Tag Archives: Dragon Time

Last chance (for the foreseeable future) to get Dragon Time for free!

I’m slowly but surely taking my short story collections out of KDP Select, and this time it’s Dragon Time. But you have a few days to get it free, if you are so inclined. 🙂

Here the description:

A collection of four previously published fantasy tales by Ruth Nestvold: “Dragon Time,” “Wooing Ai Kyarem,” “To Act the Witch,” and “Princes and Priscilla.”

Dragon Time: In Unterdrachenberg, time has stopped. After the death of his queen, the dragon king is mad with grief. Only a human woman can enter the dragon’s lair to fix time — a magic that is forbidden to women. Katja is the grand-daughter of a clockmaker, and she has watched her grandfather work with time for many years. But can she fix it on her own? More importantly, is she brave enough to try?

Wooing Ai Kyarem: Ai Kyarem calls no man lord. But what if the powerful Kubai forces her to choose?

To Act the Witch: Brilliana is a famous actress for the Duke’s Theatre, yes — but she is also a Witch. And it is up to her to save the Age of Magic.

Princes and Priscilla: As princess and heir to the kingdom, Priscilla really should marry a prince and ensure the succession. Unfortunately, Priscilla has other ideas.

Praise for “Dragon Time”:

“‘Dragon Time’ is a beautifully told tale. It’s easy to feel empathy for Katja; she has just enough flaws that we can love her, and not so many that we lose respect for her. The play of plot and emotion was especially lovely; the ending satisfies completely, and the love in the story positively shines. While the story has ancient treaties, magician-clockmakers, and, of course, dragons—everything needed for a good fantasy story—it’s the love that stands out the most. It’s a story I’ll go back to time and time again—pun intended.”

– Keesa Renee DuPre at Tangent Online

***

When I first started moving from traditional to indie in 2012, short story collections of my previously published fiction could actually make me money. Now, that is no longer the case, on Amazon at least. Short stories, either as singles or collections, don’t even work as loss leaders to get readers interested in my longer works. But on Draft2Digital, I still sell shorter works. As a result, I’ve decided to quit trying to sell anything under novella length through KDP Select for now.

Anyway, Dragon Time will be free until Dec. 14. Enjoy!

E-book promotions: Countdown – meh. Permafree – yay! (kinda)

Way back in the beginning of November, I wrote about the new Kindle Countdown Deals that Amazon had come up with to try to make KDP Select more attractive to writers again. I signed up for a promotion with my collection of short stories, Dragon Time, and promised to write about the results after it was over.

Well, Nanowrimo happened, and then Christmas happened, and now we have 2014, and I still haven’t posted about my results.

There’s one good thing as a result of that, however, and that is that I have some data now to compare, since my Arthurian short story, Gawain and Ragnell, went free at almost the same time that Dragon Time was available as a Countdown Deal.

My experience of the Countdown Deal is that it’s worth next to nothing unless you have some big promotion going on to push it. This, of course, is true for a limited-time free promotion as well, and the Countdown Deal has the advantage that you are sill making money on your book, AND at better royalty rates. So if you want to shell out the big bucks for an ad with BookBub or one of the few other places that are still effective for moving books, you could earn back the expense for the ad much quicker with a Countdown Deal. If you sell next to no books on the other platforms, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc., and you’re willing to push the promo with paid advertising, the Countdown Deal might be an argument to return to Select. But I suspect only under those circumstances. Free promos aren’t worth much any more either these days.

For Dragon Time, I only announced the promo here and on my Facebook page, and tweeted it a couple of times. I sold one copy of the story collection.

At the time the Countdown Deal started and Gawain and Ragnell went permafree, the sales of my ebooks had come to a complete standstill. I hadn’t done any promotion for my books since May 2013, and every month thereafter my sales dropped more. The first week in November, I’d sold two books total across all my titles. And it ended up being my single worst month ever for ebook sales. (It didn’t help that some apparent “fan” went through my books, buying them and then returning them three days later. When you’re selling so few books, that kind of behavior becomes pretty obvious.)

But once Gawain and Ragnell was finally price-matched to free, an interesting thing started happening. The first few days, it didn’t have that many downloads. I did exactly the same promotion for it that I did for the Countdown Deal for Dragon Time, announced it here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. At first it looked to me like permafree was going to be the same washout as the Countdown Deal. But then somehow it started gaining traction, and by the end of the month, 342 people had downloaded the story. In December, it was a lot less, but still another 171. And that’s enough to keep Gawain and Ragnell in a couple of top 100 lists. Here’s where it is right now:

Download it! It's free!

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,686 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#11 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Myths & Legends
#48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

This is what’s so good about permafree — it gets one of your books where people can see it. And the downloads are cumulative, so I don’t lose that ranking. Yes, this is a lot lower than the story was the end of November, but it is still in those crucial top 100 lists.

November ended up being my worst month for sales ever. But in December that trend actually turned around. And not only did I sell more books, I sold more of the 2.99+ books like Yseult (which is where the money is, with the 70% royalties) than the cheaper ones. This month so far, I’ve been selling about a book a day, all at 2.99+. That’s still not very much, I know, especially not after those amazing stretches I’ve had when I sold nearly ten books a day.

But right now I’m just glad the downward spiral has been reversed. 🙂 And I’m determined to get a few more permafree books out there, once I’ve caught up a bit on the big translation job.

So anyway: download Gawain and Ragnell! It’s free, and you’d be doing me a big favor! *g*

Related posts:

“Amazon trying to re-Kindle interest in KDP Select: The new ‘Countdown Deals'”

“Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select”

“Dragon Time” live as Countdown Deal, and “Gawain and Ragnell” finally free!

I posted yesterday about the new KDP Select “Countdown Deals” and my decision to give it a whirl with my YA short story collection, Dragon Time. It took a while, but the sale is now live:

Also, I am very happy to announce that today Amazon finally price-matched Gawain and Ragnell, and it is now permafree. Download! Tell your friends! Send links to everyone who enjoys Arthurian fiction! *g*

I want to thank everyone who tattled on me and helped to make this novelette free. Cross your fingers for me that it helps with sales of the other Pendragon Chronicles books. 🙂

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and another free ebook!

For Christmas, I’m giving away my novel Shadow of Stone. It was featured today on Michael Gallagher’s “Free Kindle Books and Tips” and it’s getting off to a pretty good start. If you miss it today, it will also be free tomorrow.

The holiday giveaways continue tomorrow with my short story collection Dragon Time, which will be free Dec. 26-27.

I got something of a Christmas present myself yesterday, a new review of Yseult on Amazon. It was extremely detailed and well-founded, went into the Arthurian retelling in detail, and it compared my writing to Diana Paxson. What a kick! I absolutely loved The White Raven, which I only read after starting my own version of the legend. I have to admit, I was very relieved that our retellings of Tristan and Iseult were quite different — I could continue writing my book in good conscience. 🙂

Wishing everyone an excellent holiday season!

Could group promos be the wave of the future for indies?

As folks who occasionally stop by this blog may have noticed, I participated in a group promo for fantasy ebooks last week, Summer Solstice Free Fantasy. 23 authors who hang out on the Kindle Boards got together and offered a total of 29 books for free on June 20-21.

Chris Tarwater, husband and promotions manager for his wife Tristan Tarwater, had the idea for the promo and did most of the organization, including putting together the site and having a banner made. For those of us interested in participating, there were a few requirements:

– The book or books to be in the promotion had to be Fantasy
– Books with no ratings were fine
– If the book did have ratings, it had to be at least 4 star avg.
– Book(s) had to be available for free on June 20-21

Chris’s plan for the group promo included:

– Group advertising
– Cross promotion on Facebook, Twitter, blogs
– Submit to the usual suspects (a lot of the “usual suspects” can be found in my post on Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select)

Chris submitted the group promo as a whole to the various sites that list freebies, while each of us participating submitted our books individually. He also organized ads for the promo, which we contributed to as a group, making the cost much more manageable. It was actually the first time I’ve paid for advertising for my ebooks. 🙂

But what gives a group promo like this a dynamic that goes far beyond a little extra advertising is all the people participating. There were a number of things that helped:

– We created an Amazon list with all of the books free on Amazon (some of the books were only free on Smashwords), and about a dozen of us added a free promo blurb to the beginning of our book descriptions shortly before the promo went live. That way, anyone who nabbed one of my books, frex, via an individual listing, would be made aware of the group promo and perhaps be inclined to call up the list and see who else was participating. In this way, when any of us got picked up by POI, ENT, or Digital Book Today, it might also result in extra downloads for those who hadn’t made those lists.

– Those of us with special connections or strategies promoted the group as a whole rather than just our own individual books — which can also be a much bigger draw. For my own part, my German connections resulted in a noticeable number of hits to the group page. I had recently been contacted by Daniela from the German reader site “Verlorene Werke” about a guest blog (my novel Yseult originally appeared in German translation as Flamme und Harfe, so I have a few readers in Germany). When I sent her the article, I also told her about the group promotion, and she posted about it here.

– While not all of us were actively promoting, there were enough people with different friends / followers / subscribers / whatever who were passing the word along through various channels that we as a group were able to reach a much wider audience than we would have as individuals.

During the promo, I gave away a total of over 15,000 books on Amazon.com, plus a few here and there on other Amazon sites. That was over four books, two of which were free three days and two for only two. (Some of us extended the promotion for an extra day to try and take additional advantage of our run.)

Since the (extended) promo ended on June 22, I’ve sold 105 ebooks and had 6 borrows. (My total for the month is 222 / 25.) Yseult and Shadow of Stone are both on the third page in the popularity rankings for historical fantasy. While this still doesn’t come near the results of my very first ever freebie promo back in January, it’s the best I’ve done since Amazon changed their algorithms in March. May was a total washout for me, so I am very happy with the results and will definitely participate in (and maybe even organize!) group promos in the future.

Three free ebooks and “The Magician of Words”

The free ebook promotion I have going right now has been getting some nice attention from other blog sites. The latest is a listing on Free Kindle Books and Tips for Looking Through Lace. Yesterday, all three freebies (Looking Through Lace, Dragon Time and Other Stories, and The Future, Imperfect) were listed on SF Signal and Upcoming4.Me. Here’s hoping that will up my numbers enough to help Shadow of Stone when I publish it!

I also learned the publication date for my flash fiction piece “The Magician of Words.” It will be sent to Daily Science Fiction subscribers on June 14. A week after that, it will appear on the DSF site.

Shadow of Stone – editing process almost complete

Today, I finished the final editing pass on Shadow of Stone and gave it to my hubbie for a last spot check. I asked him to read the prologue and first chapter, as well as a couple of random chapters throughout the book, just to make sure we’ve done everything we can to make the book as error-free as possible. That includes the following:

– Putting various chapters and the synopsis through a couple of different workshops
– About 10 beta readers after the first draft was complete
– Letting the thing sit for half-a-year before tackling it again
– Another complete revision pass
– Hiring a copy editor
– One final editing pass after getting the manuscript back from the editor, both to address the things she found and to do my darnedest to make sure as few mistakes as possible slipped through.

I’m sure someone will still find something, but at least I can in good conscience say I did my best.

After handing off the manuscript, I enlisted my daughter to help me update the map from Yseult. The world is, of course, the same, but I needed to add some of the more important locations that only play a role in Shadow of Stone and thus were not included on the map for Yseult. That is nearly done now. Then once I get the manuscript back, I will start on the formatting. If I don’t meet with any major glitches, I will hopefully have the book done on the target release date of June 5. Yeah! Originally, I’d been intending to be finished with Chameleon in a Mirror by the end of this month, but I spent a lot more time on the final editing pass than I’d intended. It will be good to get back to actual writing again!

A reminder: my short story collection The Future, Imperfect is FREE through June 5, a little promotional freebie before I release Shadow of Stone. Tomorrow, Looking Through Lace and Dragon Time also go free. I got some wonderful promotion for my freebie splurge from SF Signal, and now The Future, Imperfect is up to #40 in Science Fiction on the Kindle free bestseller list. Thanks again, John!

I hope all who read this have a happy and productive week. 🙂

Cracking 1,000 ebooks sales (and other good news)

Sometime this week, I seem to have cracked the magic number of 1,000 ebook sales. We will see if this gets me into more “also bought” lists or other kinds of nifty attention that will help my visibility! It would be lovely to just lean back and get more writing done, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Besides, those sales are across all my titles, and I’m not sure if the good stuff I’ve heard about kicks in for total sales, or only if a single title passes the 1,000 mark. If it’s single titles, I still have a way to go. My best seller (not to be confused with bestseller!), Yseult, is at just over 450 sales now. I’m also not sure how borrows factor in. I’ve had a little under 200 borrows (over all my titles) as well.

But however these sales get counted on Amazon, and despite the fact that the summer slump is hitting me hard, I think I can still say I’m off to a good start on this new indie venture. 🙂

Unfortunately, I still don’t have Shadow of Stone ready for publication. On this final editing pass, I’m up to chapter 25, so that should be only another day or two. Then I need to update the map for this book and do the formatting. I’m now shooting for a publication date of June 5.

To hopefully coincide with the release of the next book, I have three free promotions scheduled for next week:

The Future, Imperfect, free June 2-5
Looking Through Lace, free June 4-5
Dragon Time, free June 4

I got some nice feedback yesterday that I want to pass along. Looking Through Lace got a lovely review that you can read here. And Webbiegrrl based a great blog post about indie promotion on my post about going free with KDP Select.

I wish everyone else encouraging developments in their writing!

Another successful giveaway: “Dragon Time” now #2 in historical fantasy!

Not only is Dragon Time and Other Stories #2 in historical fantasy, it is also #9 in fantasy overall in the Free Kindle Store, which I’m even happier about:

Dragon Time #9

The success of Dragon Time, however, is food for thought in the marketing department. When If Tears Were Wishes went free, I referred to my post “Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select” and did pretty much everything I recommend there. When Dragon Time went free yesterday, I announced it in a couple of places, but then we took advantage of the amazing weather, went out and bought tomato plants, and planted them in our garden. After all the garden work, naturally a visit to the beer garden was in order. So I did very little promotion compared to If Tears Were Wishes.

And when I checked today, I had already given away over ten times as many copies of Dragon Time as I did of Wishes in two whole days.

I think there are several things things responsible for this. For one, Wishes only has two reviews, one three-star and one four-star, making its average under four stars. Dragon Time only has three reviews, but one of those is a five star review.

But I suspect that the big difference is that Dragon Time was featured in Ereader News Today. Every time one of my ebook promos really took off (by that I mean thousands of giveaways), the book was featured either in Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink, apparently the two main sources for people looking for free ereads.

What does that mean for my marketing efforts? I fear it means I have to rely more on luck — whether I get mentioned by any of the big ebook recommendation sites. So sending announcements ahead of time seems to be the most important aspect of freebie promotion. I will of course still announce the books while they’re free, but I’ll scale back how much time I spend on it. The other thing I’m going to do (when I have time) is unpublish the Wishes collection and make new collections with those stories. They were originally published in much better paying markets than the stories in Dragon Time and got much better press, so it’s quite an interesting phenomenon. They deserve another chance. 🙂

I you don’t have Dragon Time yet, please get yourself a copy! And pass the word along. Maybe it can still nab a #1 slot. *g*

A visit, a castle, a review, an Italian greeting, and more freebies

After a relatively spontaneous visit to Stuttgart (a long weekend added to a business trip), my brother left early this morning for Frankfurt, then Heathrow (good luck), then Seattle. We had a wonderful time, and he is now the first of my immediate family to meet my granddaughter Mira — one of the disadvantages of relocating to another continent. But the girls really liked him: Lisa was quite disappointed that he was already gone when they came by today for my birthday dinner, and Mira hopped around on the bed that they use when they spend the night and said, “David schläft hier.” (David sleeps here.)

But I promised to share some pics of our trip to Hohenzollern Castle, so here goes:

On our way back from Hohenzollern, we also visited Tübingen. Here’s the standard postcard shot:

Tübingen

It was a great, whirlwind visit, but needless to say, writing goals were largely on hold for the duration. I only made it through a couple more chapters on the manuscript of Shadow of Stone that I got back from my editor, but I wasn’t expecting much more, so I’m not disappointed. One must make time for family, especially if you only see them once a year — or less.

But I had a nice surprise in the writing realm today, a new review of my collection Never Ever After:

Do you remember being read fairy tales when you were a child? The monsters were always defeated, the beautiful lady was always rescued by Prince Charming, and everyone lived happily ever after. Or did they? What happened after the end of the stories that we read? Did everyone really live happily ever after?

… These stories were a joy to read. The novella is short, so it only took a few hours to read through them. If you are a fan of fairy tales, you would love these stories written from a unique perspective.

Another lovely surprise for the day was the birthday greeting from the Italian reviewer of Yseult, Valentina Coluccelli: “Auguri di cuore a una delle mie autrici preferite! Un abbraccio.” Babelfish translated it thus: “Auguries of heart to one of my preferred authors! An embrace.” Valentina corrected the translation to make it a bit more colloquial: “Greetings from the heart to one of my favorite authors! A hug” *g*

In the middle of all of this, I have another couple of freebies going on, to use up free days: If Tears Were Wishes And Other Stories is free today and tomorrow, May 9-10. Tomorrow, May 10, my collection Dragon Time And Other Stories goes free for two days (May 10-11). If you feel so inclined, please pass the word along! This will be the last chance to get If Tears Were Wishes free, since I’m taking it out of KDP Select next week.

I still have the guest lecture to put together, but I’m hoping that in the next few days I can get back to fiction writing again on a regular basis.

If nothing else, life is a challenge, and that keeps it interesting, right? 🙂