Tag Archives: GoodReads

Reader Response to Indie Publishing Prices.

Hey folks,
I just read this post on GoodReads on ‘gouging’ my readers. I was initially offended, but I took the time to write a thoughtful response, I think. Both the initial note and my response are below.

Any thoughts? Should I not have responded? Is $6.99 too high a price for a new release like STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Will be on sale for $4.99 November 22-30]? I released ALL IS SILENCE at $5.99 and dropped it to $4.99 [Currently on sale for $2.99 this month.] when it had been out a year. Both books are approximately 90,000 words. That’s nearly 300 pages in the Trade paperback 6×9 inch format. It would be close to 400 pages in a traditional 4.25×6.75 mass-market paperback format. That’s a thick book in my mind. Please, let me know your thoughts. If you buy e-books with any regularity, what are you willing/interested to pay? What price makes you think, “Ah, this is an amateur?” 😉

Anyway here are the note and my response.

“Well, I was planning on reading the sequel, but $6.99 for a kindle book is just crazy. The publisher is the authors company, so this is self published. Self published authors make almost 15 times more than a normal published author, which is why their books normally sell for more reasonable prices and why I buy them. As much as I read, I cannot afford published author prices and no need to with so many great and reasonably priced books out there. This author asking that much for his book is crazy and he will find his sales drastically reduced at those kinds of prices. I would have been a faithful reader and read everything he has out, but I got no use for an author that gouges his readers.”

My response:

“Dear Reader,
I’m sorry you feel that way. Thank you for letting me know that you think my prices are too high. I will take that into consideration.

Please consider the following before judging me so harshly. I gave away my first book for free. It’s also just come out and will be on sale at the end of the month for a short time. When book three comes out it will also drop in price permanently. Putting out a professional level book with cover art cost me about $2500 not counting my time to write it. It took me 2 years to cover those costs.

Gouging seems a particularly harsh word choice and I am sorry I have lost your readership. In the days when movies cost $10 and a cup of coffee is $3, I think $5-7 is a reasonable price for a work that will take several hours or more to read, hopefully taking the reader into a world other than this one.

Thank you for the positive comments on All Is Silence.

Sincerely,
Rob”

After getting caught up in this I did some checking around. Cool authors who are still relatively new like my Path to Publishing buddy, Marshall Ryan Maresca are selling ebooks for $7.99. Well-known in the genre writers like Seanan MacGuire are $7.99-9.99 and more famous folks like Jim Butcher are at $9.99. Though Andy Weir‘s The Martian $8.99, but he’s only got one book. 

So, tell me your thoughts. Thanks. If $6.99 is a gouge, please buy my books this month while they’re on SALE! 😉

~ Rob

P.S. After writing this I went to the Amazon Kindle bestsellers pages for the first time. John Grisham’s new one with a really crappy cover is selling as an ebook for $14.99! Now that feels like a gouge.

Please Help: Review Toils and Snares for FREE!

Hey folks, one of the hardest things to do for an author is literally to say, “Will you read my book?” In about 10 days, I’m planning to submit TOILS AND SNARES, the parallelequel/prequel to ALL IS SILENCE/STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS for a BookBub promotion.

Updated Cover
Updated Cover

BookBub is currently as close to a sure thing as one can find in publishing today and they only accept about 10% of the books submitted to them for promotions. They also like books to have been out a while and have a significant number of reviews. What is a significant number of reviews? Who knows? More than thirteen, I may suppose. That’s how many TOILS AND SNARES has.

So, if you are interested in reading this apocalyptic novel, less profane and violent than its parallelequel, please send me an e-mail or comment on this post. I will give you a read and review copy of the e-book in the format of your choice: mobi/kindle, epub/nook/kobo/ibook, or pdf.

I would ask that you be willing to read it and give it an honest review. So far it has only received four and five stars. Now, I am not asking for three star reviews, unless the book deserves it in your opinion, in which case, I am asking for less than four/five stars. I’m afraid 13 reviews is still in the All these people are friends and relatives category even if they are neither friends nor family.

If you have already read TOILS AND SNARES and not left an honest review, would you please take a few minutes to write a few sentences and give me a few stars, or however many you feel the novel deserves? Here’s the Amazon link for leaving reviews. If you’re feeling especially generous, you might also past a copy into GoodReads Link here, if you’re a member. And if you’re not a member and you’re a reader, I’d suggest joining. It’s really cool!

To sweeten the pot, when TOILS AND SNARES gets 25 reviews, I will give away a signed paperback copy of either Deserted Lands Book I – ALL IS SILENCE or Book II – STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS to one of those 25 reviewers! That’s pretty good odds. To make it even better odds, I won’t give the book to family or close friends. So, what are you waiting for? 😉 “Will you read my book?” If you have a friend or family member who reads Apocalyptic Fiction, tell them to send me an e-mail and accept my gratitude.
Thanks again,
Rob

Get Ready, Get Set… It’s almost Yet!

Now is almost yet! I’ve asked those of you who are regulars to these parts to wait to buy your ebook/book version of STRAIGHT INTO STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS-frontDARKNESS until the book goes live. This will give the book a boost if bunch of folks all buy it close together. This increases its visibility and hopefully more people will fall in love with the cover, realize it’s book II and buy book one as well! So. It is live on VillageBooks.com  (Signed with $0.99 shipping and handling! If you want it personalized, leave a note in the Order comments box at the bottom.) and Amazon as a print book. It will be live as an ebook on September 8th on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBook, Smashwords and other ebooksellers!

So, please consider purchasing Straight Into Darkness and/or All Is Silence September 8th. If you have read All Is Silence and have not left a review on Amazon, you can do that here, or Kobo here, or nook here or GoodReads here or iBooks here!

Hope to see you all this year. If you live in the PNW and have a book store or library you’re friends with that would host, I’ll come to your town for a reading and signing!

Thanks,
Rob

10,123 word post [Please don’t be afraid to click]

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this post is worth 10,123.GoSkagitReview-Soneda

I don’t mention these often, but here’s a pretty phenomenal review in the Skagit Valley Herald for a twenty month old book. Thanks to Brian Soneda at the Mount Vernon Public Library.

 

SmashwordsPresale

Preorder up on Smashwords.

 

 

Preorder up on Apple iTunesPresale iBooks thanks to Smashwords.

 

CoolWorldCatWebShot

A cool screenshot of ALL IS SILENCE on Worldcat.

 

 

 

 

International AiSinAuckappearance in Aukland, Australia!

 

 

AiSinWAust

And another in a WA library. Perth in Western Australia that is!

 

 

Side effect of presales SiDeffectof2presales#417on Amazon…

 

 

Yes, to 50

 

“Not to fifty!” “This is for posterity!

 

Some great numbers AiS0nGoodReads4stars120Reviewsand quantities of reviews/rankings on GoodReads.

 

 

 

WP-A Cool Number-almostAlmost a really cool  number on wattpad is still a really cool number!

Thanks for taking a look if you made it this far! Hope to see all of you sometime in the next year!

TOILS AND SNARES: A Deserted Lands Novella is released

Well. Citing Scotty’s law of time estimates, I should have given myself 6 months extra to publish my ‘short’ novel, or novella, Toils and Snares. When I conceived this story, I remember thinking it would be about 20,000 words. For my word graph estimate I chose 22,222 words, because that’s how I do such things. With Straight Into Darkness I am aiming for 88,888.

By September 2014 Toils and Snares had cracked 23K! And it kept growing. It was a much bigger story than I thought. The first completed draft clocked in at 36K. The final draft is 41,203 words. It’s about as big as a story can be and not be considered a novel. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was 49,459 words and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was 46,118 words. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men had 29,160 words.

My plan was to release it midway between All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness.It would be a parallelequel to the first novel, taking place over the same approximate time frame, but telling a smaller story. It gives more information about the pandemic and its source. It introduces a new cast of characters that 15 years in the future of the Deserted Lands universe will connect with some of the characters from All Is Silence and Straight Into Darkness.I’m not certain how soon I will have time to write the novel about children from Toils and Snares in their teen years. 2017 or 2018 likely.

What I learned from Toils and Snares is that All Is Silence was not a fluke. I can produce good long-form fiction. It will likely take longer than I plan because life will intervene. I have a lovely partner, six kids with two still at home, a full-time day job with students, and extended family and friends. Writing, editing, marketing, and managing the business that being an indie author requires must be shoehorned in between these more important priorities.

So, please, come sample Toils and Snares on Amazon or Wattpad. Mark it “Want to Read” on GoodReads. If you decide to purchase it, please consider leaving a review. If you promise to leave me an honest review, I will give away up to ten review copies. E-mail me your contact information and what flavor of electronic document you would like to read it in. Thanks. toils&snares3

WHAT IF DEATH FORGOT YOU?

Untouched by a global pandemic killing over 95% of the population, Samuel’s family fears a mutated virus and the people who have survived it. Is this apocalypse an act of God? They may escape into the wilderness to find a place of safety as civilization dies around them, but can they escape each other and their pasts?

Sample on GoodReadsAmazon or Wattpad.

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”

 

 

Noveling: 7 Ways You Can Help

Okay. Really, really, need to get more fiction written. Lots of marketing, some plotting, etc. Some great times with family in the last 10 days, but not enough words!

How can I help, Rob?  Here are a variety of options that take anywhere from a little time to a lot. You can also ask me if you see anything on a social media site whether I’ve met my daily word goal! 🙂

  1. Write me a review. Post in on Amazon, GoodReads and anywhere else you feel like! Here are one-click links to All Is Silence for all major markets so you don’t have to search for the book.
  2. No time for a review? You can still rate it/rank it on Amazon/Goodreads. Those count, too. Please be honest. If it’s a TWO STAR please give me TWO STARS! “This is for posterity!”
  3. No time to rank/rate? Share/forward one of the links on WattPad, FacebookGoogle+Twitter, Pinterest, or THE CAN’T MAKE IT TO WORLDCON SALE. Like my author page on Facebook.
  4. Other things that may take slightly longer. Fan me on PubSlush for my crowdsource fundraiser to increase what I can pay editors/cover designers up front.
  5. Request a copy at your local library. Donate a copy to your local alternative high school, or any H.S.
  6. Buy a copy of the signed, limited edition [50 only] Hardcover editions. Or buy a shirt, a paperback, a CD or an e-book.
  7. Make me dinner? 🙂

 

My Path to Indie Publication: Part IX– Party On.

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIII

Party On.*

One of the ideas I had picked up from Mary Robinett Kowal’s Debut Author lessons, an excellent and concise primer for how to act pro as a newbie author, was that I needed professional author photos. I had been crossing paths for several years with Damian Vines, an acquaintance from my Grays Harbor wannabe rocker years. We played some guitar, exchanged Facebook posts and I marveled at his growing body of fine art photography. When it came time, we agreed that the grounds of the old Northern State mental hospital grounds in Sedro Woolley would be perfect for some apocalyptic shots. The day was cold, but we got some great photos

Then during a chance conversation at Village Books with Paul Hansen, store manager, he suggested I have the Release Party at Village Books. I had been thinking of other venues around town, churches, former churches, even Windward High School where I teach. But what better place to do a release party? I wanted to do it almost immediately, this was the second week of February and I wanted to do it on the 20th of February, but Christina at VB events convinced me to put it out a month so we could get the word out.

Elena, my partner, and Amanda, my editor, gave me advice to improve on the reading I had done at AWP in Seattle. I cut down the one section I had read, leaving it on a cliffhanger and chose another short one that I also hoped would leave the listeners wanting more. I put up a Facebook event, a Google+ event, posted it on my blog, my newsletter, Goodreads and my Amazon author page. I invited 500 of my various followers who might be within driving distance. When the day came, 50 people had RSVP’d they would be there. I created a powerpoint to run before the event started, I rehearsed to songs I’d written that I thought seemed to fit thematically. I ordered pizza and Mountain Dew, food for the Apocalypse, as well as cookies, tea and coffee for those wanting a kinder, gentler end of the world.

I printed up cards for a free giveaway of my short fiction and poetry collection. Each card was numbered so I could not only see how many folks attended, but also do drawings for door-prizes:robslater a copy of Some of the Parts, my CD of original music, and a copy of Blue Deer: Four Generations of Poetry, my mom’s poetry book which includes poems by her father, me and some of my kids. Everything was going well, albeit a little harried. Parking near Village Books was practically non-existent. I parked in a no parking zone to unload boxes of books, guitar and other stuff. And then realized that I only had my school computer which did not have the VGA connector to hook up the presentation. Oops.

I played an extra song while folks were continuing to stream in and then started the show about five minutes late, but with most of the chairs filled. We ended up with at least 75 people as I gave out all 75 cards I had printed. We had a nice break midway through and most of the pizza and all of the cookies disappeared. After each of the readings I fielded questions including my favorite, “How old should you be to read this book?” I suggested that anyone under 15 probably should check it out with parents first. We sold 24 books and had a lovely, lovely evening ending in drinks with friends across the green at the Archer Ale House.

I followed the release party up with a Hometown Reading the first weekend of my spring break. [Immortalized in this Seussian poem] The reading took place at the Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library, a home away from home when I was growing up and the place where some forward thinking librarian got me hooked on Science Fiction. We did essentially the same format as the release party minus the pizza. This time we got the projector up and running the presentation. The crowd was smaller, and many called me, “Robbie,” as they’d known me since childhood. We sold a few more books, had a pleasant weekend of thrift store shopping and ate at two of my favorite restaurant meals: Casa Mia Pizza’s Special and The Canton’s Egg rolls. I brought extra servings of both back home to Bellingham, after doing a reading at Harbor High School in Aberdeen. I also left copies for the other two local high school libraries and fundraisers. Not long after getting home with the food, my high school buddy, Derek Cook, principal of Harbor High contacted me to buy a classroom set of 30!

I realized the price I had quoted, once shipped would be nearly at cost. Thankfully, I managed to send them south with my niece, another former Grays Harborite, saving the shipping cost of 30 pounds of books.

Next Week: Part X—Finding Equilibrium, the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. Where our author goes to conventions and finds success and failure.

Write on…

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VII–The Harder I Work the Luckier I Get

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V.  Part VI. 

The Harder I Work the Luckier I Get *

The Harder I work the Luckier I get. I know this quote has been said many times and many ways for many years. But I heard it first from one of the hardest working authors out there, Kevin Anderson. I don’t know if I heard him say this or if I heard it from Kris and Dean or someone else, but the thought stuck. I didn’t always pull it off, but I kept it as a goal. How does an artist get successful? By putting their work and their ‘self’ out for public consumption.

At the end of November I was stressed. I had only hit about 35,000 words for NANOWRIMO 2013 – Straight into Darkness, compared to the nearly 60,000 the year before. I wanted to get the pre-release copies of the novel out before the Holidays, but I had only finished the “last” draft, post-ARC, version 8.0 of All Is Silence at the end of October. This and Scrivener’s learning curve for print production, much more challenging than e-book, took the air out of my sales a couple times.

All Is Silence went out to the copy-editors after edits from me based on Advanced Reader Copies [ARCs] feedback. Five chapters at a time, a few days apart. 12/12, 12/15-19 5 chapter each day, then 12/24 and finally 12/28. I rewrote the ending chapter after significant advice from my partner, Elena.

I pushed through winter break editing and formatting, still hoping to release the e-book on January 1st. My vacation from school was anything but. While all this was going on I couldn’t stop the marketing piece. I ran two GoodReads giveaways over Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. I blogged some. I built my Twitter following, Facebook, Google+ and newsletter lists. Christopher Key, a reviewer I’d known through my Shakespeare and theatre connections, agreed to review All Is Silence for the Entertainment News NorthWest, January edition. It was a stellar review noting Lizzie’s anti-hero. It came out on the 4th with a mention on the cover and then on the 7th of January All Is Silence went live to the world on two of the three major ebooksellers as I worked on finishing the formatting for print version.

Due to accidentally hitting the unpublish button on Kobo, I had trouble getting All Is Silence onto that market. I’d tried to republish and was waiting on a 72 hour process that took over a week. I was also fighting with ebook formatting wanting to keep my text in the fonts I had chosen for print. Baskerville for most of the text, but Arial Narrow Bold for the e-mails and texting between the characters. Then, a most auspicious e-mail arrive. Sam Kass, of Village Books, wanted to know if I was interested in a workshop with Kobo about their Self-Publishing site: Kobo Writing Life. I was frustrated by Kobo support’s lack of responsiveness on my issue {though I had not tried phone support [since phone calls are actually my Kryptonite. (I later used their phone support and received more immediate information.)]}.  Sam connected me with Mark Lefebvre, director of Kobo’s Self-Publishing and Author Relations [And an author himself under the name Mark Leslie]. He graciously helped me through my issues and even bought the first Kobo copy of All Is Silence when the narrative hooked him.

#3 with a bulletWe did the workshop. I learned a lot and gave pretty good advice, I think. Kobo ran a promotion for the book and lo and behold, the next day I was #7 on Kobo’s U.S. Young Adult Science Fiction chart. It went as high as #3, surrounded by Veronica Roth’s Divergent Universe books (Allegiant was the next book and her short stories filled many of the next rows). My story with Kobo was only beginning as I readied for the February 18th release date.

I wrapped up another GoodReads Giveaway at the end of January and was disappointed with the results, but to counter that was the good news that All Is Silence had been named a Finalist in the Dante Rossetti YA contest.

Next Week: Part VIII–Print Release, Awards and Readings.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

Final GoodReads Giveaway. Enter until St. Patrick’s Day.

Final GoodReads Giveaway for All Is Silence. 2 Signed copies. Shipped to you. Tell your friends. If you’re in Northwest Washington come to my Novel release Party Friday, March 14th at Village Books in Bellingham, downstairs in the Reading room.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

All is Silence by Robert L. Slater

All is Silence

by Robert L. Slater

Giveaway ends March 17, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win