Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Book Release: Infinity (Chronos Ring #2) is Now Available!

I am happy to report that Infinity (Chronos Ring #2) is now available!  As the name implies, this is the second book in the series and I hope readers will enjoy it.

Needless to say, I am having a great time writing the series. And, although I can't take credit for it, I really like the cover for this second book.

(Of course, I like the cover for the first book as well - no favorites here!)

And now, with the second book all wrapped up, it's on to book  number three.  (And after that, #4, 5, 6 and so on.) I guess that's the thing with this writing gig: the minute you finish one project, there's always another one waiting in the wings.

But in my opinion (and for someone in this line of work) it's not a bad problem to have.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Infinity (Chronos Ring #2) Cover Reveal

Okay, so I recently finished the second book in the Chronos Ring series and look forward to publishing it - hopefully around mid-month. In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to share the cover that I had made for the second book:

Needless to say, I'm having fun writing this series. I'm also embracing the opportunity to put my work out there for readers to (hopefully) enjoy.  Now, of course,it's on to Book 3 in the series (although I'll probably finish The Grayven first).

Friday, August 26, 2016

Excerpt From "Infinity (Chronos Ring #2)"

I've been working like a madman on the second book in the Chronos Ring series, and I'm happy to report that it is almost ready for prime time. For now, though, I thought I'd simply post an excerpt from the book, which I hope readers will enjoy:


Despite his explanation, Matreen just continued to look at him like he was a useless sack of rotten potatoes that she was being asked to eat.

“I find it hard to believe my father thinks you will fulfill this prophecy,” she finally said.

“Well, I’m certainly not laying claim to it, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Lotus said. “Maybe your father sees something that neither of us do.”

“I know what I saw – you almost drowning in the river, almost getting washed away, and almost getting captured by Sentinels. An auspicious start for a prophesied deliverer.”

“Hold on,” Lotus said, a little miffed. “I just said that–”

Suddenly alert, Matreen made a curt gesture with her hand, cutting him off in mid-sentence as she ducked down low. Lotus followed her example. He still hadn’t really heard or seen anything that would make him wary, but he did feel a certain amount of tension building in the air.

After tapping his shoulder to get his attention, Matreen pointed. There, about a hundred yards away, he spied something moving through the trees. After a moment, he realized what it was: an airboat, similar to the one he had seen on the river. As he watched, he noticed that it was headed in their direction, with a Sentinel guard and an Enforcer on board.

Matreen grabbed his hand and, staying low, headed to a nearby tree that was exceptionally large – maybe eight feet in diameter at the base. Once there, they hunkered down, trying to stay out of sight. Releasing his hand, Matreen let out a soft sigh of relief.

After a few seconds, she inched towards the side of the tree and ventured a glance around it. Almost immediately, Lotus saw her tense up and understood what she must be seeing.

She slid back into hiding and whispered, “It’s headed this way.”

Instinctively, Lotus did a quick assessment and realized that they were at a distinct disadvantage. They had no weapons or armor, and thus lacked any offensive or defensive capability. Their best option seemed to be staying hidden.

Matreen evidently came to the same conclusion, because – after peeking around the tree once again, she began backing up slowly and gesturing for Lotus to do the same. As the front of the airboat became visible to them, they covertly crept backwards, using the radial shape of the bole of the tree to stay out of sight.

Their plan seemed to work. As the airboat went past their hiding spot, Lotus leaned around Matreen and saw the guard on board with his back to them, standing alone in the interior of the vehicle. The man didn’t seem to have noticed them, which should have been cause for celebration. Instead, something about the situation nagged at Lotus’ brain for a few seconds, and then it came to him like a bolt from the blue.

Alone?! Lotus shouted to himself. Where was the–

Klaxons going off in his brain, Lotus spun to his rear defensively without finishing his train of thought – only to find himself immediately snatched off the ground and then slammed into the tree that had been their hiding place hard enough to knock bark off the thing.

As he slid to the ground, everything went dark.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Kindle Countdown Deal Experience

I mentioned in my previous blog post how necessary marketing is to having a successful career as an indie writer/publisher.  (At least it's a requirement for most of us. I do recognize that there are a few outliers who will achieve success without it.) That being the case, I thought I'd try my hand at offering a Kindle Countdown Deal.

A Kindle Countdown Deal refers to the ability to offer your book for sale on Amazon at a discounted price for a limited time. The way it typically works is that you might discount your book from, say, $3.99 to 99 cents.  From there, the price will move up incrementally - for instance, from $.99 to $1.99 to $2.99 - over a period of several days until it's back at full price.  (While it's discounted, a clock on the book's product page counts down the amount of time left until the next jump in price.)

The theory behind a Countdown Deal is, of course, that your book is on sale for a limited time, so hopefully that will spur readers to purchase it. (On a side note, you do have to be in KDP Select in order to run a Kindle Countdown Deal, and Select requires that your book be available only on Amazon.) Hoping to juice sales a little, I decided to run a Countdown Deal on my novel EON to see what would happen.

My KCD began on July 1 and will run through tomorrow (July 8).  Thus far, I'm really pleased. EON had its highest number of 1-day sales (23) during the countdown and also picked up a few more nice reviews.  In all honesty, however, some sales were undoubtedly the result of me also doing a few promos during the countdown. (Remember, you have to market/promote.) Page reads did not increase in numbers that I would consider to be proportionate with sales, but I'm thinking - hoping, really - that a lot of people may have snagged it via Kindle Unlimited and simply haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

The thing that really got me excited, however, was the dramatic increase that I had in my mail list.  Frankly speaking, it's still a very small list, but it's grown exponentially during the course of the countdown. That alone has pretty much made the countdown a success in my book.

In short, I believe that the Kindle Countdown Deal has a place in my marketing strategy.  I think it's important, however, to not simply focus on the direct return on investment, but also the long-term effect, like readers enjoying your work and expressing their interest in reading more of it (such as by subscribing to your mail list).  I think having a long-term vision and outlook is important and will definitely lend itself to success.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Catch-22 of Book Promotion

So I'm little more than two weeks into this self-publishing venture, and EON is making what I would describe as decent progress.  It's not burning up the charts, but it's performing respectably in my opinion - despite seesawing wildly in the rankings.  It actually broke into the TOP 100 in one of its genres earlier today, but has since slid back.  At present, it ranks as follows:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,657 Paid in Kindle Store
#107 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Metaphysical & Visionary
#178 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
#179 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Exploration

As always, the problem for new authors - unless you already have a platform of some sort and followers - is marketing/promotion.  That is, getting eyeballs on your book.  With that in mind, most new authors will go to one of the zillions of book promotion sites and try to schedule a promotion. Basically, you pay a site that [allegedly] has a ton of interested readers on a list somewhere a certain amount of money, and they will include your book in communications that they regularly send to the aforementioned readers. 

Sounds simple enough, right? The market system at work: you have a product or service that I want, so I will pay you for it.  However, in this instance, money alone may not be enough to get your book included in the marketing of many book promotion sites.  (How dare you even suggest such a thing, you Philistine!) No, in many cases, the cash doesn't matter (or matter as much). Your novel has to be shown to meet the lofty standards of the site in question. And how is that evidenced?  By reviews, of course.  But the problem is that, as a new author with a new book, you don't have any reviews.

The situation reminds me a story I once heard about Hollywood: if you worked in certains trades or crafts (eg, carpenter, makeup artist, etc.), you had to be in the union in order to work on a movie set or TV show.  However, in order to joint the union, you first had to be employed on a film or a television series.  It was a catch-22.

Book promotion is in that same sort of snake-eating-its-tail cyclicality: you need reviews in order for sites to be willing to promote your work.  (Sometimes 5, often 10, and occasionally as many as 20, but reviews you must have.) But to get reviews, you generally need sales, and sales in turn often come from marketing.  In order to market, however, you need reviews...

That said, there are some book marketing sites that don't require reviews, and there are several that will make exceptions for new releases. There are also a number of them that will allow you to submit to have your book marketed for free. However, those site are the exceptions in and of themselves.

Still, it's not all bad news in regards to my specific situation, either.  I do have one review for my book, and I've had a number of people sign up for my newsletter, which seems to indicate that they like my writing.  And the book hasn't even been out a month yet.  With any luck, I will continue to make steady sales while writing the next book, and hopefully when it gets released it will lift sales for the first book in the series.  (As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.) But to make that happen I have to get back to the business of writing...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Excerpt From EON (Chronos Ring #1)

Well, Earl's first book has been out about a week now.  I'd like to think that it's performing respectably: got about a dozen sales, 6000 page reads. It's not knocking anybody out of first place at the moment, but - for an indie author that no one's ever heard of - I think it's doing fine. It hasn't gotten any reviews yet, but I have had some people sign up for my mail list (which I assume means that they liked the book).

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share an excerpt from the book, so I've posted a small passage from it below.  Enjoy!

“How much?” said a gravelly voice next to Lotus. Glancing to where it came from, he saw a tall, thin man with an oversized, bulbous head. The fellow had rough-looking skin that was purple-brown in color, and elongated arms that went down to his knees. Noting suction cups on the man’s hands, Lotus recognized him as an octo hominid — a genetically engineered person made by splicing human DNA with that of an octopus.

“How much?” the octo asked again.

“I’m not interested,” Lotus replied.

“How much for woman?” the octo clarified testily, holding up cash in its suckered fist and nodding towards Monica (who looked horrified at what was being suggested).

“She’s not interested either,” Lotus said flatly, trying to inconspicuously slide into a fighting stance. Octos were notably fast and notoriously strong, but had extremely poor vision — a fact he’d use to his advantage if this situation escalated (as it seemed on the verge of doing).

“This is Maxima’s,” the man declared fervently. “All is for sale.”

“Not tonight, friend,” Lotus stated. “Move along.”

Rather than heed that advice, the octo flung the money it held in Lotus’ face, shouting, “You take cash! I take girl!”

The man moved deliberately towards Monica, apparently considering the issue settled. Lotus, placing a firm hand on the fellow’s shoulder, spun him around and then threw a punch at the man’s face. Faster than seemed possible, the man’s hand came up, catching Lotus’ fist before the blow could land.

Friday, May 20, 2016

EON (Chronos Ring #1) Is Now Available!

My novel Eon (Chronos Ring #1) is now available on Amazon.  It's a scifi novel (as if the cover wasn't a dead giveaway) and hopefully will be construed as entertaining.

This one was a lot of fun to write, and I enjoyed hanging out with these characters.  With any luck, readers will feel the same way.

Needless to say, writing a book is extremely challenging.  People always seem to have this impression that it's fairly easy - you just come up with an idea and write it down - but that's not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to putting a novel together.  

(Plus, that's just accounting for what you, as the writer, have to do. That  doesn't even include proofreading, copyediting, searching for that elusive "perfect" cover, writing a world-class blurb that's going to immediately hook potential readers, and so on.)

Now, of course, I've got the monumental task of finishing work on the sequel (not to mention the other items on my recently-created progress bar).   However, it's a challenge I'm looking forward to, and with any luck there will be readers coming along for the ride.