Tag Archives: Dragon Time

Working on a science fiction collection, and an experiment

In my continuing attempt to make my previously published fiction available in ebook form, I am now working on a collection of some of my near future science fiction stories. My daughter once again helped me out with a cover, and I would love some feedback if you have the time!

Future Imperfect

This one has taken me a bit longer, since I want to get enough stories into the collection that I will feel justified in charging 2.99 (and getting 70% royalties rather than only 35%). For the first time, I will also be including a previously unpublished story. The novelette is set in the same world as the other stories, so I’m pulling it from the submission circus and adding it to the collection. Might not pay off, but thematically it belongs with the others, and I have plenty more to submit, after all — especially if I spend some time polishing half-a-dozen pieces of fiction that have yet to make their way out into the market.

That, of course, is one of my on-going goals, which I keep shoving to the back burner while I play epublisher. Another thing I really need to do is update the publications on this blog and on my web page. I just joined Amazon Associates, and that could give me a few more pennies here or there if I make sales directly from my links. But the first thing on my list is still to get the new collection finished and up.

I did a little experiment with KDP Select this week: I didn’t a 24-hour unannounced freebie of Dragon Time, no promotion, nothing. I got a total of 37 downloads — compared to 2000 the first day the first time it went free. Of course, I don’t have any exact comparison, since so many other factors play a role, but that seems pretty indicative to me that promoting helps.

Yseult continues to sell steadily, a couple of copies a day. Nothing earth-shattering, but I’m still pretty pleased, since I’m only a newbie to this epub venture. I also managed to have Amazon change the epic fantasy category to Arthurian fantasy, which means it’s back in a top 100 list (not much competition there *g*). I’m hoping the change will help in the long run, having Yseult listed in a category where people who are actually looking for Arthurian fiction might even find it!

Luck and skill to all. 🙂

Promoting Ebooks with a Free Run through KDP Select

Note, Nov. 2014: Now that I have returned to using free as a strategy for promoting my books, I am updating the list here again. If you notice any links that don’t work or have any suggestions for links to add, please let me know in the comments!

If you’re promoting a 99c sale rather than a free run, you can find my list of sites for that here.

During the month of February 2012, I did four free promotions with KDP Select, and I’ve started to get the hang of it. After the freebies, my ebooks have bounced into the top 100 Paid in their categories. As I write this, Yseult (which was free for 24 hours on Feb. 29) has the following rankings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#59 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

If you check the popularity ranking for Historical Fantasy in ebooks, it’s even #3. 🙂 (And Dragon Time is #8!)

I promised a bunch of people I would write a blog post about what I do leading up to and during a free promotion, so here goes.

There are several folks you might want to contact about your free promotion once you’ve scheduled it. These sites will announce your book either 1) if they think it’s worthy, or 2) if you’ve paid them enough. The sites that don’t charge for announcements usually don’t guarantee being listed. With the paid sites of course you do (but note that not all of them will promote everything).


Indie Book of the Day (No erotica.)

FreeBookSy (Free and paid.)

eBookLister (Note: If you’ve submitted a freebie for the same book before, you get an error message stating that your listing will be corrected.)

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13!

Ask David

Read Free.ly

The eReader Cafe (Free and paid. Book should have at least 3 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)

Choosy Bookworm (Free and paid. Book must be at least 70 pages long & have at least 8 reviews with a 4+ average.)

Free Books (Hands down the easiest place to submit the info for your free promo — only ASIN and dates!)

BookScream (While they’re in beta, all ads on BookScream are free.)

eBooks Habit (Free and paid; for a listing, books must have at least 3 reviews. No erotica.)

Reading Deals (Requires a minimum of 5 reviews & a 4.0 average rating. No graphic sexual content.)

SF Signal Free Fiction Tip Line (For science fiction and fantasy)

Frugal Freebies

Awesomegang (Free and paid.)


New Free Kindle Books


Armadillo EBooks

Bookpraiser (Free and paid. Requires you to like, tweet, subscribe, etc.) Note: The last time I tried to enter a book here, it kept insisting that my book description could be no longer than 500 characters, even though my text editor said it was under the limit. The count it finally accepted was less than 250 characters. Go figure …



(BTW, before booking any paid ads, you might want to check out my post about Alexa rankings for advertising sites.)

Bknights on Fiverr (As the location indicates, promotions here cost $5, plus 50c fee)

Ereader News Today (Prices starting at $30)

EBookDaily – Still in beta, and the price is donate whatever you think is appropriate.

Book Basset ($7.99 per day. Requires at least 10 reviews with a rating of 3.5 or higher.)

ManyBooks.net (Prices starting at $25. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Slots fill up early, so you should probably apply at least 2 weeks in advance, if not more.)

Ignite Your Book (99c for a listing on their page, and another $10 for the complete promo, including tweets and newsletter, which you need to order separately.)

Bookgorilla (Prices starting at $40.)

EBookStage (Must have at least 5 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Promotion packages starting at $12, but can be free with enough “promotion points.”)

Books Butterfly (A number of various pricing options depending on how many readers your ad will reach.)

Sweet Free Books ($5. At least 5 reviews and a 3.5 rating.)

Digital Book Today (Free and paid; books must be at least 100 pages long and have at least 18 reviews with a rating of 4 or higher. No erotica.)

BookRaid – Pricing per click, starting at 5c, with a minimum threshold of $2 — so at less than 40 clicks, the listing is free. Maximum charge $10. For fiction, the book must be at least 120 pages long. It cannot have been promoted in the last 8 weeks.

Good Kindles

Freebookshub.com ($8 donation for a listing)

Kindle Nation Daily (costs lots)

BookBub (Various pricing schemes according to genre and whether the book is free or not. VERY expensive, but most who have used it think it’s worth it.)

Robin Reads (Listings start at $40.)

One Hundred Free Books (Listings start at $75)


Booklover’s Heaven (Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)

Kindle Spotlight Book Promo

Snickslist (Listings start at $1. Note: this can only be done while the book is free!)

xtme:englishbooks (A German site for English ebooks)

During your promo

There are also a number of things you can do during or shortly before your free days to help potential readers find your book:

1. Post it to Addicted to Ebooks (You need to register to be able to post here, and you have to post on a day your book is free.)

2. For erotica, announce it on The Naughty List

3. Announce your freebie on LibraryThing and Goodreads.

4. Blog it, natch.

5. Post about your free book on your other social networking sites (Linked In, Google+, etc.) I try to pace this, since I have the sites that allow it set to automatically post to Twitter.

6. Announce it on the Kindle Boards (Links To Free Books) while it’s free.

7. Post on Facebook pages on your free day(s):

Your Facebook Wall

Free Kindle Books
eReader1 US (Guidelines for posting are here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ereader1-us/book-promotions-including-self-promo-by-authors-and-publishers-and-their-friends/448662358501661)
Amazon Kindle
EBook Korner Kafe (You have to like and share a Focus Post in order to be able to post here.)
Indie Kindle (You have to be a member to post to their promotion page.)

8. Tweet (use hashtags #FreeKindleBook #freekindle #freebook #free #kindlepromo). Don’t forget to thank those who retweet!

9. Send a message to @kindlenews on twitter (over 20,000 followers). If you write in the genre of fantasy and science fiction, send a message to @kindlefantasies (600 followers). Here are few more potential accounts to notify, but be judicious. No one wants to be spamming twitterverse with ads for your book: @DigitalBkToday @Bookyrnextread @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @free_kindle @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @FreeKindleStuff @KindleUpdates @Booksontheknob @Kindle_promo @IndAuthorSucess @CheapKindleDly @KindleDaily (Note: in order for them to retweet, many of these require that you follow them first.)

All the promotion is a lot of work, but it can pay off. Even for someone who is writing in the unsalable genre of Arthurian fiction. 🙂 BTW, I update this list fairly regularly, so if you have a suggestion for a site to add or remove, please let me know in the comments below!

Related posts:

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

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

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

Leap Year Promotion: Yseult free for 24 hours, Feb. 29!

It’s starting to look like I’m addicted to these free promotions, doesn’t it? The truth of the matter is, they’ve been very good for my sales. With the exception of my story collection If Tears Were Wishes, everything I’ve offered for free with KDP Select has come out of the free promotion with a dramatic increase in sales. Five days after the free promotion for Dragon Time it is still in a couple of top 100 lists:

#35 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies
#91 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical

So anyway, if you didn’t get a copy of Yseult during the introductory promotion, here’s your chance to get it now. And please pass the word along! The more people who download and the better rankings it gets, the better it will be for sales when it goes back to paid.

Now, if I can only learn how to create sustained sales without going through this promotion gig every week or two. It’s a lot of work.

That isn’t all I’ve been doing, though. Over on the Codex Writing Workshop, they had a “subber” challenge, and I finally got some stories out into the cold cruel world again. Seven short story submissions in two days. And my “ready to send” list is still way to long. I have to do that more often, challenge or no challenge.

I also have only two more chapters left to go on this final editing pass of Shadow of Stone. I doubt if I’ll be finishing it tonight, though. I’m tired.

BTW, my story collections got some very nice reviews by Kriti Godey. She won a LibraryThing giveaway of Yseult and liked it so much she got all the stories I’ve put up for Kindle until now. Thanks again, Kriti! I guess this is what they call creating an audience base. It’s not an overnight thing; I have to give my target audience the chance to find me. But at least in the indie world I’m not going to get relegated to the remainder bin.

Got a #1 slot again!

Even though my “Dragon Time” collection is still reviewless on Amazon, it’s doing amazingly well during its freebie. The stats as I am writing this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical

When I last checked the downloads, it was at over 1400. Behind Yseult and Never Ever After on the first day, but already more than double what If Tears Were Wishes got during the three days it was free (600 downloads). I can understand all the downloads for Yseult, 1) because it’s a novel and 2) it was listed on Pixel of Ink. But I find it hard to understand the differences in my short story collections, especially since I have been trying to follow very similar marketing strategies leading up to my freebies. If anything, “Dragon Time” had less pre-hype as a result of me running around between doctors on the day it went free because of an eye infection.

Well, as I keep saying, it’s all a learning experience. At some point, I will try to summarize my learning into one succinct and brilliant post (right).

In the meantime, I will do my best to share my odd epub experiences (and residual traditional publication experiences) with anyone interested. 🙂

Moving forward on editing and another free promotion

Despite the fact that I managed to catch an eye infection from my son or my granddaughter, I’ve been making consistent progress on the editing of Shadow of Stone. I just try to close my right eye regularly to rest it. But it has definitely slowed me down, and it doesn’t help that I spent a couple of hours in doctors’ offices yesterday.

I also got samples off to several editors I’m considering hiring. That’s going to eat up all the profits I’ve made on my ebooks until now, but I’m investing in the future here. As opposed to all my other works that were previously published somewhere or another, even if it was in a foreign language, Shadow of Stone has not yet been through an editor. And while I’ve often been told I deliver very clean copy, I still want to do everything in my power to make sure that a book with my name on it has as few mistakes as possible.

I’ve also got another FREEBIE going on this week! Today and tomorrow my collection Dragon Time and Other Stories is free, so go grab yourself a copy while you can! I’ve also reduced the price on Yseult to 3.99. At 4.95, sales had stalled out, only averaging about one a day. Here’s hoping at the lower price sales will pick up again a bit.

Right now I mostly just want to go lie down and give my poor red eye a break, but I have to announce the free promotion all over the place. And yes, that is one of the big disadvantages of the ebook revolution. I know the idea of having to do all my own “advertizing” was scaring me off from taking this step for a long time. I suspect there are quite a few other writers out there who feel much like I do. 🙂

Extending free promotion for another day

My short story collection If Tears Were Wishes is up to #10 now in contemporary fantasy:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#10 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary

When I looked at the bestseller list though, I realized my poor little collection of borderline fantasy stories is in the vampire category. That means it’s competing against all these paranormal romances with strange creatures that are supposed to bite and don’t. I might need to consider recategorizing it.

It hasn’t broken into the top 100 Free yet, though, which both of my other freebies did by the second day. I’m suspecting that could have something to do with the fact that it doesn’t have any reviews. I don’t enlist my family to write reviews, and with Never Ever After I guess I just got really lucky that one of the first folks who bought the collection also wrote a review. For those trolling for freebies, it probably makes the book look a lot less serious it it hasn’t been reviewed. Yes, in the product description I quote some reviews of one of the stories when it was first professionally published, (in Asimov’s, no less) but that doesn’t give it any stars on Amazon. So it looks to me as if I have to move “write more book blogging sites” up on my list of priorities and see to it that I have at least one review for an ebook before I make it free. That’s going to be a challenge.

For the sake of experiment, I won’t cancel the free promotion I have scheduled for Dragon Time next week. It will interesting to see if my theory holds true.

In any case, I decided to extend the promo for “If Tears Are Wishes” for another day to try and give it a bit more momentum.

I got some tips not too long ago on getting reviews, but I would love more if anyone has some! I’m collecting a list of addresses and URLs, people and sites I need to contact, and I think that will be my next big project rather than putting together a new story collection. Must be practical here! 🙂

Yseult Snack Rating: Buffalo Wing Blue Cheese Kettle Chips

That’s the summary of the first review Yseult received on Amazon. I have never heard of the “snack rating” before, but I have to admit I like it, since I love Buffalo Wing Blue Cheese Kettle Chips, spicy and sweet and salty all at once, an incredibly intense flavor sensation. If they had those things here in Germany, I would probably be a couple more kilos overweight than I already am.

So anyway, the week has been a washout as far as new writing is concerned. I wanted to try to balance marketing and writing, but I’m really not very good at balancing. I’ve been spending so much time figuring out how to promote Yseult that I seem to have temporarily (I hope) marketed my creative gene out of existence.

BUT there are advantages. I had a Photoshop session with my daughter where we developed a cover for a collection of short stories featuring “Dragon Time.” And once we got the cover design completed, I also got the story collection up on Amazon:

New Dragon Time Cover

In other news: Yseult will be available FREE through the Kindle Select program for 48 hours, January 9-10. Please pass the word along! Even if you don’t like the spice of Buffalo Blue Cheese Kettle Chips, the point of one of these free promotions is to increase “sales” and thus visibility. So if you read this, please help yourself to my (spicy) Big Fat Arthurian Fantasy!