Tag Archives: Never Ever After

Yseult available used for only $999.11!

That’s right, you understood correctly: you can currently get my novel Yseult on Amazon used for under $1000!!! Since who knows how long this incredible deal will be available, I took a screen shot:

Yseult for under $1000!

I have no idea how this amazing inflation happened, but I’m assuming it has to do with someone’s price bots going stir crazy. At least it gave me quite a laugh last night. And as of today, the price is still there. So go ahead, see for yourself if you don’t believe me.*

Given those kinds of prices, the Smashwords “Read an E-Book Week” is even more of a deal!

Smashwords

On Smashwords this week, you can get 25% off the list price of Yseult with the coupon “REW25”. And you can get the same deal on Looking Through Lace. You can even get my short story collection Never Ever After FREE with the coupon “RW100”!

/End mini marketing blitz. 🙂

*Of course, as soon as I posted this, the price plummeted. *pout* Now you can get my novel for only $41.02. 😦

Advertisements

A new book trailer, and a request for help in making books free

As I mentioned in my last post, I got my Aphra Behn time travel, Chameleon in a Mirror, off to my critique partner on Monday, so that’s a big chunk out of my to-do list. Now that CIAM’s off, I’ve returned to Island of Glass, and am trying to address a number of critique points in the rewrite.

On the marketing front, I’ve taken advantage of my Animoto subscription to make another book trailer, this time for my short story series, Tales From Far Beyond North:

Let me know what you think!

And, yes, several people have already told me I need to find different music. In my own defense, I was looking for something reminiscent of the old cult series Northern Exposure, which was my inspiration for these stories. For those who don’t know it, here’s a still with the intro music:

Anyway, fiddling with my Alaska stories reminded me that I have long wanted to enlist help in making The Leaving Sweater free on Amazon. It’s available on Strange Horizons (for free, of course), and I never meant to make money off the ebook version, but Amazon still hasn’t price-matched iTunes or Kobo. From what I’ve learned on the Kindle Boards and elsewhere, Amazon doesn’t care much about Kobo, but they will (maybe) respond to lower prices on the Apple bookstore.

So if anyone who reads this would be so kind, could you please go to The Leaving Sweater on Amazon, and click on the link “Tell us about a lower price” in the Product Details. A box will open, asking where you saw the lower price. Click on “Website” and enter the following URL from the iTunes store, with 0.00 for the price and shipping cost:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-leaving-sweater/id609737889?mt=11

I’ve also been trying to make Never Ever After free on Amazon, so for anyone who would be inclined to do me an additional favor, here are the appropriate links:

Never Ever After on Amazon

Never Ever After on iTunes

Thanks in advance for your help! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. 🙂

Moving forward on City of Glass, some thoughts on story length, and a new cover

Not too much to report this week. I’m enjoying writing the new version of “City of Glass” a lot, exploring avenues in the story world I couldn’t when I thought I had to keep it at short story length. When selling a specfic short story to traditional markets, the best chances of making a sale are for stories under 5,000 words. Some markets won’t even consider stories longer than 4,000 words. Since most online and print mags pay per word, it makes a lot of practical sense. For print mags, the shorter the stories, the “more” they have to offer their readers in each issue — one novella can take up half a magazine. For online mags, which often operate on a very low budget, it makes even more sense — the shorter the story, the less they have to pay the author.

In this brave new world of epublishing, the situation is diametrically opposite. Readers are used to getting complete novels for 99 cents, and if all they get is a short story, they feel cheated. I do my best on my covers and in my descriptions to make it completely clear that the product they are considering is a short story (officially defined by the Science Fiction Writers of of America as a piece of fiction under 7500 words), I list the word count and the number of pages, and yet I still get reviews from readers who were apparently expecting novels. I’m not the only one — it’s a common complaint on the Kindle Boards.

Anyway, “City of Glass” was originally 4500 words when I was trying to market it to traditional short story markets. It is now at 10,000 words, about half complete. The new first draft should come in at close to 20,000, after which I will have to fill in the blanks I left and add more sensory detail (window-dressing). It looks like it won’t be any problem to turn my reverse-Cinderella story about a glass-maker on Murano into a novella (officially defined by SFWA as over 17,500 words *g*).

This project has me thinking that I could do the same thing with some of my other short stories, like “Dragon Time.” (Not that I need any new projects …)

Speaking of short stories, I’m putting together a new mini-collection, a 99c jobbie like Never Ever After, Story Hunger. Here’s the first version of the cover:

What do you guys think? Any and all comments welcome!

Finally branching out: Kobo and Pubit

This week, I finally got a big item off my to-do list: I set up accounts for myself on Kobo’s Writing Life and Barnes and Noble’s Pubit platforms and uploaded my first two books on each site. But while B&N had my books available in less than a day, much like Amazon, my books on Kobo are still “publishing.” Oh well.

The good news is, it was easy enough to sign up, redo the books without the Amazon links, and upload, but as with all things, it just takes time. These are systems I haven’t used before, after all, and I have to get used to the navigation, etc. For both sites, I also had to redo the covers of my books because of different size limitations. But at least for B&N, I can now announce two “new” books:

Never Ever After on B&N

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur on B&N

Another project on my to-do list that I finally got around to doing this week was to set up a mailing list. Right now, the only sign-up page I have is on Facebook (it’s tied in to my author page there). Getting that squared away probably took nearly as long as signing up as an author in two new online stores and uploading two books each! That’s why I haven’t gotten the mailing list set up for my blog here yet. I really needed a break, and a chance to get some writing done again.

A couple of readers have asked me whether I plan to get some more books up on Smashwords again. I’d like to, but it’s a bit of a problem. Now that I’ve moved all my final drafts over to Scrivener, uploading to Smashwords would be a lot of extra work. First I would have to export from Scrivener to RTF, then I would have to import the RTF into the Smashwords DOC template I made when I first started experimenting with ebook publishing and go through and assign all the correct styles. That’s an awful lot of work for a couple of sales a month. The beginning of this year, Mark Coker (the head of Smashwords) said they would have epub implementation by the end of the year, which is only a couple more weeks away. I hope it happens. I doubt if I will get around to uploading more books on Smashwords soon otherwise.

But with all those projects (which I really had to get done before Christmas), the progress on Ygerna has slowed down quite a bit. It’s presently coming in at 60 pages, of a target of 200. I’m shooting for a short novel for this prequel, something that won’t hurt as much to eventually give away for free as an incentive for people to start reading The Pendragon Chronicles books. Yseult is such a Big Fat Fantasy (~190,000 words) the idea of permanently giving it away for free does not appeal to me at all. 🙂

And now a question: I’ve been referring to the WIP by the name of the main character, Ygerna, a Celtic version of the name Igraine. But I’m pretty sure I will have to give the book a different title because of the similarity to the name “Yseult.” I don’t think I have to rename the character, since Yseult isn’t even born until after the events of the WIP are over. But having two books in a series named Ygerna and Yseult is probably not a good idea. What do you guys think?

I hope everyone has a great week!

New Pendragon Chronicles page and another free book!

This evening, I finally got something off my to-do list and created a dedicated page for my Arthurian novels, The Pendragon Chronicles. I would be very grateful to anyone who would be inclined to check it out and let me know what you think!

If it’s at all effective, I guess that means I will have to make a page for the Looking Through Lace series (once I have more books out) and Tales From Far Beyond North (or whatever I end up calling the stories). Well, supposedly it will get easier if I do it more often …

Also a reminder that my fantasy short story collection, Never Ever After, is free today and tomorrow, August 20-21. If you don’t have a copy yet, please be my guest!

Cover for first Alaska story, etc.

Chameleon in a Mirror is coming along nicely, despite all the cooking and harvesting around here at the moment (see my last post). It’s presently at 71,000 words. I’m consistently getting about 1,000 words a day done on the new version, pretty good for this time of year, with a fairly typical August tomato glut. What isn’t as typical is all the chili peppers we have this year. I already made jalapeno jelly, and it’s a big hit.

Jalapeno jelly and BBQ sauce

Next I will have to try pickled jalapenos. I did that last year; the whole chilis were strangely bitter and had to be tossed, but the sliced chilis turned out great.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time recently working on covers with my daughter, since I have several things scheduled for publication in the next month or so. And now I’m finally ready to share the first cover in the series “Tales From Far Beyond North,” set in fictional Rolynka, Alaska. My Alaska stories are magic realist, contemporary fantasy style stories, where the magic tends to be very subtle. So although the setting is contemporary, the series is very far removed from paranormal. 🙂

In the Middle of Nowhere With Company

What do you guys think? Our idea is that the top and bottom frames will stay the same through all the stories, just with varying colors, picking up on one of the colors in the cover image.

I’m tackling this series with a certain amount of trepidation, since the short stories are exactly that — short stories according to the literary definition of the term, none of them much longer than about twenty pages. I intend to only charge 99 cents per short story, and once I have several out, start bundling them, but readers of ebooks are notoriously unforgiving of works that are not novel length (as I recently experienced with Never Ever After.)

Speaking of which, my short collection of short stories, regularly only 99 cents, is FREE tomorrow and Tuesday. Do me a favor, and get yourself a copy. If you’re so inclined, please pass the word along!

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.

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? 🙂

Interview, plunging ahead with Aphra, and using up my free days on Never Ever After

Great Minds Think Aloud posted an interview with me today:

http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=interviews&thread=1329

They are also hosting a contest to win a copy of Yseult, which you can access here:

http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi

The new version of Chameleon in a Mirror from scratch is going very well. It’s great fun to get back to Aphra Behn, who has been my idol since I first read about her decades ago. I’ve upped my target word count to 1500 words a day; here’s hoping I can maintain it.

In sales news, Looking Through Lace is still doing pretty well since its freebie:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,864 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#15 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Short Stories
#24 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies

Earlier in the day today, it was in the top ten in the categories for short fiction, but it’s slipping now. At least I got another 5 star review out of the freebie. 🙂

Starting tomorrow, April 18, I have another free promotion scheduled: my revisionist fairy tale collection Never Ever After will be free for Kindle for 48 hours. Once again, I am using up my free days before I take the ebook out of KDP Select, so get it while you can! And please, pass the word along. The monetary reimbursement for freebies has let up drastically since I first released Yseult in January, but it’s still one of the most effective ways for indie authors to get potential readers to notice their fiction.

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. 🙂