Tag Archives: Indie authors

Recommended Science Fiction for 2016

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Happy New Year to all science fiction and fantasy fans.

2016 is off to a great start.

First, I want to mention Mark Coker’s annual predictions for the future. Many of his comments are worth reading, especially if you are an Indie Publisher. Just be aware of his bias as he goes on a rant against Amazon, and especially Kindle Unlimited. They are competitors and Amazon is seriously in the lead.

Http:/www.smashwords.com/2016 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Myriad Opportunities amid a Slow Growth Environment

As an Indie Publisher, I support Amazon, and the Kindle Unlimited program has been very generous to me. I had several books listed on Smashwords and two in their Scribner program…profit? $0. Now in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited almost half my income comes from the program, and new readers are finding my books and buying others in the series. As an author, what would you do? Who is best supporting the fledging author?

If the Kindle Unlimited program becomes unfavorable at any time, all I have to do is opt out. The exclusive requirement in the contract is for just three months with volunteer renewal options.

I find it a great way to expose my books to avid readers while being paid at the same time. At the moment, it’s a great deal for an author like me.

Having said that, Coker has a lot of good comments based on data from his ebook distribution website called Smashwords. Here are a few quotes to munch on:

“Every year readers are spending more hours reading books from indie authors. Reader eyeballs will continue to transition to indie ebooks in 2016….”

“In the 2015 Smashwords Survey we found strong evidence that series with free series starters earn more than series without…”

“Amazon understands, and we at Smashwords agree, that the future of publishing is self-publishing.”

And on that I heartily agree also.

This week I get to pick five books to read for 2016.

Jeweled FireFirst, I chose some old favorites such as Lois Bujold and Sheron Shinn but who have new books out in 2016.

I also wanted to try out a few best seller listed books such as The Bone Clocks and Time Salvager. Books that make such lists often turn out to be good books.Bone Clock D. Mitchell

Finally, I wanted to read a few self published authors who had an interesting looking story, which I found free on an ad website. Deep Crossing was one that was also suggested by Amazon. In this way, I can help promote fellow Indie authors and get a deal to pass along to you too. Since I’m currently writing about space exploration, military science fiction and stories on traveling in space interest me.Deep Crossing

Time SalvagerNext week, after further research, I will add five more with the understanding that the list will be filled in with other selections as the year rolls on and new books get published.

Making a list and putting it out focuses me on thoughtful choices so that I’m not flailing around on what to read. It also gets me excited about reading new science fiction.

Some on the list are not out yet. Bujold’s Gentleman Jole will be published in February. Stephen Lynch The Thorn of Emberlain is promised for Spring of 2016.

Gentlemen Jole and the Red QueenSo is my ninth novel, Worlds Too Far, which will also be published some time in the Spring. My writing group claims it is the best one to date. It stands outside of the series and yet takes place in the same universe.

A fleet of spaceships search desperately for a world to call home, but face insurmountable odds fighting against the dangers of space and the frailty of human nature.

Here are my first few picks:

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Louis Bujold

The Jeweled Fire by Sheron Shinn

Time Salvager by Wesleyan Chu

Deep Crossing by E. R. Mason

I’m now combing the lists of upcoming titles and will select five more to review and report on for you.

Meanwhile, each blog will contain information on marketing, exciting science news, or an occasional author’s rant . Why else blog if there’s not a good discussion/rant, now and then, where I can talk about what it’s like to be an author and find out what other authors are doing?

Some good books look to be headed our way and 2016 could be a great reading year. Enjoy some special ones with me.

Ps: I hope you’re watching  the Expanse Series on the SyFy Channel. Reading the books has helped me understand the plot better, and I really like the sets and special effects.

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Filed under Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, fantasy series, Hugo winners, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Lois McMasters Bujold, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, Science Fiction Predictions, science fiction series, science fiction space opera, Self-publishing, Space opera, space ship, space travel, The future of publishing, time travel

What Ad Sites Should You Market Your Book On?

photoMy horoscope said that I need to change things up in my daily life.

So, I changed my blog background from dark to light.

What do you think?

Radical, I know. But don’t go easy on me. Tell me what you really think.

This morning I did the analytics for my August sales and was pleasantly surprised.

Thank you, wonderful readers. I hope you are enjoying the series.

I’m currently finishing up edits for the eighth book, Time’s Equation and eagerly waiting to see what the cover is going to look like. Late October is my publication target…before the holidays.

So marketing in August: What worked? What didn’t?

Book Gorilla at $50 cost didn’t return a net profit. I was so excited to see how that campaign would turn out…and it didn’t. I posted the discount at $.99 at their suggestion, which means I would have to sell over 144 books to break even. I didn’t.

Timing? Genre? Promotion? Who knows why.

On the other hand, The Midlist at $20 cost, more than made up for it. Go figure.

This month I am using my profits and plowing them back into the business. I will offer Caught in Time, my first book, free through Robin Reads ($15) on September 19 and Freebooksy ($70) on September 21. Freebooksy is a favorite, and when I was setting up my marketing for September, I defaulted to it out of frustration. I saw too many venues with no way of knowing what would work.

What I needed at the time was Cheryl Bradford’s list of ad sites and Nicolas Rossis’s plan of attack…which I now provide for you because both are so awesome. Thank you, Cheryl and Nick.

http://nicholasrossis.me/2015/08/30/bookbub-insights-launch-a-new-book-thats-part-of-a-series/?c=22638#comment-22638

This will save you hours of research and make your marketing much more efficient.

full list of websites where you can advertise your ebook price promotion, courtesy of Cheryl Bradshaw.

You’re welcome.

So with September settled, I cast about for a story to recommend. After reading and discarding several options, I found Dark Space through a Freebooksy special. FREE! And very readable.

And guess what…as of right now…it’s still free. But I don’t know how long that will last. FYI.

Dark SpaceDark Space, book 1 by Jasper Scott, is a military space opera in a series.

Freelancer and ex-convict, Ethan Ortane, is deep in debt, hiding out with the rest of humanity in Dark Space. An alien race, the Synthians, invaded the human galaxy with one goal in mind… to wipe out humans. Now the last remains of humanity hide out in Dark Space behind a stargate guarded by the Valiant, a carrier ship of the Imperial Star System Fleet.Dark Space 2

But Ethan has gotten deep in debt to crime lord Alec Brondi, and his ship, and therefore his means of support, is badly damaged. His only way out is to comply with Bondi’s deal to infiltrate and sabotage the Valiant.

If that isn’t enough to make Ethane follow through with the plan, Brondi kidnaps Ethane’s beautiful crewmember and threatens torture if he doesn’t comply.

Ethane steps into a dead soldier’s persona, infiltrates the Valiant, and finds that things are not what he expected…Dark Space 3

which all makes for an interesting story and start to a fun series.

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Filed under ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Implanting humans, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, military science fiction, science fiction, science fiction series, Self-publishing, Space opera, space ship, space travel, Transhumanism

Why Should You Self Publish?

IMG_0180Two years ago I wrote a piece on why a writer might self-publish. Today, it’s just as current. So many writers are trying to decide what to do with their manuscripts that I thought to put it in my blog.

So here goes:

So, you’re thinking about self-publishing? Right? You just read that list of those authors who have made more than a million sales at Amazon.

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You know that most likely it won’t be you…but why put up obstacles? Who really knows? I would settle for just a nice living from my writing. I would love to do what I am passionate about and have fun every day…well almost every day.

Still, you run into them, you know, the writers who are not validated unless a publisher has their book and they angst about not getting a response from their 200 query letters and sweat over formatting and sending in a killer synopsis, and first three chapters all doubled spaced in Times Roman font. All following big publishing rules for submission. And then waiting forever.

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Or, the person who mumbles, “Oh you’re self-published? I heard that authors that self-publish write terrible books.” …as if they had statistics and accurate knowledge that would validate such a conclusion. As if there has never been any poorly written books put out by legacy publishers. As if.
Millions of readers say otherwise.

Millions of readers are reading eBooks and ordering paperbacks. I doubt they check who is publishing the book they read. Does a publisher’s name influence your choice? Is that how books are bought? I don’t think so.

You’ve heard the naysayers to self-publishing who cling to the old ways like a drowning man onto a plank of wood in a tossing storm.

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So why should you self publish?
1. Times are tight and publishers are even tighter. It’s getting hard to get in with any fiction unless you’re Amanda Hockings with a million books sold already and a fan base. Or Steve Jobs, and he’s dead. Reality check time. Big publishing houses have missed the boat sometimes on figuring out blockbuster hits. Scholastic picked up Harry Potter, for crying out loud, after big publishing houses turned it down.

2. You’ve tried for ten years to publish and you know you have a book that people will like. Get it out there. Let the readers decide rather than a few gatekeepers who often choose at a given moment and then never reconsider their decision. No second chances in that game. And the rejection may be not because it wasn’t good, but just because they accepted a similar one last week and that slot is now filled.

2. People ask me if I’m making money. I answer, “More than gathering dust on the shelf, or waiting on some publishing house to answer me.” That made me $0. What have you got to lose? Just be wary of the scams. Yes, another blog for another day, but so far all revenues have covered any expenses. So it can be done, but it does take work.

3. Maybe you are retired, currently unemployed, or have time on your hands. Or have room for a part time job. I worked full time for years and wrote on the side. Then, they closed down the art gallery where I worked and the economy went into the dumper. Finding a new job where I wanted to work wasn’t easy. Okay, I was picky. Now, instead of depression and feeling useless, I’m learning exciting new skills and getting paid for the experience. My life has purpose and I’m having fun. There is a psychological side to it—a sense of purpose…a sense of accomplishment.

4. You are your own boss and set your own schedule. You decide on the cover, what you write, how you price your book. You make your own deadlines. I don’t have big gas bills and I have a short commute. No stop lights. Plenty of coffee in the morning.

5. You have exciting conversations at parties about your book and you give speeches and show what you have written. Long lost college roommates e-mail you and tell you how much they like your work. You amaze your mother who is astounded that her own child has written a novel, or two, or more.crowds-1

6. You love to write and your dream is to see your book in hand. Now. Facts: It takes a long time to get published. It took eighteen months to get Baen books to ask for my entire manuscript after countless other queries to other publishers and then a year after that they said, “No thanks.” I wasted more than two years because of publishing rules, “No simultaneous submissions.” They make up all these rules and like sheep, wannabe authors follow them afraid to rock the boat or ruin their chances. Even if you were accepted right this second, acceptance in hand, today, it takes a year or more to hit the shelf. Most likely two. Will those shelves be there in two years?

7. What is everyone getting for Christmas? Most likely a Kindle Fire, an Ipad, a Nook, or an iPhone. Why am I a self-published, Indie author? It just makes sense for me in my place and at this time. Why not? Why wait any longer?

8. And if you are successful, didn’t a big publishing house offer Amanda Hockings an amazing contract? You can put both oars in the water if you want. You can do both and no one will arrest you. Ask Dean Wesley Smith about that. It isn’t an “either, or” situation. If you’re smart about it, you have nothing to lose.

9. Hey! Don’t these babies (at the right) look great and fun to read? Why don’t you try one? My eBooks are $3.99. Less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. And you can buy a paperback version if you choose.

Think about it.photo

Find my books at http://www.amazon.com/Sheron-Wood-McCartha/e/B0045K0HD6/
I wrote that two years ago and I still feel the same way. Would I add anything more? Well…

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1. When you self publish you’re in control of your work. You get paid every month if you sell…anything…all over the world.It’s exciting to know that in France, Japan, England, Australia, everyone is reading your books. There is no minimum amount required with Amazon. Most publishers pay every quarter if you reach a certain minimum or sometimes every six months, some never. I haven’t had a month go by over two years without a deposit directly into my book account. My royalty is 70% if priced over $3.99 and 35% if under. No one else takes a cut when I sell through Amazon. 15% net to the author is the norm for publishing houses who then set your price…which affects your sales if too high or too low.

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2. I have the authority to find out exactly what book sold, on what date, and for how much. Amazon now shows how many pages for each title is read every day. Think about that!

3. You have control over your pricing so you can market however you deem fit. If you want to do a special and advertise at a discount it takes five minutes to click to a new price and when it’s done, five minutes to click back. You select your marketing program, but whatever you do, you bear the cost…with tax exemptions.

4. If TOR called and said they wanted me, of course I’d go. It’s TOR. But Double Dragon, or other small publishers…absolutely not. I’ve heard the horror stories.

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5. I’m wiser now. I’ve learned a lot. Would I do anything different? Heck no! Check out these seven fantastic books in the Alysian Series Universe.

And be ready for Time Equation in November. It adds up to great science fiction and will multiply your enjoyment of reading.

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Filed under ebook science fiction, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, Self-publishing

Going to the Dark Side

IMG_0180Summer is a wonderful time of the year here in the Northwest. We have cooled off to high seventies in temperature, and other than gardening, I have time to read out on my shady deck under tall pines.

Lately, I have been restless, trying to find a good cutting-edge future science fiction tale. I dove into cyber punk with mixed results in Gibson’s The Peripheral and Charles Stross’s HaltinG StatE. (See previous blog for further comments).

Since I have been advertising my books on different websites, also with mixed results, I decided to download a few free and discounted books from Freebooksy and Sweetfreebooks. In my several marketing campaigns, Freebooksy and more recently the Midlist have given me the best results. The vaunted Fussy Librarian and Book Gorilla have cost me money while delivering poor sales. Having said that, other authors claim good results from them. Once again, various factors of timing, cover, taste, and reader who just wanted a time travel book at that moment, come into play.

Post HumanSo I chose the Post Human Series by David Simpson, Mirrored Time J.D. Faulkner and Star Wanderers by Joe Vasice. Why? The Post Human series had far future humans with transhumanism where humans are using technology and science to evolve past being human. Also, there was a suggestion of inter-dimensional realities that intrigued me. I’ll admit that so far the story is chock full of future science and action. The writing flows well with few grammar or punctuation errors.

The early episodes, however, are short and choppy, skipping over large spans of time. All that I could deal with, and did, until I got snagged on the changing point of views. Rapidly switching point of view with no warning or break is a new writer’s curse, and often the writer isn’t aware of what he’s doing until it’s pointed out to him. In this case, three pov jumps in one paragraph, and I put the book down. I may pick it back up later because of the interesting ideas and technology.Mirrored Times

Sometimes I’m not strong of will and cross over to the dark side. When the temperature hit over ninety last week, I reached for chocolate Haagen Daas to cool off my mouth and make my taste buds dance.

What diet?

At the same time, I reached for a fantasy in the form of Mark Lawrence’s The King of Thorns sitting soKing of Thorns seductively on my reading table. I had read his Prince of Fools and liked it. The reviews said King of Thorns was even better. I would be traveling into the realm of dark fantasy and knew it.

Now, there is also a Prince of Thorns that you should read first, but like chocolate Hagen Daas, I didn’t mind not having another flavor at the moment and confused the earlier book with Prince of Fools.

King of Thorns is a can’t-put-down book. And that’s just what I wanted. The writing is gorgeous with gasping wit, heart-pounding action, and tear-filled emotion. A bit gritty, but bearable.

You continue the life of Jorge Ancrath who at age nine has vowed to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother, and punish his father for not doing so. Now at age eighteen, Prince of thornshe is King of Renar, having taken the land through slaughter and death from his evil uncle. Jorge is not a delicate lad. He’s on a mission to rule the world and doesn’t play by the rules.

The story begins outside his castle where he is surrounded by thousands of the Prince of Arrow’s men. Orrin Oildan, Prince of Arrow, also hungers to be Emperor and sweeps kingdoms into his hand as he marches victoriously across the land until he reaches Jorge’s rough castle. Unlike Jorge, who is beset by sorcerers at every turn and considered mean and ruthless, Orrin is the fair-haired ruler whom everyone calls great and good. Every sorcerer and witch prophesies the triumph of the Prince of Arrows for the Emperor’s throne until Jorge is weary of hearing it. But it doesn’t slow him down a whit.

The book jumps back and forth in time, starting with Jorg’s wedding day, and then returning four years into the past. There he travels with his band of disreputable friends across the land from one wild adventure to another. Adventure and wedding flip back and forth moving closer in time as the book progresses.

Clever, haunted, and powerful, Jorge has the touch of necromancy in his fingers and carries a dangerous box of memories everywhere he goes. Trying to save a young fire Mage, he also learns to play with fire.

There are also hints of science fiction within the fantasy-flavored tale when Jorge refers to “the Builders” who seem to be great men from Earth’s past. He meets a holograph who is a downloaded personality of a past scientist. The holograph tends a forgotten machine deep under Jorge’s maternal uncle’s castle. Along the way, Jorge also accumulates artifacts from the past that become important to his survival.

My only complaint with the story is that in two critical instances, the author uses my own tricky plot twist to escape an almost impossible situation. One I use in Caught in Time when the bandits try to rob and rape Rowyna, and the other in A Dangerous Talent for Time when Brand de Fyre Elitas, like Jorg Ancrath, faces overwhelming odds in a battle.

Not fair!

Mark Lawrence will be remembered for the plot twist over me, I’m sure. Just like, since July 15, another author has come out with the title Caught in Time. The second one came out last year, well after my publication. (Sound of moaning and hair-pulling)

Oh well, I liked it when I wrote it, and I liked it again in Mark Lawrence’s story. In fact, I liked his whole story a lot. It made the chocolate ice cream go down so cool and sweet, as I slipped over to the dark side.

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Filed under Best selling science fiction, Book reviews, Cutting Edge Science ideas, downloaded personalities, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, fantasy, fantasy series, genetic manipulation, Indie Publishing, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, modifying humans, Noir Fantasy, science fiction, science fiction series, Transhumanism, Wizards and magic

Magic and Spaceships

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Hugh Howey started it, and now others are using the technique. Write a short novella, give it away and sell the next three or four episodes at cheap prices. Get a fan following and bundle. Not because it’s cold, but to collect the first five books together and sell at a reasonable price.

It’s like a teaser or lost leader at the retail store, and it works because a lot of readers like a free taste before they gulp the whole meal.

Which reminds me to tell you that Caught in Time, the first of my series, is being offered for .99 through June 20. If you haven’t clicked the button yet, now is the time to get a deal before it goes back to the regular price. And if you’ve already read it and like it, please leave a review as I’m short on those. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

On to this week’s science fiction suggestion.

Starship Mage, book 1 is a novella of only 63 pages, that begins a series of short books, which Glynn Stewart bundles into an omnibus of 299 pages. I didn’t realize it at the time I chose it and put it on my book list last January. I was attracted to the cover and the title, and didn’t read the fine print that noted page length. As readers, we need to start doing this in this age of the ebook. The idea of mixing magic and spaceships just intrigued me.

Besides, the first episode was free. (By now you know that I like a deal)

Starship MageStarship Mage, book 1 is about a newly graduated Jump Mage, Damien Montgomery, who needs a job, but doesn’t have the normal family connections to get him a berth on a starship. Jump Magi are an elite circle of people whose magical talents are trained to power starships for faster than light speeds. They have the ability to “jump” ships over huge distances but at a price.

After an attack by pirates, the damaged starship Blue Jay is towed to port to the planet of Sherwood. The crew has survived solely due to a brave magi who jumped too much and too soon in order to save the ship and died in the attempt.

Unfortunately, the planetary Governor of Sherwood is the now dead mage’s father and blacklists Captain David Rice of the Blue Jay in a moment of anger and grief.

Desperate Captain David Rice connects to desperate Mage Damien Montgomery and the Blue Jay acquires a new jump mage, finishes repairs, and heads out. But the ship is a marked vessel, and young Damien Montgomery doesn’t realize that his life is going to get a lot more complicated and dangerous. He will have to think outside the box to save his crew as both pirates and the law pursue the soon-to-be embattled spaceship.Starship Mage2

Starship Mage omnibusI found the first story a fun blend of magic and space adventure and plan to continue the series. Think of the Firefly series with magic sprinkled throughout. Not deep and stirring, but an enjoyable space adventure that I recommend.

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Filed under ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Hugh Howey, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, magic, Marketing and selling novels, science fiction, Science Fiction Novelettes, science fiction series, Self-publishing, Space opera, space ship, space travel

Amazon Marketing

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I have been asking myself lately whether enrolling in Amazon’s KDP Select was worthwhile. I know of writers who swear they sell more on Smashwords or the iBookstore, but for me Amazon sells more, hands down. I kept two of my books up on Smashwords just to compare as my ads reach all platforms. Sold two this year compared to hundreds on Amazon. That’s an enormous difference. However, I have noticed in the last three months that my Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime sales are starting to compete strongly with my standard retail sales.

Bear in mind that a recently broken shoulder caused all marketing efforts to dramatically halt. Now I’m in restart mode and evaluating past efforts. The question becomes: “Would those sales have happened, or would they have gone to someone else if I hadn’t been on KDP Select?”

Sales on KOLL are dependent on what Amazon puts in the kitty and over time have averaged around $1.62. My usual royalty is around $2.75 or more. Am I winning or losing with this strategy? That’s why Nicholas Rossis’s blog that interpreted Hugh Howey’s author earnings was so interesting. (See previous blog for Howey’s link). Rossis states that Indie author’s using KDP Select earn 13% more and with KOLL, Amazon is providing incremental earnings to Indie authors. Yea!

Check out his interesting blog.

http://nicholasrossis.me/2014/10/25/kindle-unlimited-conclusions-from-hugh-howeys-latest-author-earnings-report/

For June, I’m experimenting with Book Gorilla and have scheduled an ad for June 15th when Caught in Time will be offered for $.99. The special will run to June 20. I’m hoping to catch those readers who are looking for an adventurous time travel summer read and are stocking up their Kindle, iPad or Nook now.

Falling SkyThis week I am discussing Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna. This book came into my hands through my Science Fiction Book Readers that meets once a month at Powell’s. Before each meeting, Peter passes around Advanced Reading Copies (ARCS) and various books he has on hand that he thinks we might like. I grabbed Falling Sky because of the cover. And it was free.

Also, I was looking for an unknown current author to present to my blog readers who might be a diamond in the rough. In addition, Khanna mentions that the seeds of the story started at Clarion West in 2008 (near me) and his teacher there, my friend Mary Rosenblum, suggested his short story be turned into this novel. So I had an interest in seeing if he suceeded .

Falling Sky is a post apocalyptic near future that takes place in North America where a disease has turned humans into little more than rabid beasts called Ferals. Ben Gold has managed to survive by taking to the air in his family’s airship, scavenging abandoned buildings and homes for food and supplies while trying to avoid Ferals that roam on the ground. The danger is that contact with any infected human fluids transmits the disease, causing that person to become a Feral.

Air colonies have formed to protect those uninfected humans from those on the ground, but air pirates raid these colonies scavenging for food, weapons and goods. Ben discovers a group of scientists in one colony who are searching for a cure, and one, named Miranda, attracts his attention. But then an attack loses Ben his airship, and he has to fend for himself on the ground among Ferals. He vows to go after the pirates to reclaim his ship, but Miranda comes back into his life, and he has to decide whether to help her or go it alone.

Recently I have noticed a lot of Apocalyptic science fiction coming out. For example, MADD Max: Fury Road is showing in theaters. That kind of genre is not my usual fare, but the flavor of Steampunk percolates through this story making it palatable.

The writing is very readable and the story contains a lot of action as airships soar over deadly ground, trying to survive in a world overrun with human savagery.

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Filed under Disaster Fiction, Dystopia Earth, Hugh Howey, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, Post Apocalyptic, science fiction, Steampunk

Discovering New Fantasy Authors

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Part of marketing is not only connecting with your readers but connecting with other authors. To that end I have discovered a new exciting fantasy author and asked her if I could do an interview. She graciously said, “yes” so here it is for your enjoyment.

Interview with D. Wallace Peach

 SWM: I have recently read a new fantasy author that I find exciting and different. She recently interviews me at http:www.mythsofthemirror and now I want to return the favor. As a science fiction author, I wanted to know what made her decide to write and why fantasy? So I asked her.

DWP: Hi Sheron. Thanks for inviting me to gab about books and writing – something I never get tired of doing!Diana

When I was a teenager, I actually tried my hand at a book. I wrote eighty pages with an old manual typewriter and gobs of White-Out. As often happens to our dreams, life got in the way, and it wasn’t until much later that writing reemerged as a possibility. My husband and I were living in Vermont when he took a yearlong job in Connecticut on our way to Oregon. By then the kids were grown and I had two successful careers behind me. I used that interim year to try two things I’d only dreamed of: I flipped a house and wrote a book. Well, one house-flip was plenty, but I’m working on book #9.

Why fantasy? I’ve had a special affection for the genre since reading Tolkien as a teenager. Add to that, I’m a lazy person and thought that fantasy would save me the hassle of research. I had the terrific idea that if I didn’t know something, I could just make it up. Needless to say, I was clueless. I spend hours researching the minutest details in order to bring my worlds to life.

SWM: What kind of fantasies do you write?

sunweilderDWP: You won’t find elves, dwarves, and quests for magic amulets in my books (at least not at this point). I’m still experimenting with the genre, and each book is different from its predecessor. Myths of the Mirror is quite gentle in nature where The Bone Wall is a gritty, post-apocalyptic ordeal. I’m now finishing a book that overlaps “traditional” fantasy and urban fantasy.

I like writing stories with twists, unexpected elements, and complex plots. I’ve dabbled in magical time-travel and human-animal melding. About half of my books are stand-alone reads. The Dragon Soul Trilogy will be out this summer, and I’m working on the first draft of a tetralogy. My readers never know what’s coming next!

SWM: Describe your style of writing. Both how you write (daily activity) and the types of words.

DWP: I like rich, deeply-drawn characters, and though I work hard at developing compelling plots, it’s the characters who ultimately bring them to life and give them a sense of reality. When I write, I fully enter my characters’ heads and hearts. I “live” their emotional trauma and physical stress, and the real world fades away. To write with this intensity, I need big chunks of time, 6-10 hour stretches, 4-5 days per week.

Types of words? I love finding the perfect word and putting words together in interesting ways. I’m captivated not only by the meanings of words, but the sound. Even down to the number of syllables. (Yes, I get a little nutty). I read my writing aloud several times in the course of editing to get the flow of the language just right. There are paragraphs that I’ll revise 20 to 30 times before I’m satisfied.

SWM: You just published The Bone Wall. Tell us a little about it.bonewall

 DWP: Basically the book is an exploration of what the world will be like 300 years after greedy corporations completely wreck it. The story plays with the idea of “brokenness:” physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. It asks whether healing is possible, and if so, what will that look like? How far do we need to fall before we risk the climb? Bone walls are the tangible, psychological, and metaphorical graveyards we build when we act without compassion.

The story follows identical twins, Rimma and Angel, who have grown up in a domed community called Heaven. When their dome fails, the remnants of a “broken world” sweep in to plunder and rape. Thrust into a savage and unfamiliar existence, Rimma and Angel take radically different approaches to survival. While Angel chooses hope, forming relationships and strengthening the communities around her, her sister, Rimma, remains blinded by vengeance and unwilling to adapt. Though their choices pull them apart, unbreakable magic prevents them from leading separate lives, until…

SWM: You’ve made a switch from traditional publishing to self-publishing. Why?myths of mirror

 DWP: I wanted more control. Working with a publisher was a great way to get my feet wet, and I don’t regret it for a moment. I needed the help, and at the same time learned quite a bit about the craft through the editing process. But traditional publishing is a slow endeavor, and I can get books to print faster if I’m not in someone else’s queue. I also wanted more control over promotions and pricing, which is key to building readership. It’s an experiment that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

 SWM: How can we find information about you and your books?

 DWP: That’s easy. I love chatting with readers and writers, so never be shy about contacting me.

All of my books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=d.+wallace+peach

Excerpts and links are on my website, Myths of the Mirror: http://mythsofthemirror.com/books-by-d-wallace-peach/

Follow my blog to learn about new books and promotions!: http://mythsofthemirror.com/

I’m on Goodreads as well. Here’s my Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

That about does it. Thanks again, Sheron, for the interview. This was fun, and I look forward to hearing from your sci-fi/fantasy fans!

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Filed under ebook marketing, environmental issues in science fiction, fantasy, Indie Publishing, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, Post Apocalyptic, Self-publishing, time travel

Ebook Marketing and Talking Starship Crew Members

IMG_9518Sometimes I can control time.

It’s a Talent I have.

I told myself I needed to wake up at 12:00 a.m. so that I can take my next set of pain pills. As most of you know, I did a little stair sliding recently and broke a shoulder bone..the humerus. So I’m not as funny as I used to be.

Not recommended at all! Very painful. I need my meds.

In pitch dark, my eyes blink open to see the digital clock click over to exactly 12:00 a.m. Time for my meds.

How did I do that?

And it happens on a regular basis.

With all of time swirling around me, how can I pluck out the exact moment that I need to wake up?

Do humans connect more subconsciously with the universe than we realize? Will we ever be able to use this connection? Do we already use this connection in some way? Or is it just a random event?

As you might know, I’m exploring ebook marketing programs. For me, the KDP Select platform has been successful. My numbers are still coming in, and last month I did very little with any marketing.

Remember the stair sliding/wall smashing bit?

In April I intend to do a guest blog over at my friend Diana’s website and interview her on my blog here. She has several intriguing fantasy novels published that I want to mention.

EarthriseThis week I went to my Kindle shelf to select Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth to review. I have signed up at various sites that offer free and discounted books. on a daily basis. To a certain extent, these sites curate books by price, genre, popularity (number of five star reviews) and other factors often selected by the customer.

This is a dramatic shift in how books are bought.

I am conflicted about this trend. I recognize the desperate need for a way to select out the better books from the overwhelming tsunami of books being currently published and shoved out to a bewildered public. I also see the need for Amazon to have competition. However, my email box is getting jammed with advertising by Bookbub, Freebooksy, Sweetfreebooks, ebooks daily and other such services that now proliferate the web. Okay, so I signed up and can unsubscribe if I want. But, cleaning out the various email boxes is becoming another boring time sink.

Surprising is the growth of my sales via Kindle Unlimited and The Kindle Library for Prime members. Based on the Netflix model of a monthly fee, my sales in that arena have skyrocketed. This a a double-edged sword in that Amazon doesn’t set a fixed amount for the sales, but sales are dependent on how many books are sold and how much Amazon puts in the coffer that month. The question for the author is: would this book have sold the usual way if not in the program or was the book an incremental sale? The income from this kind of sale is not considered a royalty, and the net profit to the author is set at the whim of Amazon.

And yet, it is an increasingly popular way readers are now buying books…especially the voracious reader. If your book was not there sitting on the KindleUnlimited shelf ready to be plucked off for someone’s Kindle library, would another book be the one chosen instead of yours? Would that sale have gone to another author? Let’s face it, after 10% of the book is read, Amazon pays you whether the reader finishes the book or not. Those nickels add up, and no initial fee is required from you, the author. Neither program costs a dime, except in the opportunity cost of sales on other sites due to Amazon’s requirement of 90 days exclusivity.

It was while scanning my email and discounted book sites that my eye caught Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth for $.99. Normally I don’t read science fiction where the aliens are talking animals or the aliens so alien that it is hard to relate to them. But the blurb sounded interesting, I got a deal on it, and soon found myself enjoying the story so much that I couldn’t put it down.Rosepoint

The story concerns Reese Eddings, a feisty, independent, black female who comes from a maternal culture that expects their women to return home and procreate. Instead, Reese scrapes together her funds, one being a mysterious loan from a very wealthy benefactor, the other from family resources, to gather enough to buy a broken down ship and pay her micro crew their salary. For several years she struggles this way, her nose barely above water.

She manages to assemble a fascinating and diverse crew onto her ship, Earthrise. The ship is run more like a family than a business enterprise. Irine and Sascha are Harat Shar, twin felinoids from the pelted universe. Think lusty cats that can fly space ships. Also on board is Kis’eh’t who is a Glaseahn and carries a centaurean body shape that includes two sturdy black arms, four black and white legs, feathered ears, a flicking tail and two small leathered wings. Kis’eh’t’s calm personality and strength come in handy slinging cargo around.

Image 3Next, Breyer is a Phoenix or a large birdlike creature with metallic plumage and hidden talents and abilities. Finally, there is Allakazam, the Flitzbe, that strongly resembles a Star Trek Tribble and communicates through touch, color, and internal emotions. It carries healing abilities.

Contemplating the need to crawl back to her family for yet more money in order to survive has given Reese an ulcer and digestive problems that she tries to solve by escaping into a good Eldritch and human romance story.

And then, after all those years, her long ago wealthy benefactor resurfaces and calls in the loan. Reese won’t have to pay back the money, however, but rather rescue an Eldritch prince out of the clutches of drug smuggling pirates.

Hogarth deftly has this ragtag crew bumble into the pirate’s den and attempt a daring, edge-of-your-seat rescue. Upon meeting him, Reese denies any feelings for the unusual and unbelievably handsome Eldritch prince, Hirianthial. The ship returns to Harat Shar for much needed repairs where Hirianthial would be better served if he listened to Reese and did the opposite of what she claims she wants. Meaning well, crew member Sascha recognizes the growing bond between their captain and the intriguing Eldritch and tries to give the bewildered prince some romantic advice, whether he wants it or not. A few stumbling blocks hinder the process. Eldritch cannot stand to be touched or touch others as he becomes overwhelmed by the memories and emotions of the other. Also, Hirianthial is at least five hundred years old, give or take a few. And, he knows something about the pirates that they are desperate to cover up. They will do anything to recapture him and search out the Earthrise with a vengeance. Then Fleet learns of Reese’s connection to the pirates and gets into the act, entreating Reese to act as bait so they can swoop in and close down the drug ring.

Think C.J. Cherryh’s Chanur series to get a feel for the book. I found myself drawn into Reese’s escalating problems. A delightful book, I’m looking forward to how Reese will figure out how to survive it all.

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Ebook Marketing

IMG_9503Spring is coming!

I feel like dancing.

For whatever reasons, my most recent marketing program exceeded expectations. Many authors had been grumbling that free doesn’t work as well anymore…that ebook libraries are bursting at the seams with free books…And my previous marketing attempt seemed to indicate that might be true.

But if I still see an interesting free book, I grab it.

I’m just that cheap.

And if I like it, and there’s more by that author, I’m willing to pay a certain price for that reading experience. (See previous blogs)

Several readers did just that, buying up my whole series in some cases.

The key is finding a way to get your name in front of readers so they can sample your writing…get to know you.

There are a variety of “free and discounted” book websites that charge the author for displaying his/her book. The cost to the reader is giving out his email address. That’s all.

The cost to the author varies depending on the effectiveness of the website with Bookbub leading the pack. However, there’s a price to pay for the author and hurdles to leap because of their popularity. I did find that the cheaper sites are most often less effective. You get what you pay for. So you have to find a balance.

Why was this program more effective?

I think timing played an important role. Lucky for me, I didn’t realize that a winter storm was coming in to strand a large number of people in their homes where they had more time to read.

Having said that, a lot of the books sold were out of the U.S.A. Sold three in India for crying out loud. And to my Canadian readers… many, many thanks!

Readers in the U.K. are the second largest market (after U.S.A.) but also Germany, France, and Japan sold.

Also, I saw my numbers spike when I advertised on Freebooksy. An earlier website was cheaper, but sold very little even though they put out a lot of tweets. The tweets didn’t translate into sales. So that was interesting.

If you have a compelling cover and a blurb that intrigues readers; it’s key.

So, I am a supporter of Amazon and their marketing efforts because I would probably be selling a lot less without their various programs.

Win. Win.

Five Element AnthologySpeaking of winning…

Recently several writers in my group have won awards for their short stories. They are quite good at it. So in a moment of insa…enthusiasm, we decided to all write a short story. Then, some wise wit suggested each member offer an element to include in the story. We went around the table. I sagely suggested putting in an alien; others suggested a spaceship, a ghost, a conflict with a boss, and then Chelsea grinned and added a fireplace poker.

Yikes!

That’s just like her!

Now short stories are not my strength, but I actually had fun writing mine. Be forewarned, there is a strong humorous component in it. As a result we came up with seven amazing stories that we have put in an anthology called the Five Elements Anthology.

All the profits will go to the Willamette Writers literacy program Books for Kids. It’s priced at an affordable 99 cents. To do this, we had our Willamette Writers member be the publisher and collect the royalties. We are not allowed to funnel funds directly to the Association, so at a given amount, Ted will send a check to the Association in our name. It was important that we communicated with the Willamette Writers and clear the idea with them first. They have been most enthusiastic and already have mentioned the anthology in their newsletter.

You can easily get the anthology on Amazon. Just scroll down a bit since Five Elements is a popular name. You’ll see my name and the rest of the group on the dynamite front cover.

We’ve sold two already in England along with a number in good old U.S.A.

Writing a short story was so much fun, I might try another one and offer it as a special for my website readers. Stay tuned.

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Romance in Science Fiction for Valentine’s Day

photoLove is in the air. Valentine’s Day is here. Today is dedicated to recognizing the special people in our life and telling them that we love and appreciate them.

Too often we’re too busy to mention how important they are to us.

So take some time today and let them know.

You probably have it already on your agenda.

You know I’m working on marketing, so I want to make sure that you’re aware that my time travel romance, Caught in Time, will be offered free on Amazon today February 14th through the 18th.

Caught in Time Cover1.1 2Travel back in time to a medieval period…on an alien planet. Rowyna Grae is a regendered clone from the last dying time traveler and is sent into the past to kill a king who is considered the origin of those with special abilities called, Talents.

However, instead, she falls in love with him while dealing with no running water, lack of heat, a barbaric people, betrayal at the royal court, and a looming war.

Think Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court…only Rowyna Grae is no simple Connecticut Yankee and King Telluria’s court can get complicated to a young woman from the future.

Enjoy yourself. It’s FREE for a limited time only.

Currently, I am watching the Brigham Young University series by Brandon Sanderson and really am enjoying his lectures. I gave a link on a former blog. I am thinking of reading Words of Radiance since I have read and reviewed the first book of this epic fantasy, Way of Kings, already and liked it. Unfortunately, it’s over a thousand pages long. I can’t do that in a week. But I’ll probably try.Way of Kings

MistbornWord is that sequels to his Alloy of Law series will also be out later this year. So heads up there. The earlier Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson is a favorite of mine and many other fantasy readers. If you haven’t read it, you might give it a glance.

Since I’m constantly in edit mode nowadays, I bought Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown. I usually use an editor, but it helps to edit myself first before I hand it off. One of my favorite bloggers just came out with a long list of books to help the struggling writer of today and that is where I discovered this title. Check out http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/2015/02/writing-advice-books-list/ and her latest blog for ideas and comments.

Then, don’t forget to hug someone significant and tell them that you love them.

XXXXX

 

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