Ygerna is done! (Almost)

I finally finished the “fill in the blanks” draft of Ygerna, my prequel novel for The Pendragon Chronicles! It took me a lot longer than I expected, since I apparently left more blanks than I had thought. :/ The last draft had about 85,000 words; this one has 117,000. I have created another monster …

Anyway, I was looking at the two versions of the cover I have from my cover artist, and I’m wondering now which one I should go with:

What do you guys think?

I already have several beta readers lined up, but if anyone else is interested, let me know in the comments. I won’t be sending Ygerna out right away. I want to let this draft sit for a couple of days and then do a complete read-through in hard copy. Here’s the book description:

Uthyr destroyed her life. Now she wants revenge.

When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.

Next: finish the “fill in the blank” drafts of the other two books in The Glassmakers Trilogy. I’m trying to make this year the “Year of Completion” — as opposed to my usual, starting so many new projects I never get any of them done. 🙂

Amazon Has A Fake Book Problem

Despite all the things real authors have to put up with from Ama, they still haven’t solved the problem of scam authors out to get page clicks. Sigh.

David Gaughran

Fake books – powered by clickfarms – are gatecrashing Amazon’s charts. And despite being aware of the issue for well over a year, Amazon has failed to resolve it.

If you look at the Kindle Store Best Seller charts right now, and click over to Free Books, you will see that the Top 20 currently has five suspicious-looking titles.

None of them have reviews. All were published in the last week. They have no Also Boughts – meaning they have had very few sales. Each of these titles are around 2,500 pages long, seem to have duplicated content, and are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

What is going on here?

For over fifteen months now, scammers have been raiding the Kindle Unlimited pot using a well-worn trick. They usually pilfer the content first of all – often by stealing an author’s original work and running it through a synonymizer – and…

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An Initial Attempt at Rebranding: A New Cover for Yseult

As much as I like the cover I already have for Yseult, the conversion rate for my ads is going from quite respectable to abysmal. Not completely understandable, since I haven’t changed the book description or cover for a long time, but given how many clicks I’ve been getting recently without sales, I decided it was time to experiment again. So without further ado, here is the first cover experiment for Yseult:

Yseult

The idea for this cover is that it maybe / hopefully fits the epic fantasy conventions better, which often have one decisive image rather than an illustration, like the original cover had. The other consideration is that the first cover might be too romantic in tone to draw the right readers. While Yseult is based on a tragic love story, there is a lot of political intrigue and loads of battles. A bad-ass sword just might be the better image for that than a gal and a moon, even if there is a sword on that cover too. But most people don’t notice it until I point it out to them.

Anyway, wish me luck. This may not be the first, since I’m determined to work on this until I get a better conversion rate for my ads. 🙂

Please Don’t Buy My Book

David Gaughran is back, with an interesting case study on also-boughts.

David Gaughran

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution.

Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood.

They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers.

The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide who to recommend books to – because Amazon is always seeking to show readers the books they are most likely to purchase.

For this reason, it’s important to monitor your…

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Author Spotlight: Ruth Nestvold

Author K.J. Garnet

Welcome to the second feature on other independent authors. We’ll throw a bit of a spotlight on how they think and create their fantastic works.

Author Ruth Nestvold

We met Ruth Nestvold through the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (more commonly known to members as the Oh-Dub-Dub) (and yes, there are a lot of OWW alumni who are fantastic writers). From her website’s biography, “She has sold stories to numerous markets, including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, and several anthologies. Her novella “Looking Through Lace” made the short list for the Tiptree award and was nominated for the Sturgeon award.

In 2007, the Italian translation won the “Premio Italia” for best international SF novel. Her “Big Fat Arthurian Fantasy” Flamme und Harfe (“Flame and Harp”) appeared with Random House Germany in 2009, and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. The English…

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Testing new Covers for Chameleon in a Mirror

Since I’ve recently had rather disappointing click-through rates for Chameleon in a Mirror, I decided to try testing some cover designers through Fiverr, just for fun. I wrote about the option in my book Starting Out as an Indie Author, but I had never used it myself. There’s a saying here in Germany, “Probieren geht über studieren.” (Trying is better than studying.) So here I am trying! Here are the cover designs I got from my first Fiverr foray into covers:

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

CIAM cover

For the sake of comparison, here’s the present cover:

And here’s the very first attempt:

What do you guys think? I have to admit, I had the feeling the new covers stood out better in thumbnail for sure, but I’d love a bit more feedback before I finalize. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

Hugo Nominees 2017

With a couple of notable exceptions (which I will not name for fear of being banned *g*), it looks like the Hugos have largely recovered from being hijacked for a couple of years by a bunch of lunatic dinosaurs:

http://www.tor.com/2017/04/04/2017-hugo-award-finalists-announced/

Yay! What a relief! What I find particularly interesting, however, is how completely Tor.com is dominating the ballot for short forms this year. The usual suspects (Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog) are absent entirely. I’m suspecting it has to do with fewer and fewer people subscribing to and reading paper magazines these days.

Why successful writers need to do more than write

I stumbled across this, and since it’s right up my alley, I had to share. 🙂

Belinda Williams

Whether you’re a writer or not, you’ve probably come across one of these memes:

What writers do

While you chuckle, there is an element of truth to some of these. And that truth is:

Writing is about a hell of a lot more than just writing.

When I started writing, I had a vague idea of what I was getting myself in for. With the release of my latest contemporary romance, The Pitch, later this month, I’ve got a much clearer idea. It’s the third book I’ve released (with two more due for release late this year and next).

A writing job description (Or, if only someone had told me all this earlier . . .)

Here’s all those things I’ve discovered are part of the job description for ‘writing’ but are not actually writing:

  • Editing. That’s writing, you say! Huh. To a writer, editing is not writing. Editing is the…

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The Azure Window on Gozo is gone

I was on Gozo over a decade ago with my daughter, so we were fortunate to see the Azure Window before it collapsed.

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta

Now it has been destroyed by a storm. More pictures and links here:

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/08/maltas-famous-azure-window-rock-arch-collapses-photographers-mourn/

So sad. 😦

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