Remember, at the end of the month I'll choose one reviewer at random to receive a free Kindle Fire, on me. (Or you can choose to donate the $199 to Habitat for Humanity, along with the rest of the proceeds.) I'll also be publishing all the results of my promotion efforts online for other writers to read.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks a ton for all of your help in launching this!

  • Fireball in the morning